The mobile stack

These days, its trendy for companies to control the entire mobile stack – Apple, Blackberry, Nokia (until recently) and several other companies all make their own hardware and mobile OS, claiming that it provides a better user experience.

However, I have to wonder if this is always the case. As mobile becomes the dominant form for computer use (in many sectors, mobile use already exceeds desktop use, in others it is rapidly catching up), it may well be that the market matures in the same way that the PC market did.

Think back to before you knew what a computer was (I originally said before you were born, but we’re probably getting too old for that now). All the PC manufacturers produced their own operating system and shipped it with the computer. It was a nightmare, nothing worked with anything else and there was no consistency – you switched hardware, you had to switch software too.

Then a young man came along, named Bill Gates (and Paul Allen of course). He had the idea of an operating system that would work across everything. Thanks to that, today, you can buy whatever hardware you want, load Windows onto it and you have a consistent experience across all hardware configurations, and all your software works on it.

It can be argued that mobile is currently in a similar fragmentation at the moment. A recent report suggested that there were now 4,000 Android devices – and that was published in May and they’ve been growing since then. Add this to the number of Windows phones, iOS devices and many other smaller operating systems (Nokia still have a huge market share in the developer world, RIM are still in there too, Samsung have their own operating system, the list goes on) – that is a huge range of devices to support.

No wonder so many companies fail to provide a consistent mobile experience, or end up saying “we’re only going to support iOS.” It would help if everyone implemented web standards to the letter, but what we really need is a Windows equivalent for the mobile world.



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This entry was posted on Sunday, January 13th, 2013 at 11:20 am and is filed under Tech, Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.