Sunday, July 06, 2008

the mobile soup

There's some great commentary on the mex blog about the state of operator and manufacturer consumer stances. You can read it here

My take on this is that its all just part of the increasingly rapid shift in roles that is inevitable when a market is structured ineffectively. The whole web, mobile and other convergence is picking up pace. Operators and manufacturers have held all the cards for years and have failed spectacularly to produce any real consumer services.

Of course there are regional differences, Operators in Japan have taken full advantage of their position and turned themselves into real service facilitators, so the consumer is happy - they don't buy just a handset they buy a specific service laden handset targeted at all their needs. In Europe and the US service standards are so low that operators have to rely upon manufacturer provided USPs to create some kind of crap marketing campaign. It can only become increasingly easy for manufacturers and software service providers to take over.

Recently we've seen 02 and Orange suddenly become broadband and portal providers. This is really reminicent of the early internet days where models like MSN, AOL, Lycos etc were the norm. This is almost like a last desperate act of saying look we really are service providers honest, look we do email, news, broadband,etc. I'd be really suprised if any of them pull this off in the longrun. Even if they do, I think they miss the point - all anyone ever wanted was to have great services on mobile phones.

So I understand its a strategic move to counter the invasion of the internet services provided by the Googles and Yahoos, and you can't just have a mobile presence thats true. But that's just delaying the inevitable, they cannot compete at this level and their history proves that. The real battle will be between the handset manufacturers and the internet giants. We've already seen Nokia in particular start to move into multiplatform software, creating the potential to compete with the likes of Google, Apple, etc.

I think the interesting move will be when an operator makes the move to being just a facilitator and helps consumers get the services they want. That's when we'll see some really great things happening on mobile - ultimately the consumer doesn't care who dominates as long as the end result is good, something we are still far from with mobile. When will Google buy a controlling stake in an operator I wonder? :)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Opera Mobile and Flash

Seems like Opera for mobile is now actually integrating some form of Flash within the browser. There was some tentative announcement back at the MWC that it would support Flash Lite 3, I guess this is the first step.

I think what Opera do is just hook into whatever 'player' is present on the device, so they implement a standard api. However, that can only really lead to a pretty fragmented implementation. Also not sure why its even worth implementing Flash Lite 2.1, flash player 7 is understandable for the video.

My first test with a Nokia N95 8Gb crashed the browser when it tried to access Flash content, but to be fair that has Flash Lite 3 which isn't listed in the tech spec- interesting to see if it works on any Flash video content (Flash 7 is listed as supported - I pressume for windows mobile).

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