Easiest advantage to spot: full screen pictures
Rather than relying on their browser, the growing army of Android users can now use the native Trulia app, the first major real estate search company app to launch a product for the Android tablet. The most obvious advantage of the Trulia app is the full screen photos that users now have access to, as opposed to other mobile devices like an iPhone which offers a much smaller screen for viewing.
The Trulia app has interactive mapping features to accommodate user expectation of map searching since they’re mobile, and the neighborhood information Trulia users expect are also built in, like restaurants, schools and retailers near any listing. Trulia emphasizes the agent contact button, putting mobile consumers in touch with Realtors more readily.
“Trulia is committed to maximizing user options for Android, the fastest-growing mobile platform out there. Android tablets like the Sony S and Amazon Kindle Fire are new to market, but they’ll undoubtedly start to matter to a greater number of consumers, and Trulia looks forward to participating in the success of this new platform,” said Steven Yarger, Trulia’s Mobile Product Manager. “Our in-house Android experts have found the platform to be flexible and powerful, with a lot of room for creativity, which makes for quality, optimized experiences for our users in the Android ecosystem.”
What this means for Realtors
Realtors aren’t required to be tech support for the real estate search sector, so real estate professionals don’t necessarily need to own or touch every single app on the market, but being aware of their existence is important. If a Realtor is on the road with a consumer that wants to use a native app on their Android, Trulia is currently their only option, which a well informed agent will know.
Ultimately, though, the idea that photos are being seen in such large scale is critical for the industry to respond to. If agents continue to use 1997 cell phones to take drive-by shots of a listing, they won’t convey on a tablet and will be passed over, doing a major disservice to their listing clients and the buyers. Ken Shuman, Trulia’s Head of Communications told AGBeat that more photos and better quality photos means more clicks on a listing, which is a win for the listing agent.
This should serve as a reminder for the industry that sloppy, poor quality photos are no longer acceptable, and because almost every single real estate transaction starts online (or via app), having many photos that are high resolution is becoming increasingly more urgent, especially with innovations like this one from Trulia.
What this means for real estate search companies
We broke the story last night of Realtor.com launching their newest version of their iPhone and iPad apps and noted that the real estate search wars were about to heat back up, with this story being a small part of that assertion. We have been waiting to see who would get to the finish line first for the Android tablet app, and while this is a first version of a product and fairly limited, it is paving the way for innovation competition which is ultimately good for consumers.
Each company’s mobile strategy is slightly different, and each is placing bets on where the long term money will be, but each are going about innovation differently with some taking a startup (read: risk) approach while others are slow and steady. Expect many more mobile innovations this year, some of which could even make you say “I wish I had thought of that!”