What would you like to ask the mobile OS companies at CTIA?

I've been invited to moderate a panel on mobile operating systems at the CTIA conference this April. No doubt this will be the highlight of the entire conference ;-) , so make your travel reservations early.

Participants tentatively will include Symbian, Microsoft, Access, RIM, and several others.

Here's the session description:

Operating Systems, User Interfaces and Browsers: Where is the Technology Going?

Mobile phones are plagued with interoperability issues, making it difficult for applications to run properly on all handsets, hurting both consumers—who find their handset incapable of running the desired application—and applications developers—who have to develop multiple versions of the same application. What are the pros and cons of open versus closed handheld operating systems? This panel will address the likely outcome of the openness rage should it move to the handset, including the long-term effects of this possible technology shift.

Should be a fun conversation.

The panel will consist of brief presentations followed by Q&A, so I wanted to give you an opportunity to participate. If you'll be at CTIA, please come by the panel on April 2 at 2:30. If you won't be there, let me know what questions you'd like to see asked. Just post a comment below, and I'll see what I can do. I'll also post a report after the session.

(By the way, if you'll be at CTIA and want to chat, drop me a note at the address here.)


Anonymous said...

I would like to know how big the smartphone software market is right now. There are lots of numbers on devices being sold, but nothing at all on software sales. Or, to put it more bluntly, where are the smartphone equivalents of Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and all the other people that were rich after 200 million PC's were sold.

Anonymous said...

Why don't they just give me a command line or a packet manager and let me decide by myself which application to install on my smartphone?

Anonymous said...

Could you ask them what will be the impact of mobile internet and associated technologies on Open OS? How much "native development" support will still be needed?
I see Open OS as a 2 fold thing :
-The openess drives innovation and allows manufacturers to differentiate devices before production. There you'd see a lot of native stuff.
- Then towards the consumer, it's supposed to give access to tons of apps. I think that in the future, that side of the coin will be mainly using web technologies and reducing the importance of the OS

Anonymous said...

Maybe you don't need to wait for CTIA to talk about this one: what do you think about Google backing out of the wireless spectrum auction?

Elia said...

There is a second layer of device incompatibility as more carriers and OS vendors require certification for software to be installed. I would love to know their thoughts on this as well.

Anonymous said...

What do OS vendors think of the application layers that are going to come out onto the market? Nokia purchased Trolltech to create an application layer across S40, S60 and Maemo. Microsoft has the .Net compact framework which hasn't been ported to other platforms, but Silverlight will be. Adobe is trying to push Flash Lite onto everything. J2ME is the laughing stock of our industry.

What I'm basically trying to say is, is the application layer more important than the OS layer?

Anonymous said...

JavaScript and AJAX have transformed the desktop Web apps. I think we all agreed the same is going to happen to Mobile Web. Could you get them to discuss their roadmaps to roll out JavaScript APIs, which enables developers to get access to PIM (such as contact, calendar etc.) and device services (such as location) on the handsets? No need to release APIs to add or update, just API to get data. This is not difficult to do. Blackberry already has location APIs working for their GPS phones. If we constraint to only GET APIs, there isn’t any security or privacy issue.

niko said...

Are US carriers helping or blocking the development of mobile OSs?
How are the relations between developers and carriers?

Anonymous said...

How does openess of an OS goes together with e.g. regulation requirements on protecting the wireless stack?

Gábor Török said...

Symbian enables developers coming from other environments to easily port their programs to their platforms (Python, Ruby, C, .NET, Flash, etc.). What do other mobile OS vendors do to attract developers from "the other side"?

We have seen Symbian introducing a powerful security system, called Platform Security, very similar to Java ME permission-based authorization system. I wouldn't say it is popular among developers, but mostly is among operators. What are the other mobile OS vendors planning to do in this area, are they planning to introduce similar mechanism at all?

I would also be interested in hearing the opinions of these companies about Java as a programming language and environment that can be used on ALL platforms. Do they support the wide-spread use of it (M$ surely does not), what do they think could help in de-fragmenting Java ME development, etc.? Worth noting that Java ME gets again more and more attention since new mobile OS vendors (Apple and Google - latter is sort of) are publishing their SDKs enabling developers to do Java programming.

Unknown said...

The description reminds me an Android & iPhone Conference. Where are Eric Schmidt's and Steve Jobs' keynotes? - http://www.ctiawireless.com/info/keynote_info.cfm

What about the panel - the title of the recent MWC's panel - "It's the User Experience, Stupid" - http://www.mobileworldcongress.com/agenda-tues.htm - says it all about the attitude to developers and users.

My opinion is here - http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/techbeat/archives/2008/02/google_debuts_a.html

No questions in this relation. Let's just wait for Google's and Apple's insights. I believe they are not stupid because they have no choice - "It's the User Experience" and their profits.

Michael Mace said...

Outstanding comments, gang. Thanks very much, and please keep it up. I'll see what I can do to work these into the program.

Comments on a couple of things...

Jonathan wrote:

>>it's supposed to give access to tons of apps. I think that in the future, that side of the coin will be mainly using web technologies and reducing the importance of the OS

Yeah, that one has been weighing on me heavily. What's the role of native apps in a world where more and more development is moving toward light clients?

Anonymous wrote:

>>What do you think about Google backing out of the wireless spectrum auction?

Is that confirmed? All I had seen were rumors.

If it's true, I'm disappointed but not too surprised. It would be good to have more competition in the carrier space, but it was always hard for me to picture Google spending that much on plumbing.

Stefan wrote:

>>Is the application layer more important than the OS layer?

Yeah. Good one.

Michael wrote:

>>Where are Eric Schmidt's and Steve Jobs' keynotes?

I have no idea how CTIA picks its speakers. I don't even get input into who the panelists are (although I like the preliminary lineup for my session).

Antoine said...

I'd like to know what carriers and manufacturers alike think about items such as Jaiku's Mobile application which integrates with S60 contacts, and Yahoo's oneConnect application which are pushing the contacts+presence integration.

I can see manufacturers liking this but with out a common address book protocol, and an opening on the side of carriers to share this info without a subscription and across networks, aren't they all just missing the point of the most usable social network all users have?

Anonymous said...

If the topic is on user interface and operating systems, I would want to know why Google and Apple are not part of the panel - they are the two companies doing the most interesting and innovative work in the mobile space right now.

Since Google and Apple will not be there - I'd like you to get the thoughts from the other panelists on what Google and Apple have done right, and done wrong.

It should be a fascinating conversations, I wish I could be there.

previouslysilentOld said...

My question is this: does the OS actually matter? If the OS provides a stable platform, should the 3rd party developers care what the OS is and why? Does it simply come down to the potential market and the royalty fees on any development toolkits?