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Super Agile: A note about software requirements

Write your requirements as user stories, following this simple template:

As a , I want  so that .

In other words:

As a product owner, I want to describe features as user stories, so that I encourage myself to think about the added value for my customers.

Android 5: If you make it, they won’t push the update

Android 4 was released in October 2011. Three months later we have just few devices running it. Today Android 5 is rumored to be launching in Q2 2012. We all know how this will end up: wireless carriers and device manufacturers will be late or will simply refuse to push the software update to existing hardware. It seems they do not care about sold inventory, but sure enough they will offer you new devices with the new Android OS.

The first problem is your Android device is destined to become an unsupported brick 6 months after you buy it, and to be fair I have to say that a lot of people are actually fine with that.

The second problem, the bigger problem is that software developers cannot keep up with this mess of hardware vendor customization, carrier customization, multiple versions, and just about everybody doing what they want and when the want it with Android. Android used to be a decent and promising iOS alternative. Recently it has become the nightmare of mobile development.

… but …

There is a light in the tunnel. Google is buying Motorola. Hopefully they are doing it, so they can make better hardware + software integrated devices, just like Apple does. However, it will take time to swallow Motorola, so in the meantime Google should take a page from Microsoft’s book and implement a more controlled Android licensing. Google should start demanding minimum hardware specs and swift software updates from device manufacturers and wireless carriers. That is what Microsoft has done with Windows Phone 7 and is doing with Windows 8.

URLs OR The last ugly thing in web apps

Just look at this URL:

Ouch! That is what I see in the Google Chrome address bar, while watching The Event – Us or Them on Netflix.

How about this URL to a page for buying a book from Amazon:

What I want to see is Chrome and every other browser hide the URL garbage after the host name. For example it will be nice to see only in the address bar or even better will be just “Netflix”. Everything else should be hidden because it is in fact an implementation detail which few people understand, and even fewer care about.

So here is a feature request for browser developers:Hide the part of the URL after the domain name by default. Then add a switch for showing/hiding full URL on demand.

App Stores – the future of desktop software distribution

After the success of the iOS App Store, an app store for Mac was a logical step for Apple. Many people have had doubts about a desktop software app store, but it is now official – the way to distribute apps for Mac going forward is the Mac App Store.

What about Microsoft and Windows?

The Windows story is even more exciting. With the release of Windows 8 later this year the most widely used desktop platform will get an app store. Given the Windows user base, the potential reach of a its app store will be huge.

What should we do?

If you are a software developer or publisher you should start working on Windows 8 versions of your products now, because the Windows app market will be bigger than iOS, Mac and Android markets combined.

Android fragmentation is bad for everybody

Android fragmentation will kill Android eventually. Some call this fragmentation a “wider consumer choice”, “differentiation” and other names. In reality it only creates headaches for software developers, hinders software upgrades and slows down innovation.

It has become increasingly hard and expensive to develop quality apps for Android. The problem is not the device choice but that the same code does not work consistently across devices. Single developers and small development shops do not have the resources to buy multiple Android devices. For bigger companies Android apps cost more and take longer to develop.

All that leads to low quality apps or apps that work on just a few device models. Something has to be done.Google should do what Amazon did with Kindle Fire. Google should take complete control over the software platform and maybe they should start making their own hardware too.