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  • Writer's pictureNick Lansley

Frankly, Tesco, we’re getting bored with your iPhone-only apps

It’s OK: message received loud and clear. Both customers and colleagues have been emailing / commenting that there are now three Tesco apps for the iPhone but absolutely none for anything else and that frankly they are getting a bit bored waiting. It’s even reached Twitter:

  1. ScaredyCat: @techfortesco: getting a bit bored with tesco iphone only stance. There are other phones.

Well there’s only one person to blame for all this and that’s me. I started all this nonsense(!) about mobile apps as part of R&D research. I did it on an iPhone because I have an iPhone so it seemed like a good place to start. It helped that Apple had created the most consistent and coherent environment for development and application launch, so issues such as coping with a phone’s lack of CPU power and all those different screen sizes and aspect ratios were absent from iPhone. Oh yes, since I promise honesty on this blog of course a sense of vanity and cool permeated the decision. Tesco being cool, huh? The success of our apps certainly showed that mobile applications from Tesco sit well with customers and in R&D we had proved that all the technical bases worked, which is what we’re here for after all. However our work now is ensuring we have a coherent API that will support all kinds of phones, so we have concentrated on developing this interface. This work has taken up nearly 100% of R&D time to research requirements and get it right. Once completed, we can do anything we want in the mobile world, on most phones and other devices too, but we have to complete these foundations before the visible applications are built. While this API work has continued, our leaders have created a comprehensive and very sensible mobile strategy. By ‘sensible’, they have realised that we shouldn’t have a whole load of Tesco apps and that each app does one little task, but a combined application that is best for customers. Take grocery – wouldn’t it be great if we took the forthcoming online grocery application (already nearly completed and in user-acceptance testing) and combined it with Tesco Finder so you can order your ‘Favourites’ list of products online and also sat-nav your way through finding them in any Tesco branch? Now that’s much better than two separate apps, and it’s something they are looking into for phase two. To those of you who say that you are upset at the lack of coverage for other phones, here is something to show that we are getting beyond the iPhone:

Is that the Tesco Clubcard app nearly ready for launch on a Nokia N97 through their OVI store in the next few weeks? Yes I think it is! I also have somewhere the Clubcard app running on a Blackberry which I’ll show you when I get my hands on it. Oh and what’s this in the Nokia simulator? It looks rather like a grocery ordering app that’s coming along just fine:

I also know that members of our newly extended R&D team are getting their teeth stuck into Android development so we can build our in-house expertise on that rapidly growing platform. So, dear customers and colleagues, a lot of talented people are designing and building the applications you are seeking. The delay is only to ensure that they get them working just right through an extensive programme of design, development, and user-acceptance testing which is running now. Soon these apps will be yours.

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