This final instalment of my observations of ‘Success Factors’ in the mobile industry is on timing. Timing is something that’s usually only fully appreciated in hindsight. Nevertheless, there a few timing factors that can be managed and manipulated.
I see many mobile products arrive ‘before their time’. One topical example is UIQ which was ahead of its time for many years. The UIQ phone touchscreen was developed at a time when nearly everyone believed touchscreens weren’t acceptable due to fingerprints, oil from facial contact and lack of hardware tactile feedback. Ironically, UIQ died just as touchscreens became fashionable. Many applications and services are only now becoming viable with respect to market size.
Mobile projects started say five to ten years ago were chasing small markets. Many ran out of money too early.
Another timing issue I see is mobile products arriving late. Too many developers wait for their creation to be perfected. They continually re-implement parts until the time comes to release and they find their market has moved on or has been taken by another product.
Due to implementation fragmentation, the large mobile market has effectively consisted of lots of small OS/platform markets. Due to growth of the whole market and successes of some of these platforms, some of these small markets are now large in themselves and viable in their own right.
What can you do about timing? I’d say some successful mobile products are those that have been built on previous ideas that were before their time. When you create a product aim to release as early as possible. In this way you will discover problems earlier. Finally, the World’s economic problems aside, now is a great time create a new product or service. What where once small fragmented OS markets are each growing such that targeting just one of them is becoming viable.