Mobile OS Wars Revisited: Google & Android Are Winning…for Now

Slalom Consultant Jeff Barber

Jeff Barber is a Seattle-based leader in Slalom Consulting’s mobility solutions practice. He's a mobile technology expert with deep experience helping clients “operationalize” mobile technologies.

In early 2010, I wrote a three-article series of blogs about the mobile operating system (OS) wars. At the time, I recommended that businesses “should consider developing on Android in 2010 to prepare for the market realization of Google’s broad-based mobile cloud strategy” and I predicted “Google is the only player in the mobile space to provide this kind of comprehensive cloud computing and media distribution platform for mobile and the web. In my opinion, this is why Google will ultimately win the mobile OS wars.”

Two years later, smartphones running Android comprise approximately 50% of the global market, and every other major mobile OS is trending flat or down. Apple has lost their visionary leader and recently launched iCloud in an attempt to catch up with Google. Symbian, historically the largest deployed mobile OS in the world, is being replaced by Windows Phone OS, an impressive late market entry by Microsoft to integrate their cloud computing, desktop, gaming, and web assets with mobile. Read more of this post

Should I invest in HTML5 or native mobile apps? Yes.

Slalom Consultant Jeff Barber

Jeff Barber is a Seattle-based leader in Slalom Consulting’s mobility solutions practice. He’s a mobile technology expert with deep experience helping clients “operationalize” mobile technologies.

HTML5 is another of the hot topics in mobile technology these days. Have you considered making HTML5 an integral a part of your mobile strategy? Have you assessed how HTML5 can complement your current native application efforts?

Proponents tout HTML5 as the holy grail of mobile applications. It’s the “build once, deploy everywhere” solution to mobile applications. Escape the walled garden and revenue sharing imposed by Apple!

Detractors are quick to cite the pre-standard status of HTML5. You cannot tap into the full range of device capabilities. Native applications built for iOS, Android, Blackberry, and others are the only true mobile applications. Read more of this post

Mobile Payments: Market Disruption in the Making? Or Flavor of the Month?

Slalom Consultant Jeff Barber

Jeff Barber is a Seattle-based leader in Slalom Consulting’s mobility solutions practice. He's a mobile technology expert with deep experience helping clients “operationalize” mobile technologies.

The topic of mobile payments is trending in the blogosphere. Every day you can read new announcements about the latest partnership, acquisition, or technology innovation that promises to revolutionize how consumers buy and how businesses collect money. How do you discern the real, emerging trends amidst the show and hype of the mobile media’s latest darling?

If you study the evolution of mobile payments from a global perspective, I believe you will see that:

  1. The market is transitioning into a disruptive technology cycle;
  2. The global consumer will lead the way in this new cycle; and
  3. A wake-up call is coming to traditional businesses.

Smartphone and tablet adoption will drive the U.S. market. The emerging market consumer will drive the international markets.

Market disruption

The stage is set for a classic disruptive technology cycle, as mobile technology innovation, social media, and emerging economic forces converge to create a perfect storm of global consumer behavior changes that favor mobile devices over traditional payment methods.

The biggest players in finance, e-commerce, and retail see the writing on the wall. Let the partnerships and acquisitions begin. Here’s a partial list of the 21st-century commerce leaders who have announced their forays into the mobile payments arena (visit me on Twitter for the stories): Read more of this post

Tablets, Tablets Everywhere: Enterprise Adoption and Applications

Slalom Consultant Jeff Barber

Jeff Barber is a Seattle-based leader in Slalom Consulting’s mobility solutions practice. He's a mobile technology expert with deep experience helping clients “operationalize” mobile technologies.

Recently published statistics indicate that tablet adoption is taking off. Here are a few examples.

The Consumerization of IT

These statistics reflect a growing trend known as the consumerization of IT. According to ComputerWorld, “Gartner estimates that 69.8 million media tablets will be shipped in 2011, and analysts and forward-thinking tech managers say it’s time for IT to do more than simply take note of that surge.”

This trend has been challenging companies to Read more of this post

In A Universe of Connected Devices, The Three-Screen Dream is Finally a Reality

Slalom Consultant Jeff Barber

Jeff Barber is a Seattle-based leader in Slalom Consulting’s mobility solutions practice. He's a mobile technology expert with deep experience helping clients “operationalize” mobile technologies.

In the late 1990’s my clients and I talked at length about the “three-screen” dream—the envisioned ability of telecom carriers to deliver voice, data, the Web, broadcast television content, and advertising on cell phones, PCs, and TVs.

In 2011 the three-screen dream has been realized. It’s rapidly making its way into your home and businesses all around you, and its role is visibly expanding:

  • In January I had the opportunity to attend CES 2011, where I spent a day walking the main hall to check out what the global major electronics manufacturers are prototyping for release to market in the next several years.
  • In April, I attended the Mobile Breakfast in Seattle, where a panel of industry experts from diverse vantage points in the carrier ecosystem offered their views on the evolution of connected devices.

These two events caused me to re-think my definition of three-screen applications. What I discovered was that the three-screen reality now extends Read more of this post

Mobile OS Wars, Part 3 of 3 – And the winner is…

Slalom Consultant Jeff Barber

Jeff Barber is a Seattle-based leader in Slalom Consulting’s mobility solutions practice. He's a mobile technology expert with deep experience helping clients “operationalize” mobile technologies.

The third and final post of this series will discuss mobile media, the mobile app phenomenon, and the capabilities and direction of the other mobile OS platforms compared to iPhone and Android. I will also offer my opinion of who will win the mobile OS wars and why.

In the fast-moving world of mobile technology, mobile media is nothing new.  What started early in the new century as ringtone mania has evolved from ringtones, wallpapers, and simple games as the only mobile content options to a vast selection of media that includes high quality music, video, games, applications, mobile television, and mobile advertising.

The big four carriers discussed in part 2 of this series have offered branded mobile web and content portals for years:

Note for Slalom readers: Over the last five years, Slalom Consulting teams have played instrumental roles in implementing and improving a number of these products.

Once again, Apple changed the game by Read more of this post

Mobile OS Wars, Part 2 of 3 – Carrier Combat

Slalom Consultant Jeff Barber

Jeff Barber is a Seattle-based leader in Slalom Consulting’s mobility solutions practice. He's a mobile technology expert with deep experience helping clients “operationalize” mobile technologies.

Part two of this series will follow the theme of iPhone vs. Android into the heart of the battleground, where the war is and will be hard-fought by the few left standing, those carriers that survived the last decade plus of Telco and wireless merger mania.

In 2010, the United States wireless voice and data services markets are dominated by four carriers – AT&T Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless – who collectively own an estimated 82.5% of the U.S. market. But let’s take a few steps back and review what has transpired over the last few years to get us here.

All four carriers share a legacy of core product offerings built on Blackberry, Palm, and Windows Mobile platforms with devices manufactured by the usual suspects: LG, Motorola, HTC, Palm, and Samsung (no disrespect intended to the likes of Nokia, Sanyo, Sharp, Sony Ericsson, and others; however, they do not have strong adoption across all U.S. carriers). Except for a rare risk on a new platform that pays off, such as T-Mobile’s success with the Sidekick, the carriers still tend to differentiate by marketing their network and service offering strengths and by negotiating exclusives for specific device models from the usual suspects.

It’s difficult to distill each carrier’s strengths into a single sentence, but for Read more of this post

Mobile OS Wars, Part 1 of 3 – iPhone vs. Android

Slalom Consultant Jeff Barber

Jeff Barber is a Seattle-based leader in Slalom Consulting’s mobility solutions practice. He's a mobile technology expert with deep experience helping clients “operationalize” mobile technologies.

Greg Martin’s post about the state of Android as a development platform offers valuable insights into why the iPhone and iTunes are the leading mobile media distribution platform in the U.S. today. Over three posts, I’d like to distill and update some market research I conducted last year to offer a big picture point of view as to why global companies that employ mobility solutions should consider developing on Android in 2010 (if they haven’t already) to prepare for the market realization of Google’s broad-based mobile cloud (a.k.a. “Web meets phone”) strategy.

A quick Google search on “iPhone vs. Android” will reveal more online articles, blog entries, and investment advisories that you can possibly read, all referencing the raging “war” of the mobile operating systems. If you don’t care to spend the time sifting through Google search results, here are a few pieces to give you a quick overview of the “battleground.”

All this hoopla reminds me of the personal computer OS wars. That war was—and is—as Read more of this post

Recommended Amazon S3 Tools

Slalom Consultant Jeff Barber

Jeff Barber is a Seattle-based leader in Slalom Consulting’s mobility solutions practice. He's a mobile technology expert with deep experience helping clients “operationalize” mobile technologies.

Last year, our team deployed an iPhone mobile video solution for a client using S3 as the storage repository and CloudFront for content delivery. In addition to dozens of H.264 (iPhone standard) videos, the content library included over a hundred image and PDF files. We were working on MacBook Pro laptops but the client was standardized on Windows. I was tasked with finding an S3 tool that the client could use to manage their content library.

Before I reveal my favorite shareware S3 client, I will mention that Greg Martin succeeded in converting me to Panic Transmit. If you work on a Mac, and are willing to shell out $30, it’s a great all-purpose FTP tool that includes S3 support. It’s easy to use and provides those sweet features that converted us all to Mac users. It’s worth the $30 just to be able to edit a filename on S3 without deleting and re-uploading the file (note that renaming a file this way can cause a problem with content delivery if you are using S3 with Amazon CloudFront; if you are using CloudFront, delete and rename the file and update your URL reference to ensure that the correct file instance is copied from S3 to the edge server).

The list of shareware and licensed S3 clients continues to grow. I found these Read more of this post

Getting Started on the Cloud with Amazon Simple Storage Service

Slalom Consultant Jeff Barber

Jeff Barber is a Seattle-based leader in Slalom Consulting’s mobility solutions practice. He's a mobile technology expert with deep experience helping clients “operationalize” mobile technologies.

This is the first of a series of posts about Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS is Amazon.com’s answer to cloud computing and provides a unique and compelling set of service offerings, in my opinion, when compared to offerings by Microsoft, Google and co-location providers.

AWS is not for everyone, but it is especially well suited to e-commerce, SaaS, and digital content storage and delivery applications—no surprise there, given who created it—and there is a growing base of companies who have launched entire businesses and technology solutions that otherwise would have been cost-prohibitive using AWS.

If you’re not familiar with the wonders of AWS, the first service you should know about is Amazon S3. S3 stands for Simple Storage Service. It’s basically a virtual, scalable FTP server in the cloud that uses configurable “buckets” (folders) to store your files. Files within buckets can be programmatically referenced using URLs to launch cloud-based files from websites and applications.

S3 interacts with two complimentary AWS content management Read more of this post

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