> Hello
> My name is Julian
> This is my lifelog
>
and digital playground  

Emoji as a Platform Moat

There have been a few reports recently about Apple rejecting apps which make use of Apple’s emoji set outside of the keyboard.

I find this very surprising. Emojis are a completely underrated platform moat, in my opinion.

Android and iOS have become more and more similar and there are hardly any switching costs left for consumers:

  • Both operating systems offer pretty much the same features
  • You have high-end devices for both platforms (most importantly equal camera quality)
  • All major apps are available for both iOS and Android
  • Switching from iOS to Android literally doesn’t take more than a few minutes

This leaves Apple with only handful advantages over Android:

  • New apps are usually released on iOS first (temporary exclusivity)
  • Apps which are only available on iOS, most importantly iMessage
  • And: Emojis

Android has several emoji-problems:

I don’t have data to back this up, but I’m pretty sure there are psychological switching costs because you feel partly excluded from the conversations you are having with your iOS-friends (especially in group chats).

So Apple should embrace the use of its emoji set as much as possible, but prohibit developers from using them in their Android apps (which I assume has happened in the case of WhatsApp and Slack).

It’d be great if someone would come up with an open-source set of great looking emoji that become the standard across all platforms.

Feb 15, 2018  ×  Berlin, DE

Form vs. Function

The Sense is still one of my all-time favourite product designs. It reminds me a lot of the Beijing National Stadium by Herzog & de Meuron.

Unfortunately, the Sense never delivered on any of its other promises: The app UI wasn’t great, the personalised sleep insights & recommendations didn’t feel right and they never released the API they promised in their Kickstarter campaign. A few months ago the company announced it was shutting down. The email with instructions on how to export your data? I’m still waiting for it. My Sense is now nothing but an expensive paperweight.

There seems to be an interesting trend with quantified self devices: They either look great but don’t perform well (see Sense, Jawbone Up, Vessyl), or they perform well but lack good design (see Garmin, Zeo, Fitbit).

Fitness trackers in particular will need both great design and additional functionalities beyond step tracking to stay relevant, which is why the latest Fitbit release was so disappointing: The Ionic is not exactly a stylish piece of fashion. The form follows function approach would be okay if the watch had any ground-breaking new tracking capabilities, but that doesn’t seem to be the case either.

The winner seems to be the Apple watch, which both looks nice (I really like the Nike+ version) and offers pretty decent fitness tracking. Then on the other hand: No proper sleep tracking since the battery doesn’t even last 24 hours …

I’ll keep waiting for a device that gets both form and function right.

Sep 17, 2017  ×  Dublin, IE
You can subscribe to this blog via RSS, follow me on Twitter or sign-up for my monthly newsletter: