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Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) CEO Arun Sarin, in his keynote to open Mobile World Congress, called for consolidation of handset operating systems. “T…

Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) CEO Arun Sarin, in his keynote to open Mobile World Congress, called for consolidation of handset operating systems. “There is no way that a group of developers out there developing cool applications can do it on 30 different operating systems. We have to narrow the range of options – instead of 30 or 40, if we had three or four or five, that would be a very good thing. Let the marketplace decide… whether it’s Symbian or Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) or Android… but we cannot have 30 operating systems out there.” Interesting that this comes just as Android surfaces.

- iPhone: But Sarin said companies “must both compete and partner” with new players like Android and Nokia’s (NYSE: NOK) Ovi: “We have to welcome these new ideas… “. “Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) has raised the bar through the iPhone and we all now know how important user interfaces are. We as an industry have to raise our game to provide the kind of interfaces that our customers are becoming accustomed to.”

- Mobile web: Sarin said “the new-new thing is internet on the mobile”. We may have heard that before: “But, for the first time, I feel we’ve got all the various parts lined up. The networks are going at 1, 2, 3Mbps, we have good user experiences, services. Soon there’ll be 14.4, soon there’ll be 28.8. This technology is good – the big difference in the last 12 months is that HSDPA has been able to deliver the goods that previous versions have been unable to.” But: “Is this mass-market today? I would say not. It’s fine to have penetration of two percent – but how about 70 percent?”

- Content: And some stats from Vodafone: over 25 million mobile YouTube videos watched since the operator added the video sharing site’s handheld version early in 2007; over 92 million searches through its mobile Google (NSDQ: GOOG) partnership.

  1. The point Sarin made about "the new-new thing is internet on the mobile” struck me as flawed. I am apposed the the one web principle. Mobile needs to be considered as a seperate entity to the internet. Just like newspapers, television and radio are for delivery services to the user. The Web has been implemented for computers. Sure, certain aspects of the Web wil benefit Mobile, but to simply say, "Internet on mobile" is not a good message to be sending to developers.
    Designing a "one web" will lead to various problems:
    - Developers making sacrifices in innovation in order to achieve compatibility.
    - Developers relying on transcoding tools to take their web site and make it mobile
    Both of these problems will lead to poor user experience, and not show the user the true potential of the MOBILE WEB.
    Mobiles are designed to be mobile and in your pocket, Computers are designed to be on your desk and at home or office.
    When will the industry wake up to these facts, and encourage companies to do more about promotion of innovation. Don't take your website, and translate to mobile, think out of the box, and see how the meanings of the word mobile can translate to benefit to your company, and the solution that you are offering.
    -Olaf-

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