Interesting that Tim writes about flat rates being considered harmful… Just last week I wrote that flat rates are the Requirement #1 for Mobile 2.0.
To make sense why flat-rates are important, you need to understand what a “Mobile 2” application is. A next generation mobile application is a highly connected/interactive one; one that relies heavily on messaging as well as data pipes (there are other characteristics for Mobile 2 applications but those are inconsequential with respect to the topic at hand).
Instead of flat rates, Tim advocates:
“Offer a-la-carte data at a price that seems obscenely, ridiculously, low.”
OK, I buy that: both “flat-rates” and “ridiculously low rates” satisfy the requirement – again, both applied to data and messaging.
Flat or “ridiculously low” rates are key to next generation mobile applications — just try to bring such mobile app to market today, and you will see what I’m talking about. The question of “cost of ownership/operation” is still a huge problem for us; messaging (text and MMS) rates can be a show stopper (and a liability). Being able to use the Web without limits, without any concerns of “going over-limits” is what is going to allow for a new breed of mobile (interactive) applications. Helio knows this very well, as is working for them. That is the no-brainer. This will happen; it is just taking a ridiculously long time.
That said, Tim’s points on carrier/developer/distribution are great…