Java Porting a Painful Thing
I’ve recently tried out a few Java apps like Talkonaut and Hotxt and my experience has been a truly terrible one in terms of customer experience, this may well have been due to using a Windows Mobile 5.0 handset but that’s not the only reason, it just added to the pain, when entering text in an app I get a box to fill but when I start to type I drop out to a windows box to enter text, one which always defaults to multi-tap input rather than T9, once I OK there it takes me back to the Java text box all filled in but I then have to OK that and so far it’s always the other soft key each time!
I think these apps represent fine examples of some of the points raised in Ten Things and the follow up, they are working their way around the carrier on the basis of saving money but also because they provide features that carriers don’t currently support.
The problems I see are first of all the fact that they rely on Java, as pointed out on Mobhappy doing it this way causes its own set of problems
“The downside of Java, as we’ve noted bitterly many times before, is all the work required porting it across all makes and models of handsets. This makes it an expensive and frustrating application to run, or forces you to be very selective about which models of handsets you support.
The second is that the user experience is not simple enough, which is clearly down to being an ‘external’ java app, the integration isn’t there (caveat, I’ve only tried Hotxt on a Sony Ericsson K750i and it wasn’t much better, I assume Talkonaut will be the same) and both apps are trying to replicate existing patterns of usage, making calls and sending text messages, just using different technology to avoid the carrier and reduce costs
In the interests of the customer we need to see several things happen, Java needs to be better implemented on devices, perhaps the open sourcing will help but I’m not convinced right now, we need more open APIs to the core network to enable more seamless services rather than workarounds, perhaps IMS will help but not for some time yet and we need more simplicity, devices are already too complex for most and adding new apps to mimic functionality whilst increasing complexity isn’t going to help.