The Boolean Life
Things are either True or False. Or not.
If it ain't broke, don't hurry.
By Olibe.nu

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" may have worked for Elop's Nokia. Or heeded by Mayer's Yahoo. But is it true in every case?

No, it isn't. If it isn't broke, don't hurry, take your time, but DO fix it! We might not call it crap because it works. As soon as there's an option though, it's hasta la vista, baby. And it's going to cost you too.

When was the last time you used the IM client, 2go? It was the SMS killer of Java based phones. All it needed was a phone that could run java apps and an internet connection. It was a simple concept: get the app, import your phonebook and chat with your contacts. It spread like wild fire. Everyone was on 2go all the time. More so to boost their 2go stars from Novice through Enthusiast to Master, a nice streak of gamification.

How does 2go fare presently? Not too good. They are being eclipsed by Whatsapp. Especially on smartphones. Why? The old 2go was not broke so it wasn't fixed! Now, if their aim is to be the SMS killer, they had better step up or step down for Saya.

What was 'not broke' with the app?

First of all, there were too many boundaries to using the app. Each step presented to a prospective user, is the last straw for another. One, you had to know your phone's model. There was a time when this information was common knowledge. Not anymore. Either make a one-size-fits-all app or determine the user phone model behind the scenes like Whatsapp does. Two, new accounts could not be created on the app, one had to go to their website first. While there, you had to specify a unique username too (effectively ignoring the phonenumber). Three, shortcodes were used if you had to retrieve a forgotten password. It was not free. Finally, users could not get into the app to view old chat conversations when the phone was offline. And so on.

These quirks did not break the app per se. So, they were not fixed. But as they say, it is the little things that give you away.

Secondly, 2go did not press their advantage. How? For a lot of people moving to smartphones, 2go had a lot of potential. Before such people moved on to newer platforms such as Twitter, Whatsapp or BBM, it stands to reason that they would first of all get their old favourite app. 2go did not make this easy. There was no deal with Nokia or Tecno to bundle the 2go app with new handsets. The apps that existed for the new platforms (Android at least) were horrible ports of the same old java app which was definitely no contender with other IM apps. The user was torn between sticking with the old familiar app he knew which now performs abominably on the shiny new device or go for the other smooth, already bundled app which everyone says is the next big thing. Other arrangements such as with a telco to provide the service at a fixed monthly cost like Airtel does with Whatsapp were absent.

All these were little things that could be ignored by 2go Interactive. Why not? The house was not on fire.

If 2go was built on something open (like Whatsapp is on XMPP), perhaps the Open Source community would have helped. They are a brilliant, tireless bunch which help along projects dragging their feet because their products are not broke. They would have polished 2go's dull gems. Such as the fact that it is more social than Whatsapp, encouraging more user interactions (notice how it informs you of new contacts, people who have changed their status from the last time you checked and those who are currently online, a lot of which Whatsapp does not).

I made an effort at an API once. A hacker friend of mine did port the new 2go for Android to the BB10 OS (you may ask how). All these are only hints at what the makers of the app should do.

2go ain't broke, but they are fixing it. The site is looking better and there is a new app in the playstore. There is more to 'fixing it' than attending to technology though. They had better hurry up and do something about the thousands getting new Tecno smartphones by the day.