Network Backlash

By Matthew Broersma  |  Posted 2004-04-26 Print this article Print

Industry observers have been expecting a backlash from network operators against the power of software and hardware makers. The predictions seemed to have been justified with last weeks reports of the formation of a group including Vodafone Group Plc, mmO2 Plc, Orange PCS, Telefónica Móviles SA, Telecom Italia Mobile SpA and T-Mobile, though the companies denied that their alliance is a pressure group. But some analysts said such an alliance could succeed, if properly organized. "A grouping of major operators around a set of well-defined handset specifications could tip this balance," Datamonitor said in a bulletin last week. "It could also provide considerable economies of scale when purchasing handsets that could be passed on to end users."
In a study earlier this year, ABI projected that Symbian would be trailed by Microsoft and Linux in four years time. Windows CEs success will ride mainly on its appeal to large businesses that want smart phones to act as an extension of the PC, the firm said. Windows CE is largely the same in functionality, look and feel regardless of the handset manufacturer, which should appeal to CIOs.
Linux will be the third-biggest choice, according to the research, appealing to mobile-phone makers such as Motorola Corp. that are uncomfortable with the dominance of either Microsoft or Nokia. The software is highly customizable and inexpensive but is not as standardized as the Symbian OS, the report said, arguing that "fragmentation of Linux will continue to stagnate its growth." eWEEK columnist Guy Kewney says Linux presents a real threat to the Symbian OS. Click here to read more. Java has helped to make simple programs portable among non-smart-phone handsets, with more than 100 million Java 2 Mobile Edition (J2ME)-enabled handsets shipped in 2003, according to ABIs figures, but the middleware "remains too fragmented to be mass-deployed as a standard middleware among all devices." Some smart-phone makers are running the Java application platform on top of the Linux OS. Click here to read more. Qualcomm Inc. has signed up 20 network operators to deploy its Java alternative, called BREW, but so far no GSM network has come on board. Qualcomm said last week that it is increasing its efforts to get GSM application developers on board, increasing the number of staff in its European offices and trialing BREW with unnamed GSM network operators. Check out eWEEKs Mobile & Wireless Center at for the latest news, reviews and analysis. Be sure to add our mobile and wireless news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page:  


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