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Coapplition: Dreaming of universal apps

Imagine if an app developed for the iPhone worked on a Palm Pre, or even a phone running Windows Mobile. It might sound like a crazy idea but recently mobile phone manufacturers decided that it made sense to agree on a universal charging solution, which will reduce the number of eco-damaging power adapters and allow people to use one charger for many phones. The same could be done for apps.

Switch on your TV at the moment and you’re likely to catch an ad for an iPhone app or a Nokia app — even Microsoft has started advertising apps. Apps are everywhere, as is the term, but does everyone know that an app advertised for a Nokia N97 won’t work on an iPhone, and should that be the case? If there was a universal app store then life would be a lot easier for consumers and developers.

Unlike universal chargers though, app stores are big business, get it right and you’ll make a lot more money than the competition. Why would any company want to share its store and profits with another company and who would decide on what the perfect app store was? Then there’s the fact that consumers like variety, so a single app store might not work for everyone. But what about a universal app development system? Everyone gets to keep their app store but developers use a single development kit that works on all mobile app stores. We can dream, can’t we?

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