In this blog Rob Tiffany’s of Windows Mobile Accelerator blog wrote his summary about the Mobile 2.0 event. And he wrote something interesting:
The words “Microsoft” and “Windows Mobile” were never uttered at this conference which I find strange based on the tens of millions of devices we have in the marketplace. If I based my view of the mobile landscape on this conference, I would believe that people only carried iPhones and Nokia Nseries devices. One of the speaker panels pushed the notion that truly rich and innovative apps can’t be acheived until mobile Linux with open APIs takes hold of the mobile OS marketplace… While we wait for that to happen, speakers at the conference conveyed that the primary form of mobile app development was web-based (I guess the offline strategy was just a fad). Questions about mobility in the enterprise went largely unanswered. For the most part, the only kind of mobile apps people talked about were for social networking. I wonder how many social networking apps we need?
If I think about it, yes that is true! No mention of Windows Mobile. Little mention of Java ME and Symbian, a bit more mention of Nokia and SE, little or no discussion about Motorola or others, and LOTS of mention of the iPhone. And lot’s of mention about the mobile user experience, where we are vs. where we need to be, and business models.
And if you think about, the reason Windows was not mentioned is that we are talking about the next generation of Mobile, which is a place where applications will define mobility, and not the proprietary platforms and operating systems which are second or “one layer down” – this is Windows, BREW, Symbian OS, S60 and even Java ME. And the reason open platforms such as Linux-based came up, is because for many, the future of Mobile is also about shifting the power of who gets to decide what a handset is and what runs in it, and one way to accomplish this is via open platforms.
And about why is social networking applications a hot topic, and why enterprise is not? From this you must extrapolate — the future of Enterprise mobile applications, assuming that CIO’s will allow for such applications to actually exist beyond the BlackBerry and Windows, is about absorbing the social aspects into such applications, and about allowing for personal handsets in the Enterprise (since handsets are such a personal device anyways), and this includes how applications are available over the web (as services) and how collaboration takes place (which goes back to social aspects). Funny thing is that early 2000 I bet Enterprise was going to be the early adopter, but I was wrong; it was the mass market. And it is still the case today.
The fact that Windows Mobile was not mentioned at all does reflect how Microsoft is viewed today when it comes to mobile and the future of mobile. The same can’t be said of Nokia, and SE, and Google, and Apple, and others who are pushing for and embracing the future.
Applications and user experience and how people interact is the future of Mobile applications. Mobile web seems to be the future, because we forced ourselves to such path (or evolutionary path?): see Revisiting Pain #1 for local applications, and about the new model for mobile applications.
There will always be local and web applications, and an OS underneath. Local vs. web will be dictated by the needs of the application with respect to functionality, and the target audience. The OS really doesn’t matter, except when talking about (the important topic of) open vs. closed environments, as mentioned above.