Keith Higgins, Aricent, Inc.commsdesign.com (Jan 21, 2009 - 11:44 AM)
The communications industry is experiencing unprecedented change. Intense competition, consolidation, margin pressures and having to invest in new technologies is driving the need for new ways to improve efficiency and scalability, while achieving a fundamentally lower cost structure. At the same time, consumers have become far more discriminating about their services and devices (often called the "iPhone effect"), user experience trumps technology and price as the key driver behind purchase and adoption. One of the main catalysts for improving user experience is the shift to mobile platforms that leverage such open source community software as Google Android, Linux Mobile (LiMo), and Symbian.
The promise of open mobile platforms is compelling: better subscriber experience, more money for carriers and a bonanza of new applications. In other words, the walled-garden view of the Internet is tumbling down.
The business model is also compelling for ecosystem participants. In such countries as India and Africa where PC penetration is still considerably low, the mobile phone is becoming the ubiquitous device for Internet access. This shift in usage resulted in the rapid development of new applications including electronic payments, ticket reservations and mobile banking.
However, with all of the promise, the emerging open mobile ecosystem faces a number of challenges, including security, interoperability and diverging next-generation technologies. This article will cover the relative strengths of open source mobile technology, anticipated barriers to growth, and how the entire mobile community, including carriers, handset manufacturers, application developers and component providers, must adopt a holistic approach to allow the open source mobile revolution to realize its greatest potential for success.
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