Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nokia and Google: Too much emphasis on the mobile OS?

With Nokia’s acquisition of Symbian, it is going head-to-head with Google Android and Windows Mobile to make a run at building the top software platform for mobile phones. The problem is that all three of them could be making some bad assumptions about the way the mobile phone market — particularly the smartphone market — is going to unfold over the next five to ten years.

They all seem to be assuming that the mobile phone market will mirror the computer market, which is dominated by a small handful of platforms: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. The reality is that there is likely to be a much larger diversity of platforms in the mobile world.

In addition to Android, Symbian, and Windows Mobile, there is now the iPhone with its OS X-based platform. And, beyond those four, there’s a plethora of phone makers that run their own proprietary operating systems on a variety of phones, sometimes with a customized OS for each phone.

It’s going to be very hard to put the genie back on the bottle in the phone market. All of these different types of phones are already out there and will be in use for years to come. Some may argue that the smartphone market does not have as many players as the general mobile market, but the lines are blurring between standard mobile phones and smartphones.More>>