The Future of Mobiles is Open
According to analyst house, MultiMedia Intelligence, the evolution of mobile handsets from a dedicated device to an open platform is set to be one of the most significant developments in the mobile industry in 2008.
Last year, Apple’s iPhone was released to considerable applause. Although the user interface was deemed revolutionary at the time, it was its operating system that initiated a new handset market dynamic - a step toward an open platform which Google’s mobile phone software, Android looks set to continue.
This evolution in mobile software has already lead to handsets changing from basic communications tools to multi functional, application centric, multimedia devices with applications such as mp3 players, video players and web browsers integrated into their offering. Over the past year, the major phone manufacturers have been releasing mobile phones with these capabilities on a regular basis.
Open platforms, such as Android, will pave the way for the mobile networks to open up much like the Internet has, with Java-based operating systems a real possibility according to the report.
"2008 will see a heightened battle for control of the platforms and business models," according to Frank Dickson, Chief Research officer for MultiMedia Intelligence.
"Companies like Nokia and Apple will pull at the operators, trying to capture data, content and application revenue for themselves. Open platforms like Android will drive the mobile network to open-up like the Internet."
However, while operators look to further increase the average revenue per user through the monetisation of content, MultiMedia Intelligence believes that the market will open up. The top five players currently control around 82 per cent of the market, yet new competitors and business models will follow the influx of new technology and content, challenging the dominance of the existing operators.
"Mobile operators will try to maintain their position at the top of the mobile food chain as they struggle to maximize the returns on infrastructure investment and not be relegated to a mere bandwidth provider," said Dickson.