【China Startup】Making the smartphone smarter

2015-10-12 03:17:13

How many APPs do you have on your smartphone? The intuitive answer that I had for that question was: “MANY.”

So I decided to take the time and count, until I hit the magic number of 300! Was that a normal amount, or am I far too dependent on my phone?

A quick online search left me a little more concerned, although there were folks who went above the 100 mark. (Source: lifehacker.com)

And so I got thinking, how many of these APPs do I use daily – 7 or 8 at the maximum, I realized. Most of my smartphone's space is for keeping all the Apps that I rarely use.

That realization was also the starting point for Feng Xinghua, who founded Huosu Inc in 2013.

The fundamental issue that Feng sought to tackle when he established his startup was to develop one product that offered multiple solutions, doing away with the need for hundreds of APPs.

That rather unscientific introspection was quite in line with the research by the Nielsen Company, which showed that while most consumers download dozens of APPs for smartphones and tablets, very few of them are actually being used.

Nielsen's research, which covered US consumers, showed that an average smartphone user has around 42 APPs on his or her device.

As per their research, of the 3,743 smartphone and tablet users who had downloaded an application to their devices in the past 30 days, 84 percent said they use less than 10 APPs daily, and 55 percent said they only use between one and four APPs every day.

(Source: phonearena.com)

What that means is that a large number of APPs on your device are doing nothing more than gobbling up precious space.

However, space was just one part of the problem.

In Feng's words, what he set out to do was to ensure that your smartphone was indeed smart.

Feng and his partner Zhao Jiuzhou on the roof of the office

If I want to spend an evening out, I need to use an APP to search for a good restaurant where I can go for dinner. Then, I need to open anther APP to check if there is any coupon available. Then I need to open the map to find the easiest way to get there, and finally, I need an APP to get a taxi… after dinner, if I want to watch a film, I need to do it all again, and at the same time, I could be using a news APP to check the latest news and a social networking APP to contact my friends. So there are more than six APPs that I need to switch between during that time.
- Feng Xinghua, COO of Huosu Inc

The solution that Feng arrived at was to create an HTML5 platform that opened a path to the APPs that one needed.

Nowadays more and more APPS are being developed based on HTML5. We just need to open a path to link to them at the backend, then we will be able to use most APPs’ functions in one APP.
- Feng Xinghua, COO of Huosu Inc

Although Huosu has developed the platform, there are a few concerns that Feng has identified, which are limiting the product's development and advancement.

1. Limited battery life of smartphones:

This is a major concern, since using the platform essentially means that the device has to keep connecting to the cloud (Internet) while one is using the APP. That results in draining battery life much faster .

2. Speed of data transfer:

The platform requires that users have access to a stable and fast Internet connection.

3. Financing and investment:

Although the platform has been launched, it still has a long way to go in terms of increasing compatibility and improving user friendliness. Feng anticipates that the process could easily take 2 to 3 years, and what he is hoping for during that time is that the capital markets remain stable and his investors remain patient.

"I used to think that establishing a startup will give me more freedom. But actually, that’s not the case. Now I need to consider a lot of things before I make a decision," says Feng, when I asked him about the journey so far and the road that lies ahead of him.

Feng's team

The challenges of the future, however, don't seem to have dampened his spirit. “My heart has become freer. This startup has brought me into the best time of my life,” he quickly added.