Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Mobile Phone Market

Blogs have evolved. Today the new trend is micro blogging (example twitter). More people blog today than ever, but the platform have changed/evolved. Same thing has/is happening to mobile computing. We are at the dawn of a major evolution on mobile computing.

Smart phones today are no longer a luxury item (remember those days when people did anything to own an O2 XDA atom?. Though the only they did was playing solitaire ) but a necessity toady. No need to talk about the advantages of smart phones here. One can google for it and you'd find thousands of pages.

Recently the iPhones have been a huge success on the smart phone arena followed by Android based phones. Commercially speaking Apple and iPhone application developers have made millions out of this market in less than two years. Personally I like the Androids more, it's a more open and promising platform compared to the iPhones however if you are in the mobile application business I guess iPhones is the right choice (for now). The new Windows Phone 7 Series is looking very promising too. Maybe the success of WP7S will be a market place like Apples (though some may disagree with me). I am in no way talking about how good the platform is or which is superior , etc. My focus here is on the revenues which will be generated out of these platforms. Gartner, the research firm, predicts that spending on handset apps will hit $6.2 billion this year. With this kind of figures you can see a lot of developers venturing into this market.

The success of Windows OS on the desktop has always been the availability of the applications, I feel the same will apply to the mobile computing market too. It all depends on providing the best development tools / options and a good commercial model. I don't think the handset vendors will matter anymore in the near future. Just like the PC markets. If you have a DELL, HP, Acer or Lenovo it does not matter much to the functionality. We all have our own preferences though. Apple have always been “Thinking Different”. Owning an Apple MacBook and a Notebook is different, the “feel” is different. The same may apply to the mobiles. You can run Linux or Windows on your notebook/Desktop (commonly) or you can have a Apple running Mac OS X. Following the path, you might have your HTC, Samsung or Motorola or others running Android or WP7S or your Apple iPhone. This is how I see it now, I am not very sure where Nokia is heading but I would like to think if they are to keep the strong hold in this market they too soon will need to follow the trend (which already has started to happen).

In the Maldives, most people don't understand this market mainly because they have been so used to the pirated software that they fail to understand the value of software. Software is taken for granted, no one is willing to pay. This is fine by me and good. If you don't want to pay for software go with the Free software. That is more ethical, however that is just my view.

It is sad that the Maldivian investors and the government fail to see such advances and economical opportunities. For the developers I'd like to think this is a very good opportunity, I know it's hard to venture into software development without a good financial backup but this is worth a try. I don't think in Maldives the developers will find people who will support them and help them. You are on your own and it's best if you realise this now and work around it. The talks about improving ICT in the country are all are just “bull shit!”. It will never happen. The policy makers and the people with money are only interested in owning Resorts.

Last few years I've worked with really talented individuals in Maldives. I know there are many more. If someone managed them and guided them this will really benefit the country as a whole. I always feel it's high time we broke away from prostituting our beaches (as in only depending on it alone) and found an alternative source of income. It's nice to see recently individuals coming up with creative web based application, etc. Most or if not all of which are targeted to the local market. This is good for a start but I think it's high time we started to think globally and utilized the talent in Maldivians.