In an earlier post I pointed to an undercurrent tech trend I dubbed “unified devices” for lack of better terminology at hand:
a reality where users can pick up any device and start where they left off on an other device they own or happen to be around.
We already see manifestations of this trend at the app level. IMAP mail services have been synching multiple clients for decades, but with the emergence of the smartphone and tablets we witness a gigantic surge in apps that are synched between multiple devices. This is all aimed to make a seamless experience for the single user of the app / services. The major mobile platforms like Android and iOS/OSX do cater for this synching. But recently I noticed some apps are creating synchronization without relying on the core facilities provided by the platforms to enhance their performance and capabilities dramatically. (e.g. Thing cloud, Photosmith, Mailbox) The backgrounds and reasons for going at it by themselves are totally different. At the same time synchronization is at the core of these apps offering, they are totally dependent on it.
Without “unified devices” being a reality just yet, at the app level the unification for the single user is getting more powerful and seamless by the day.
The experiences gained and the technology that is being build to synch apps create enhancements for the single user but will be (re)used in the collaboration between users. The next step in synching will be to share and synch with others to improve collaboration. The natural habitat for this kind of development is Enterprise software, as well as the social networks.
As Dropbox proves synching and sharing are very closely related abilities; with above in mind the acquisition of Mailbox makes pretty good sense.
We can identify various levels where the seamless user experience, independent of the devices used, is being realized: devices, cloud, OS, community, ecosystem, developer base and apps/APIs.
Google Wants To Drive Your Collaborative Apps Home — And Into Its Fold – . (via ReadWrite):
Google’s new Drive API will probably prove most valuable to small, business-oriented apps whose developers view collaboration as a feature, and not the central business model. It’s a savvy bid by Google to build a developer base.
Apps and APIs are at the forefront of this unification trend and create tangible benefits for us users today.