Monday, March 12, 2007

Mobile operating systems and fashion

Yesterday, the New York Times published an article about mobile operating systems. They called me and asked what I thought about the topic and, as usual, captured my thoughts in just one sentence ;-) However, I believe the synthesis is right: I do not believe in operating systems convergence in mobile. At least, not in the short term.

This is the same story that I heard many times about convergence. It is not happening in hardware, I do not see why it should happen in operating systems. Actually, the more devices are there to solve specific needs (or segments) the more specialized operating systems will show up.

Granted, a convergence in mobile operating systems is needed and I would be happy to see it. Carriers are obviously pushing for it, but the market is going somewhere else. The iPhone is yet-another platform, albeit closed for now (but I am ready to bet they will open it sooner or later). Then there are a bunch of different Mobile Linux implementations to be added to the list, like OpenMoko. Once the Google phone will be out, it is going to make things even more complex.

The reason, once again, is simple: the mobile market follows the fashion industry. You wear a phone. It is not a techie thingy, although we want it to be. It is fashion. You have to change it every year because it looks old and you look no-cool with it...

Think about it, the Italians are all over the mobile industry. You have the cool gold RAZR Dolce e Gabbana. And the LG Prada. Now they launched the Gucci phone. Have you ever seen convergence in Italian clothing? I don't think so... You thing you caught up with it and it is changing again... Who cares about the operating system? We'll wear a different one next year. It will match the color of your shoes.