Open standards 'are the mobile future'

The demand for interoperability means manufacturers and operators must be more open, argues Intellisync

Market forces will lead to the widespread adoption of open standards for mobile devices, Intellisync said on Tuesday.

Intellisync, which sells messaging and synchronisation software to mobile manufacturers, said that business users and consumers will increasingly demand interoperability between their different mobile devices.

Intellisync also argued that moving to open standards would have direct financial benefits for users: "Software has to work with all carriers. People will want any application to work on any device on any network," said Rip Gerber, Intellisync's chief marketing officer, speaking in London on Tuesday. "Open standards will drive down costs. As the market matures, the technology will have to open up."

Intellisync believe that eventually this will lead to open source software being widely used on mobile handsets and providers' servers.

"The software, or at least the API will eventually become open source. In an open system, what will drive the market is user experience. People will say 'I love this device' and it will be software that provides this experience," said Gerber.

Without full interoperability between mobile devices, some users are forced to use multiple SIM cards or even several different mobile devices. But Mike Short, vice-president of research and development at O2, argued that some users like this approach because it helps them to manage their mobile data.

"The idea of SIM swaps is an issue, but some people like the idea of being able to partition their lives, to manage their lives better. I know one businessman who has five mobile phones. He says four are for his clients, and one is for his wife. Some people just find it easier to work with different keys to the door." said Short. "Many decisions are device driven, and the network [carrier] may not be considered.

"Personal experience is the key in this industry — if people have a good experience with a certain device or carrier, they will stay with that device or carrier."

"That's why people like their own ringtones, and their own wallpaper and screensavers on their PCs. Some see it as an antidote to globalisation," Short argued.