Tag Archives: intents

App to App Connectivity

Fred Wilson brings up a great point this morning about connectivity between mobile apps, or perhaps the challenge therein.

As you’ve no doubt noticed its far easier to move between systems on your desktop vs mobile. His example of clicking on a link from within Facebook mobile to buy something on Etsy rings true. Instead of being pushed into an app where you are likely to be logged in, you are typically dropped off on a mobile web page where you essentially start fresh adding a bit of friction into the equation.

Android does offer intents which allows you to send an action to a particular app but it’s also a bit unwieldy. There’s no way to edit the list and instead your are more often than not presented with a list of all the apps on your device who have registered themselves as shareable. On iPhone every app developer has to choose how to share out which leads to tons of inconsistency. For basic social sharing it’s not terrible but if you want to a really use the content in a more meaningful way … Good luck.

I’ve seen some apps enable app links so a click opens the app but this is rare and can fail as a standard option as you have to assume there’s an app installed. I would love to see some choices when setting up bookmarklets (app vs web) and having a way to limit the android intent list to those that matter would start us off in the right direction.

Android Sharing

image

Fred Wilson called out Android Sharing today and I agree it is by far one of the coolest and best features I’ve used in a mobile device.  I believe the technology is called intents.  It’s essentially a system pivot and enables most apps to talk quickly to each other to make use of content across the system.  I use it constantly!

Sharing gives me quick access to save articles to Pocket to read later, easily share links from Chrome via email, email images captured as screenshots and a ton of other tricks.  What’s also awesome about Android in general is the multitasking so for example saving a page to Pocket happens in the background and ensures my content is ready without having to open and refresh / sync like on my iPhone.  On iOS some of this is system level, like email, but saving things to Pocket or taking advantage of a screenshot just snapped requires some extra steps.  With the update to Jelly Bean the fluidity of Android is amazing and I’m finding myself reaching for my Nexus devices far more often than before.  Sharing and the actions I’m empowered to use are a big part of this.