Challenges to innovation in the mobile market
Despite valiant efforts over the years, phone makers are still taking 12 to 16 months to build "first-of-a-kind" phones based on new chip sets, peripheral devices and software. The following are four challenges that mobile vendors face when delivering innovation into their products:
Challenge No. 1: Architecture entropy
Today's mobile phone architectures are very complex, requiring simplification and better alignment of technical and business architecture. This complexity manifests itself when adding new services to a precertified platform. This often results in increased cost for integration and testing, as well as unpredictable behavior. Architectural entropy must be reduced to truly reap the benefits of the open-software platform or it can relegate back to being a closed consumer device.
Challenge No. 2: Fragmented product platform
Different market segments require different hardware and software features to be delivered. As a result, most vendors have adopted a multiplatform approach across their product portfolios. Because of this highly fragmented space, innovative ideas require a steep investment-often demanding multiple platform support in order to gain maximum market penetration. The entire mobile ecosystem is in great need of a simple and consistent way of adding value and innovation without having to port it to each of the unique platforms in the market.
Challenge No. 3: Tight coupling of hardware and software
Contrary to the mature PC market (where resources are abundant), the constrained mobile devices often require tight coupling of hardware and software to repeatedly produce predictable performance. As a result, any major changes in hardware can significantly affect the current behavior of the software. We need to decouple the hardware and software vendors so that they can independently innovate and, hopefully, aggregate these innovations into compelling products while maintaining predictable behavior.
Challenge No. 4: Protecting intellectual property rights and product differentiation
The current strong interest in open source for mobile devices is stimulating a great amount of innovation at the hardware and system software level. Still, chip set and OEM vendors remain sensitive about protecting their intellectual property rights and their key products' unique selling points. Isolation of these business-critical assets from the open-source licensing becomes a key business decision in preserving the value and ROI for their innovation efforts.