The long awaited MWC 2009 opened its’ doors today and it will be an exciting and enlightening event again despite all these endless talks about economic downturn and recession. Let’s look at the bright side of life and all the fancy things which the mobile industry will leverage to its customers in 2009 - and there are many exciting things to talk about….
So at last the market has realised that technology is not there for its own sake but to satisfy the needs of customers. Thus usability is one of the most important things to focus on. Unrivalled user experience will therefore again be one of the dominant themes at MWC.
Also expect to see an increased focus on unique user experience across devices like Set top-boxes, Personal Computers, MIDs, and Mobile Phones together with Cloud Services that allow users to have the same content presented in the same way wherever they go and whatever device they use. Something which will definitely make our life’s easier.
Developer’s will be happy too to only implement things once employing solutions facilitated by e.g. Adobe OSP or QT. Of course we need to see if this time round the promise will become real. Looking at the current progress regarding user experience driven design we might be able to skip reading any user manuals in the future – this would be really a great step forward…
The second, perhaps much more dominant theme, will be Android and the great future of open source. Already more than 20 Android based phones are announced for 2009 and at the same time Android enters with almost light speed the MID space and other verticals like automotive and consumer equipment.
Is Android really mature enough right now to be the cross-platform and industry segment solution of choice? Difficult to say but it has indeed a vast potential to mix-up the domain. There is the perception on the market that Android offers unrivalled customization possibilities and together with its nice open source model approach and the Google brand in the back this can indeed be a sustainable success story. However, others call the platform premature and advise to wait for another year before making any judgement on where Android goes. I am personally confident that Android will be a success story long term attaining lots of attention and being deployed in a huge amount of different devices with a strong Open Handset Alliance driving the base technology forward. But it will be only one success story we will see.
Also expect the Symbian Foundation, RIM, iPhone and maybe PalmPre to be players with a high profile and it will be an interesting battle out there between these platforms – not to mention the impact on the classical feature phone segment.
One thing is for sure though: the ongoing fast price erosion, the slow down in the number of shipped handsets per year, the ever increasing number of mobile phones from an increasing number of handset manufacturers will make it difficult for all players in the mobile handset domain to make good business. So we will see some of these players going out of market again mid term.
Considering this huge attention around open source and open source based platforms, Microsoft’s Windows Mobile might keep a low profile this year and I am very curious whether Steve Ballmer will announce a turn of direction regarding their licensing policy… Perhaps there will be a surprise for all. Nonetheless there are some sexy Windows Mobile powered devices announced, just have a look at the TG01 from Toshiba.
Time will tell if we will get the definite answers of where the market goes, for now let’s walk around at MWC to discover these small little things nobody does really pay attention to right now. Sometimes it is the small inventions which change the world…