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It doesn’t look like the Verizon iPhone will offer much in the way of new features for application developers. But Jeff Smith, co-founder and chief executive of music app-maker Smule, seemed pretty giddy about the announcement when I talked to him this morning.
Why the excitement? Smith said it all comes down to data. AT&T’s network (both its voice and data plans) has been overwhelmed by the demand in iPhone-heavy areas like San Francisco and New York, leading to frequent complaints and criticism.
And that’s had an impact on apps. Smith said that a number of his company’s products, which include some of the coolest and most popular apps on the iPhone (such as Ocarina and Glee Karaoke), require users to both upload and download significant amounts of data through the network. As a result, he argued that Smule’s negative reviews boil down to bad connectivity, with complaints like “couldn’t download the app” or “I got a blank screen”.
Come February, Smith predicted data-hungry iPhone users will be migrating in large numbers to Verizon, where they will have a much more reliable connection. That won’t just mean a better experience on Smule’s existing apps. It will also give the company more leeway to build apps where most of the content and features are accessed online, rather than downloaded completely to your phone. Developers are moving in that direction, Smith said, because it allows them to update and add new content to their apps more quickly, rather than waiting for approval from Apple.
Smith added that Smule itself will be moving from AT&T to Verizon. The team will still keep one or two AT&T phones around, he said, so that it can continue to test apps for AT&T users, and just to have “something to look at and to throw fruit at,” Smith said.