Any app, anywhere on any mobile phone?

March 2, 2010

The recent announcement by the global telecom operators, if operationalised, has interesting ramifications.

Twenty-four telecom operators have formed an alliance to build an open platform that will deliver applications to all mobile phone users in an effort to compete with Apple’s successful apps store.

Analysts have already voiced the doubts if this would happen in reality. But if this happens and I wish that this should happen, it would mean a lot to the mobile subscribers and a lot to the technology industry.

This is what I, as a user, would like to see coming out of it :

  • Ability to access applications irrespective of any instrument
  • Ability to access applications while international roaming – likes of geo specific apps : ATMs, local restaurants, local address etc.
  • Very low tariffs for accessing these applications in international roaming mode

From the technology point of view, if this becomes reality, this would mean example of “mobile apps on clouds” at never seen before size. Imagine 3 billion subscribers accessing thousands of apps.

This would also mean need for massive standisation. No longer would developers have to worry about mobile device or carrier issues. This is a not easy to achieve given that it is on such a massive scale. But we have seen in case of open source software industry, that if collaboration starts working in right earnest, it brings massive gains for the industry, it brings openness, it brings standardisation.

Then the question for operators would be, how to differentiate their offerings. and how to compete. I guess the answer would be on service quality and innovation.


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