Mass Customization: From "There is a plug-in for that" To "There is an app for that"

In a much anticipated mystic event Apple announced a tablet today called an iPad. Steve Job's hypnotizing presentation convinced people that iPad is a magic. I was not there in person to see Jobs unveiling an iPad and somehow escaped the magic. That gave me time to think about the implications of a trend that an iPad endorses - mass customization. Firefox's success in part can be attributed to its approach to allow the developers to write and publish extensions. There is a Firefox plug-in for pretty much anything. Then came the iPhone and we had an app for pretty much anything. Now we have an iPad and the trend continues.

Mass customization trend is about micro-chunking the software that we run on our devices ranging from cell phones to laptops. The emergent architecture and delivery model have empowered the consumers to buy only the chunks of software that they actually need. The cloud computing and SaaS have further enabled the consumers not to run any software other than a web browser for many daily tasks that they need to accomplish. Micro-chunking and webOS have grave implications on the large shrink-wrapped software packages that occupies the most space on consumers' hard-drive, hogs memory, and provides a little value. I won't go to the extent of calling this gold rush for the app developers but I do agree that the independent developers now have a level playing field to compete with the ISVs.

I certainly welcome this trend. I not only want to be in charge of the devices that I own but I also want to experiment and micro manage the applications that I run on my devices. If I can get a tall non-fat extra hot double shot latte at Starbucks why shouldn't I expect a device that runs the exact software that I need - no less, no more.

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