Mobile Market Wrap-up for July 17, 2009

Due to holiday and vacation schedules, we were unable to get out our weekly mobile market wrap-up the past two weeks.  We’re back now and ready to discuss anything mobile.

In the past wrap-up posts, I mentioned that the government initiated an antirust investigation against the wireless carriers with respect to handset exclusivity deals.  This week, Verizon Wireless sent a letter to the investigators stating that they will limit any handset exclusivity deals to six months so that smaller wireless carriers can stay competitive.  So far none of the other carriers have come out publicly with a statement, so I’m really anxiously awaiting what AT&T has to say.

I know I’m stating the obvious, but the app store phenomenon still continues strong.  Apple announced that they have reached 1.5 billion downloads this week.  In addition, Palm just released their Mojo application software development kit (SDK) for their webOS operating system used on the Palm Pre.  This should drive the growth of their app store.  Not to be left out in the dark, Microsoft announced they will begin reviewing and certifying 3rd party apps for its Windows Marketplace for Mobile on July 27.  Whew… it’s hard to keep up with all these app stores… bandwagon anyone?

Finally for an “original” opinion, vision, and plan, Google released an article earlier this week discussing the popularity of the app stores and their position as they ready to go head-to-head with the handset giants.  Google believes that the web browser will be the dominant mobile platform, which is similar to the trend we’re seeing on the desktop today.  In one of my previous posts, I discuss how downloadable apps are technology regression and only popular because of massive marketing campaigns from the handset manufacturers and carriers.  Google seems to have a similar opinion as Aumnia and stated that developers might be wasting time trying to port their application to all the mobile platforms in the market.  Now this is true technology and market progression!

To help their cause, Google also announced in their recent earnings call that there will be 18-20 Android-powered phones by the year endLet the battle begin!  Who do you think has the right approach?  Well, if we look at the desktop model, there is clear separation of hardware providers and software providers.  Why should the mobile phone be any different since it is essentially a miniature PC?  The successful hardware vendors never restricted what software/applications could be loaded on their systems.  If you believe that, then you have to believe that Google has the right approach by focusing on cloud-based applications and promoting cross-platform usage.

On the flip side, Apple continues down a very slippery slope.  This week Apple shut out the Palm Pre from syncing with the latest version of iTunes.  This is very disconcerting as a general message from Apple to the overall industry and their end users.  Are they a hardware vendor?  Are they a software/application provider?  What do they want to be?  It’s really hard to watch since I think Apple is making the same mistakes they made in the 90’s by closing off their platform.

As always, here are a few other news, stories, or opinions I found interesting this week:

Let us know what mobile topics are on your mind by leaving a comment below.