Cliff Notes For Recent VC Blogs On Mobile

Like many of you, I read the recent posts on mobile by investors Chris Dixon, Bubba Murarka, and Bill Gurley. They’re all excellent posts. Since there’s so many of them, I wanted to tease out the notes I found most salient since I work inside the world of iOS and have been wrestling with app distribution, Android fragmentation, and all other sorts of issues. Below are bullet points I’ve plucked from the posts as knowledge I want to keep readily available at my fingertips, and next to each bullet point in parentheses, I’ve put the initial of the source, either CD, BM, or BG.

  1. No credible app can include any bits of HTML5. (BG)
  2. Apps will eventually allow for new forms of creation. (CM)
  3. Design and interaction simplicity inside apps is what consumers want. (BG)
  4. iOS-first apps that breakout will be able to 2x-3x their audiences on Android. (BM)
  5. iOS App Store economics (and, I’ll say, design) will need be addressed by Apple. (CM)
  6. Building for Android fragmentation at scale may require startups to make version sacrifices and outsource development and testing. (BG)
  7. There’s a greenfield, wide range of opportunities to use older/recycled devices for standalone use cases, or remote controls for wired objects, etc. (BM)
  8. While search began to verticalize on the web, it’s now hyper-verticalized through apps on mobile. (BG)
  9. The open-source nature of Android results in a cascade of custom forks driven by OEMs. Messy. (BM)
  10. Mobile app “lock-in” is harder to dismantle than a web user locked-in to a service. (BG)
  11. Depending on what developers are optimizing for (features, growth, revenue) will drive what Android versions they’ll opt to support. (BM)
  12. Apple and Google have a hammerlock on CAC for mobile apps but aren’t doing much to exploit it, so developers and startups feel this pain. (BG)
  13. Android forking could be so pervasive that Murarka believes there should be a global Android Standards Body. (BM)
  14. Mobile payments and infrastructure — all up for grabs! (BG)
  15. Investors are eager to see more pitches and approaches using Android first or in parallel development. (BM)
  16. It’s early days of the platform. As Murarka shows fragmentation of Android, Gurley also points out how early iOS is and that the gatekeepers could get more aggressive with lock-in solutions in order to maintain control. (BG)