A lot of talk has been devoted to mobile operating systems lately, with Windows Mobile, Symbian, LiMo and Android getting the lion’s share of the attention. But if you consider that the mobile phone will soon be a place to make calls and access the web through cloud services, then the operating system is less significant and the browser becomes the king.
Or so says Bob Morris, head of mobile marketing for ARM Holdings, which designs the cores for many of the mobile chips that act as the brains of mobile phones. He says that browsers are the new application framework, which is why ARM is paying close attention to how their cores work with specific browsers rather than only the OS. To that end, ARM has inked a partnership with Mozilla and other vendors to build a Linux-based mobile computing device designed for web surfing on the go. Mozilla is planning a yet-to-be launched mobile browser.
So while the former CEO of Vodafone, Arun Sarin, was pushing for fewer mobile operating systems at the GSM World Congress and CTIA trade shows earlier this year, Morris believes the increasing number of services accessed through a web site such as Facebook or Gmail are what chip vendors and device makers needs to pay attention to. Browsers, plus the right downloads such as Flash or Silverlight, will drive the consumer experience more than the OS.
This trend of mobile web adoption has enhanced the profile and importance of ARM, which designs the cores of most mobile processors that serve as the brains of cell phones. ARM cores are also the basis for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips, Texas Instrument’s OMAP3 chips and Nvidia’s Tegra chipset, all of which are designed for faster computing at lower power for mobile phones.