Competition kicks in mobile softwares

Purchase decision for a new mobile phone wasn’t difficult earlier. Nokia was considered as the best in design and usage, Sony for its music phones, LG/Samsung for low-cost variants, Motorola only for its cosmetics and brand name and some cheap chinese phones thrown here and there for the wannabe cellphone owners. Then came in Apple with its iPhone and became apple of the eye… for whosoever could afford it (and the data plans)…

I know the first para is stale… its even there on Wikipedia. What’s not is the transformation of mobile phones to digital consumer goods which also make calls. As many tech-bloggers have pointed out in the past, mobile phones had only one app – making calls. This has changed for the good,  mobile hardware manufacturers and more importantly carriers have allowed 3rd party application and hardware developers to utilize data connectivity to its fullest. Countries like Japan, S.Korea are way ahead of the trend (more like early adaptors) and developed countries with higher purchasing power follow the two. And finally, 10 years after NTT DoCoMo went 3G, India is on the verge of getting 3G. So nothing excitingly new in the technology.

What’s exciting is the way the mobile software market has boomed. The mobile phone value chain is growing leaps and bounds as software companies fight for Apps and OS’. So while Apple has its OSx, Google has its Android, Microsoft has relaunched Windows Mobile, Symbian is moving to Symbian 3, a global handset manufacturers consortium is planning a central app store, Nokia is developing meego, Samsung its own thing and HTC is now mulling software development. A plenty of app stores have opened up after the itunes, providing a platform to promote their products and the incentive to build apps. Apple already has 3lakh+ apps in its store, while google’s store is trying to fast catching up the trend. This exactly how the computer market should have developed, instead, we saw only three OS (Apples, MS and linux) and two hardware architectures (PC and Mac). No prizes for guessing MS on PC ruled the market. Mobile software market has the much-needed competition which will help developers and customers alike.

What this means for businesses? Well, to start with, healthy competition will be benefit price conscious customers. Improved features will increase productivity. And moreover, companies it the market need to realize that it is becoming increasingly easy for schoolers and college dropouts to eat into their market share.

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