Release Date Is A Feature. Especially In Mobile.

I remember reading Jeff Atwood’s blog post titled “Version 1 Sucks, But Ship It Anyway” a couple of years ago. I encourage you to read it and I think it’s even more important in mobile projects and here is why.

Web projects usually don’t have a lot of dependencies on some client side features that become available at some specific point in time. Usually feature availability takes time to propagate across all the major browsers over time making it a moving target. The situation is similar on the desktop. At least in the Windows world.

In mobile, on the other hand, each major mobile OS release adds new possibilities for app developers. New APIs allow us to build apps that were not possible before and whoever is there first gains a huge market advantage over those who come later.

You don’t need to spend a lot of time and money on marketing, if your app is the only one in it’s class. And there’s a huge chance that every blog doing a review of apps for the brand new mobile OS release will mention your app and the mention and link will be there forever.

Achieving the same level of ubiquity will cost you a lot more if you are late to the game. Even if your product is much better and way more polished. You’ve already lost your first battle.

This applies to any mobile platform, but, since this blog (and AdDuplex in general) is targeted at Windows Phone developers, I’m obviously aiming this at the Mango release. If you are in the process of developing an app with core value proposition depending on new APIs in Mango (camera access, sockets, local db, etc.), place “Release date” close to the top of your feature backlog.

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