Little known by the general public, the ‘what’ most consumers get to choose from, is set by what happens in the interconference standards meetings and consortium trade groups. For example the Symbian Foundation vs Open Handset Alliance. –
The Symbian Foundation is limbering up to face the Open Handset Alliance next week, announcing a raft of new members to take on the Android threat, while LiMo and Access Linux lurk nearby looking for scraps.
Realising that the battle of operating systems is all about applications, Symbian has announced a load of new members including MySpace, Bank of America, and Omron Software – though most of the new members have something to gain for their $1,500 membership fee and there’s a remarkable degree of infidelity with companies betting each way.
Qualcomm, for example, is firmly in both camps. They don’t care if devices run Symbian or Android as long as it’s not desktop Windows, so they can sell their ARM-based Snapdragon processor into devices including laptots*. Omron Software backs both camps on the basis that membership isn’t expensive and provides a route to influence.
These industry trade groups are as critical as the individual players in them. The big stick is economy of scale is at stake. No single MFR today would want to pony up the R&D for an effort like Symbian OS. Much better a shared platform that they only bolt on UI and other components to.
The critical issue in this coming battle is for the software providers. Most are small firms with shallow pockets. So they will have to pick one of the other of these two platforms. Then hope that they made the right choice.
With Verizon’s announcement to join the LiMo group we have a battle royal starting to develop between them and Android. Ironically LiMo is the incumbent if you figure longevity. Now I could sit down and run off the TBar analysis but MobileCrunch has already done such a nice job why waste their thunder?