Developers who want to optimize their app for Verizon's network will soon have a new option, a "turbocharge" API that temporarily help an app get priority access to faster and more reliable data. The funcitonality would theoretically come by way of a "turbo" button that developers could add to their app, which users would also be tied to another API Verizon is developing — for micropayments. In practice, that would mean that if an app was slow, users could hit the "turbocharge" button, pay Verizon a fee, and get more reliable data.
The news came out of a session from Verizon's "Innovation Center" in San Francisco, where the technology was demonstrated. The fact of the matter is that even on Verizon, bandwidth is limited and data throughput can become a problem, so presumably Verizon is looking for as many ways as possible to alleviate the issue. Verizon's associate director for technology in Verizon's Product Development and Technology team, Hugh Fletcher, said:
One of the things that we are right now is very democratic in terms of allocating spectrum and bandwidth to users. And just because you request a high quality of service doesn't mean you're gonna get it. [The network] will try to give it to you, but if there's a lot of congestion, a lot of people using it, it won't kick people off.
Both "democratic" distribution of bandwith and keeping users connected when things are tight are good things, but obviously we're worried that a pay-per-use "Turbocharge" API isn't really the best way to solve this problem. We understand that Verizon is fighting tooth-and-nail to prevent a "dumb pipe" future for itself, but mobile apps aren't arcade games, you shouldn't have to drop a quarter to keep playing.