Monday, March 09, 2009

The next sync: app sync

These are very exciting times for cloud syncing technologies and products. MobileMe has started an explosion of look-alike and better-than. Everyone is jumping into cloud services these days, in particular in mobile. Mobile devices need a cloud service, because they represent just one chunk of our life. The rest is scattered among other devices, such as our desktop or laptop or netbook. And in our landline phone. And in our TV and music set. Bottom line, if you have a mobile phone that does just a bit more than just voice calls, you need a mobile cloud service.

That is why sync is big and is going to be even bigger. There are going to be more and more devices IP-enabled, getting in the space. All with the need to be synced to the rest of our (mobile) life. All pointing to the cloud.

What else to be done, once you have all your data synced in the cloud, and among all your devices?

App sync.

What's that? Well, let me try with an example. You are watching a movie on your mobile device on the train. The train stops and you have to get out, so you have to pause the movie (unless you want to miss your stop, and piss off your family because you are not home for dinner, then go for a lame excuse and a likely separation...). You get off the train saving your life from devastation, you go home, have dinner, put the kids to bed then you finally land on your couch in front of your TV. There, you find your movie waiting for a PLAY button, exactly where you left it on the train.

That's app status sync (or whatever it is going to be called, context switching or something like this... We'll get some marketing guru involved one day). One example of it is already visible with the launch of the new iPhone Kindle application. If you have a Kindle and you are reading a book, once you open your iPhone Kindle app, the book opens at the page you were reading on the Kindle. And vice versa. The status of the two apps is synced. Nice.

This applies to many apps, pretty much anything. I would like the idea of opening my mobile device and start from the Word document I was editing on my PC. Or on that email I was about to send. Or that music I was listening to in my car.

It is the next sync. First, you sync the data. Then, you sync the apps. I would really like to see the former one done (we are still far from it), but I am already looking forward to the latter.

Cloud syncing is going to be an interesting market for years to come. Stay tuned.