Mobile Meets Internet in 2008

December 28, 2007

David Needle

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The devil, as always, is in the details. Just how easy it will be for developers and third parties to get new applications on these open networks remains to be seen, but it's clear mobile users will have far more options in the coming year.

The OHA is based on Google's Android platform, which includes an integrated software stack of operating system, middleware, user interface and applications. Android's software development kit (SDK) is available under "one of the most progressive, developer-friendly open source licenses, which gives mobile operators and device manufacturers significant freedom and flexibility to design products," according to the OHA.

We also won't have to wait too long into the year to see an SDK for the iPhone, potentially bringing a new wave of innovative applications to the hot-selling device. The announcement that an SDK would be coming in February was a change in direction by Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Apple had earlier expressed concern about making the iPhone too open, citing security reasons. In announcing the change, Jobs said that Apple planned to take a few more months to get the security angle covered, since the iPhone is "a highly visible target."

Mobile phone leader Nokia has its own open strategy. Look for the company to expand it Ovi set of Internet Services during the coming year. Ovi, which means "door" in Finnish, is Nokia's plan to offer mobile consumers an easy way to access social networks and more of Nokia's services.

Ovi initially includes the company's Nokia Music Store, N-Gage gaming service and Nokia Maps. Nokia plans to add more features and services within the first half of 2008.

Social networks find their enterprise niche

Social networks like Facebook and MySpace enjoyed a rapid rise in consumer adoption during the past year. Again, openness made the headlines, with Facebook opening its platform to developers, followed this month by MySpace's similar initiative.

Developers, in turn, are busy creating new applications for the sites' millions of users. But consumer enthusiasm for social networks has lapped over into the enterprise, leaving IT and management to try and scratch out new rules and regulations.

Startups and established players like IBM are scrambling to offer enterprise-friendly social network tools and solutions. Companies such as Worklight are focused on securing the new breed of Web 2.0 applications, like Facebook, which employees increasingly are bringing into the corporate network.

"Our whole philosophy is that what people use at home, they want to use at work -- so why make them use something else?" Worklight marketing executive David Levanda told InternetNews.com.

But enterprises willing to consider bringing in more Web 2.0 apps will also have plenty of alternatives that may be more suited to their needs than what employees play with in their free time.

Products like Socialtext and Suite Two are examples of Web 2.0 applications built from the ground up with the enterprise customer in mind.

Expect the year ahead to introduce us to plenty of other alternatives to the many already out there. And let's just hope things turn out all right, because even time travel isn't looking like it will be able to save anything -- the gossip rags say "Journeyman" (sigh) has been canceled.

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