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Open platforms drive next gen handset design

Posted: 01 Apr 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:handset? wireless? embedded software? application?

As various players begin to roll out application stores in one form or another, or tie up deals with specific content, the mobile industry is entering what could be a decisive phase in its business cycle.

A few short years ago, snazzy handsets were all the rage in the mobile device arena. Now the handset, while becoming more slick and hip to hold and carry around, is sharing center stage with all manner of mobile devices, wireless embedded software, services and applications throughout the global wireless market.

In fact, fierce and intensifying competition around the world is unfolding to deliver a myriad of wireless applications and services powered by embedded software and new operating systems.

Rather than focusing on the intrinsic attributes of a device, such as its design, power, camera or hardware features, consumers now ask whether they can access social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare.

Today's consumer wants to listen to music streamed wirelessly through services such as Spotify or, and to upload their photos to sites like Flickrall on the move. They also demand access to all their personal and professional email platforms such as Hotmail, Gmail, and Outlook. And, they want their devices to interconnect with their computers, tablets, and home media libraries.

What does this mean? For starters, some device manufacturers are developing specific services and content, and then working to attract consumers to buy all of it. But these efforts have delivered mixed results. Services are the new frontier in this industry, but nobody has gotten it totally right yet.

To solve this problem, mobile handset manufacturers are developing new business models focused on more open operating systems. The goal is to reach the largest addressable market. While the question remains as to which operating system platform will dominate, it's clear there are a number of criteria that the most successful are likely to fulfill.

One of those criteria is opening the maximum market size. Providers of these open operating system platforms are pursuing this by encouraging software developers and service providers to build applications and services using open platforms.

Although it will be important in this process that developing applications and services on these operating systems is relatively easy and quick, the commercial reach of the potential platform, as well as the maturity and scalability of the feature set, will be the key issue.

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