Monday, 11 February 2008

Mobile Monday London - February 2008

A great session on Mobile Operating Systems at MoMo last Monday that touched on many different approaches from open source to propriety and from installable apps to browser services.

David Wood from Symbian kicked off with questions on the future of mobile operating systems that sparked many more questions. Is the the user better off installing local apps or browsing web sites? Will mobile devices be sufficiently different to make OSs, and in particular mobile OSs, sufficiently different? What do we mean by a Smartphone? Will Smartphone-like features be moving into even the lowest end of devices? Symbian have shown an impressive climb in sales from 1 million phones in 2002 to 20 million in Q32007 with 165 million phones to date. 70% of Smarthphones sold are now Symbian.

Mark Burks from M:Metrics continued with some mobile market stats which showed the incredible variation in usage between the different geographies:

  • 18% of mobile users in Italy are Smartphone users
  • 9% of mobile users in the UK are Smartphone users
  • 69% of Smartphone users in the UK are male
  • 67% of Smartphone users in the UK receive their Smartphone for free
  • 9% of Smartphone users in Italy receive their Smartphone for free
  • 8% of Smartphone users in the UK are on unlimited data plans
  • 8% of Smartphone users in the UK are on unlimited data plans
  • 48% of Smartphone users in the US are on unlimited data plans

Next up was David Pollington from Vodafone who came from the browser angle with a “Web Runtime for hosting mobile apps and services”. He introduced MobileScript, developed by VF Group R&D, which extends JavaScript to access device properties and invoke other services – such as make calls and send SMS. More is detailed in his paper on Web Runtimes –evolving beyond the browser which goes into more details in the security concerns that naturally arise.

Karsten Homann from Trolltech finished off the session. Trolltech are soon to be acquired by Nokia to enhance Nokia’s cross-platform ability with Trolltech’s Qt platform. It was nice to see a collection of non-smartphone devices to add some flavour and think about some specialised mobile contexts – with devices that allow NASCAR dads to follow the race from the comfort of their caravan and hand held network analyzers.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Gigaom’s blogs to see how things pan out at MWC and which OSs come out of the week in Barcelona strong.

All the slides from the MoMo evening are available on the MoMo London site.

Mobile operating systems:

  • Android
  • LiMo
  • Palm
  • RIM
  • Symbian
  • Trolltech
  • Windows Mobile