opinion


Barcelona day three

Barcelona day three and handset operating systems are on the menu. Vodafone frontman Arun Sarin stirred things up with a call for more simplicity among mobile handset OSes. Sarin reckons a handful of platforms is enough to keep the market going.

Vodafone tried this move before, two years ago, when it tried to standardise on three handset platforms – Symbian, Windows Mobile and Linux. Thing is, it’s not really three platforms. Symbian itself is split into a handful of different versions – S30, S40, S60 etc. – all of which have very different capabilities. Then of course Linux is fragmented into many, many different flavours and it being pulled in every direction by the various lobby groups like LiMO, LiPS, etc.

Even the handset manufacturers aren’t consistent in their approach, Sony Ericsson announced its first Windows Mobile phone this week and Nokia’s acquisition of Trolltech raises some interesting questions about the company’s approach to Linux.

Then again, what I learned from Trolltech yesterday also raised a question about the difference between a mobile operating system and a suite of web services, as the world’s traditionally ruled by Google and Nokia respectively, collide.

Trolltech said that Nokia’s plan to create an application framework that can be deployed across any platform, combining web-based apps with native ones, puts Nokia on a better footing to go up against Google.

Google’s Android platform, which was also on display at the show, sounds exactly like Nokia’s own initiative, putting the web giant on a better footing to compete with the Finnish firm.

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One comment

  1. Eli Mahal 14/02/2008 @ 10:54 am

    Third day of the show and standing for hours on end is starting to take its toll on everyone’s feet!

    So, talk about Mobile TV and its future has weaved into discussions once again and the debate about broadcast mobile TV vs. VoD on mobile rages on. With Plasma screens and surround sound technology being the norm, will someone actually sit down to watch an entire episode of 24 or Lost on their mobiles?

    Broadcast-based mobile TV still has a number of stumbling blocks to overcome. Operators need to negotiate content rights, choose different broadcast technologies, purchase transmission spectrums and even subsidise new handsets, if they are to make the service affordable.

    New handsets, which we have seen plenty of here at MWC, mean that Mobile TV services have more potential now than ever before – but the services need to fit today’s mobile lifestyle. People use their handsets on the go ‘snacking’ on 5 minute sessions relying on it for news and entertainment or to read the latest blog posts…like SMS Text News!

    Sites like YouTube make internet based video streaming a more viable business proposition than broadcast Mobile TV. These are still a few quality issues that need to be addressed. Firstly, handsets need easy web navigation coupled with advanced formatting of a web page – rather than simply cutting a site into strips to fit a small screen. Secondly, the video transmission must be smooth. Thirdly, operators need to safeguard vulnerable users like children when streaming video from websites.

    There has been much talk about how in the same way that 2007 had been the year for social networking, 2008 could be the year of Mobile TV.
    Mobile World Congress 2009 will be the litmus test for that prophecy.

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