Monday, November 5, 2007

We Share in this Family...

So an open platform for mobile handsets, I like that. This could be the kick in the pants service providers need to really get going on building next generation services. If you notice I said, “could be”?

I’ve been watching this market long enough to know that the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) has one hell of a road in front of it, and not because the software will be difficult to deliver, but because all the companies listed as alliance members will all want their share.

What do I mean by that? Well, let’s imagine on Monday, when the software development kit (SDK) is released, that immediately 1M developers download and begin creating new services. Of those 1M developers, 1% create something rich enough for current subscribers to use. We’re almost there! Of the 10K new services created, 1% are hits. At the end of the day we’ll have 100 brand new applications out and about earning respectable revenues. How exactly will those revenues be shared? What happens if I am in the US and want to use my services when in the UK? What happens when my service is disrupted, who will I call for help? These are some of my immediate questions and why I think Google and OHA have a bigger task ahead of them than just creating software.

Another question I have is, will OHA be powerful enough to break down the infamous, “walled gardens”?

I saw this firsthand at the VON show last week when Embarq’s CEO, Dan Hesse, presented their strategy for the next generation. His remarks were focused on delivering a “Simplicity Portal” where Embarq’s customers can do anything and everything they want with relation to TV, Internet and Voice. Embarq is not in the alliance by the way. This is what service providers are accustomed to and if OHA is going to disrupt the status quo, they will have to break down this mindset before their efforts are considered successful.

I will support any movement toward creating an open platform because it ultimately leads to a better experience for the next generation. On the OHA website they have a great video of children answering this question, “If I had a magic phone…”

Now Android is certainly not going to get a phone to make ice cream but this is what it is all about, building for the next generation.

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