Ok, so this is an app very close to my heart. I have been looking for a way of avoiding writing an app for delivering notifications to my users on http://www.mittosms.com. The cost of app development is still too high ($5,000+ for a basic application is the standard quotation I get) and I only need it for some basic communication with my clients. Notifo offers a managed third-party service with no-or-little cost of accessing the service and a trivial API to access all the functionality I need.
So, what does it offer?
For the developer (i.e. me):
- Low cost and low stress technique for delivering a notification message (and a URL link) to a user
- Multiple interfaces: API, Email, RSS
- A free app for my users to download and use (it does other stuff as well!)
For the consumer (i.e. you?):
- A free iPhone and Desktop app to use and abuse
- A notification system for many different services: Twitter, RSS news feeds, Github, Nagios, Splunk, etc.
- An awesomely simple one-click browser plugin for sending URLs to your phone
- A basic P2P instant message system
So why do I love Notifo so much? It is the perfect integration model for startups like mine. I get free use of a critical service without having to code and distribute an app. It bridges gap perfectly between old world SaaS services and new world mobile SaaS apps. Then as my business grows I can afford to share a small amount of the love with them. Everyone has to make a living (except Google of course).
This is not a product that is relevant to the everyone but certainly relevant to myself and to every company that has a web page (who doesn’t?)
This month’s statistics on smartphone purchases and usage have blown experts’ preconceived ideas about where the Australian marketplace is with mobile browsing. 46% of Australian mobile phone owners now have a smartphone and 79% of handset sales were smartphones this quarter. Apple iPhone’s penetration is growing (40%) and Google Android powered phones are skyrocketing (30%) (Source: IDC Report, May 2011). In the USA mobile app usage has surpassed desktop browsing. The era of “I will deal with mobile later” is gone. Any business that doesn’t provide a mobile presence within the next 12-24 months is going to pay a heavy price.
The problem is most companies simply don’t know what to do or don’t have the budget to do it. There are a bunch of tools that will either help you make mobile websites or convert (mobilise) your pages, one at a time. This approach works ok for the tech savvy or those with a budget (either for the tools or the man-power to use them). But what do you do if your website has thousands of pages? And what about if it is littered with Flash animations and menus?
That’s where Modapt steps in. Modapt claims it can automatically and on-the-fly convert your webpage to support the mobile handset that is reading it. You don’t have to do anything on your website to make it work, other than redirect mobile users away to Modapt. It doesn’t matter how complex your website is, Modapt will render each webpage visited for each handset visiting. Here is an introductory video to explain the process: http://bit.ly/p9hEfm.
My approach to date has been to “make it look ok on the phone” which has bought me a little extra time. But as the mobile device becomes the primary means for browsing that attitude will need to change. There is an ongoing debate over applications (that execute on the phone itself) or web-apps (that are delivered as web services) will win the SaaS war. Currently the quality of applications is far superior to web-apps but HTML5 appears to be shifting that rule. I am betting on web-apps and not spending more than a minimal effort on applications. As long as I am delivering a solid experience for all mobile users, I believe this is the right approach. Your milage may vary.
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