In the article Reinventing the On Device Portal – The App Store, I reviewed how Apple’s implementation of its App Store on the iPhone provides a template for operators and how the struggling ODP (On Device Portal) can come into its own.
I’ve reviewed the ODP landscape, its struggles and evolution in previous weblog articles. Originally created to improve the operator’s walled garden portal experience, it was over-sold as providing a solution across all devices. In practice, the user experience of an ODP on a significant minority of devices was a good way of deterring customers from data services.
The Operator’s App Store is not a new concept; there are early adopters, for example: Verizon AppZone is built using mPortal’s ODP. The critical issue is not technology; operators must simply commit, pre-load their ODP App Store, and have an integrated storefront strategy. Fortunately, given the processing power in phones today, most devices are now addressable by ODPs.
Cricket’s MyHomeScreen is an excellent example of such as implementation, supplied by mPortal. Firstly, its preloaded; its front-and-center of the customer’s experience, see figure below – its the overlay bar/carousel with cute icons; its much more than a widget engine it has a back-end to provide a unified storefront and integrated into the operator’s back-end systems. Services included in MyHomeScreen:
- Website widget, and of course any website can be presented as a widget
- Storefront widget for graphics, tones, themes, games or ringbacks. Here Cricket can aggregate a number of catalogs to present a unified storefront – see the The Emerging App Store Ecosystem article on why this is important to operators;
- Account status widget to see the prepaid balance, call detail records, status of orders, etc;
- And of course the the usual weather, news, gossip, entertainment widgets;
Cricket has shown the industry how to tackle the consumer electronic and OS app stores head on. Rather than complain about Nokia Ovi, operators now have a template on how to deliver an integrated storefront experience across the web, content, games, customer relationship management and all the other services they provide, all front-and-center of the customer’s phone experience.