IT is all about platforms – at least when it comes to real money, particularly desktop platforms such as Windows, Mac OS X and Linux – with Microsoft holding a strong majority on a closed system.
Microsoft’s monopoly of the desktop platform is – in this blogger’s opinion – the successful driver of the software industry, applications do not need to be re-coded, re-compiled and tweaked for 10 operating systems, small firms can go straight for the largest segment and start selling – excellent.
Not so with the Internet-as-platform approach, where we have multiple languages, layers, protocols and now cloud-platforms vying for attention (but no dominance) – Personally I feel we’re taking a step back by returning to the old thin-client mainframe approach which we were liberated from by the Personal Computer. But that’s a debate for another article…
What I am building up to is the most-hyped, largest and by far most interesting aspect of the developing technology ecosystem, the mobile phone.
This is another platform that has so many OS’s and proprietary platforms that there is no single way to develop decent applications for the entire market. Embedded Java was meant to be the common denominator, but differing resolutions, processors and deployment difficulties quickly put an end to that.
So what am I getting at? Ultimately, the new two-sucker punch from Android and the hopefully-successful OS Symbian will level the playing field for the mobile platform. And ultimately, a chance to begin again – and instead of having to deal with a closed code-base and proprietary libraries, we’ll be presented with an open and free platform to build on without lock-in (I’m looking at you Windows Mobile).
And yes, it is a chance at redemption, mobile devices are getting ever more popular and connected, netbooks are exploding and the new emergent market for ultra-low power green PC’s is looking very promising – most noticeably these machines are all (mostly) using a Linux derivative as their OS – it’s a promising thing when we can be presented with a mobile future with an open operating system and mobile devices share a common platform – not only will the market be much more open for small software vendors and competition, but it will be ethically viable – with no one single corporation dictating trends and features.
It’s all very exciting – my prediction for the hottest new thing for the next year: ultra-low-cost PC’s and motherboards will become more available, demand will surge for cloud applications to make use of these cheap machines (it is a co-dependent market) and within the next three to five years we’ll be seeing strong competition to the iPhone from more open, smart mobile devices (that includes web-services and mobile access pages to power mobile-window interfaces for the thin-client applications).