How Many Mobile Platforms?

mobileinternettrends.gifThere’s an interesting article at MobileInternetTrends reporting on Arun Sarin’s challenge to the mobile industry to whittle down the number of operating systems currently supported for mobile phones.

"We have 30 or 40 operating systems right now, if we had three or five operating systems, then that would be a good thing."

While I can see the benefits of doing this, I currently can’t see any market forces that might cause this to happen. In fact, the opposite is currently happening. This is because with over a billion phones being sold every year, there’s incentive and room for newcomers.

Instead, I think it’s more likely and possible to have a common ‘runtime’ or platform that sits on top of differentiated phones/operating systems. Some might say it’s already there with the web – but I think current (and near future) implementations are a very long way off what’s required.

Arun talked about having three or five operating systems. I think in the long term, it’s more realistic to wish for three or five runtimes rather than three or five operating systems.