Mobile Executives on the iPhone's Software Distribution

Mobile executives at a Silicon Valley roundtable discussion exchanged some colorful comments about the iPhone and its impact on the mobile space. Some application developers, in particular, have been very pleased with the distribution model provided by Apple.

Pandora Media's free Radio application [App Store] acheived 350,000 installations on the iPhone within the first 6 days. Pandora plans on monetizing their iPhone application through ads in the future. In contrast, over the past 18 months, Pandora has only achieved 12,000 paid monthly subscriptions through all other mobile platforms. Apple is apparently the only provider that will allow developers to offer a free ad-supported distribution model.

Facebook and Loopt have also seen impressive adoption over the course of a week. Loopt claims the average iPhone user is 47 times more active on their network than other platforms.

When discussing the promise of Google's Android mobile platform, some developers were skeptical about the experience:

"I need Android like I need a hole in the head," said Pandora's Conrad, picturing it as "another OS platform that sits on top of buggy firmware, with devices with hundreds of manufacturers, with different characteristics."

Meanwhile, Loopt's CEO was optimistic at the relative openness of the Android platform, as compared to the iPhone platform.

Apple has been undergoing considerable criticism from developers about the ongoing non disclosure agreement (NDA). The NDA is preventing developers from publicly discussing iPhone development and is also holding up a number of iPhone programming books from being published.

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