According to an article in ComputerWorld, despite interest in what could become a lucrative industry, Internet companies face a number of roadblocks to delivering applications and services to mobile phone users, and they made their complaints known during the Symbian Smartphone Show in London.
It's certainly not as simply as just putting up web sites to deliver services such as photo, video sharing or internet calling. They have to work with devices with less memory, slower network connection, different breed of browsers, different Java versions, different operating systems, and even different version of the same OS.
Cognima Ltd. offers an application called ShoZu that automatically uploads camera phone photos to Flickr. "The most expensive thing I do is support dozens of handset flavors," said Andy Tiller, the chief technology officer at Cognima.
"It's a challenging ecosystem," said Alan Eustace, senior vice president of engineering and research for Google Inc., speaking at the conference last week. Google, for example, has to work with a confusing array of partners in order to get services out to mobile users, he said. GoogleÃ‚Â announced earlier this year that Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB phone users could easily upload photos to Blogger blogs. But in order to allow all phone users that similar ease, Google will have to work with many different handset and software vendors, Eustace said.
Once developers build their applications for the many different platforms, they face another hurdle: the operators. "Operators control access, the delivery of service and distribution," said Eric Lagier, head of mobile development at Skype Ltd. "It's a very closed ecosystem." Companies like Skype, which could compete with the operators, may meet exceptional challenges because operators can and sometimes do bar their customers from using such services. We certainly have seen T-Mobile UK bans Skype to be used on their data plan earlier this year.
Hopefully, the environment is going to get better as people start to tackle the technical and political issues around delivering contents to mobile device users. Consolidating mobile platform is likely the first step to ease the pain for content delivery. Mobile operators will also need to recognize the fact there are many innovative ways in delivering the same content, features and functionality. Everyone will be benefited when this industry continues to foster and reach maturity.