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May 24th 2011 9:36 pm

Lessons that need to be learned from the mobile devices market

Looking around at how the smartphone & mobile market has been developing over the last few years, i think there are a few things Palm/HP (hereafter referred to as Palm) need to learn from and pay attention to.

1. Carrier Involvement
Apart from some basic configuration (eg. radio and proxy settings, carrier service numbers in the address book) and maybe carrier specific bundled apps (ick..), carriers should be kept away from any other customisation on the device.
All the carriers should do is provide the telephony and data services for the device. Don't ask carriers to advertise your phone. Don't ask carriers to push your OTA updates. Don't plaster the device with their logos.
Do all that stuff yourself - you'll probably do a better job, and your end users will appreciate it a lot more.

I know this is probably going to cool things down on the carrier front in some ways (we all know they love to meddle), but on the other hand, it also takes away a lot of their workload, and leads to a better experience for end users.

2. Software OTA Updates
The way things generally are out there, carriers push out updates over the air using the phone's data connection. It's good that our webOS devices are software updatable via download, but why do we need the carriers to send these updates to us?
Make this fully independent of carriers. Take it out of their hands, and don't let them be involved. They simply provide the pipes between the end user and the Palm servers, where the updates should be pushed from.
One update package for each phone, not one package per carrier per phone variant.
Simplifying this should reduce overheads and costs, and allow users to download their updates over wifi or even push over USB from their computers.

3. Universal Devices
Rather than having many little variants of all the different handset models and devices, try to only be running one single model of each device - with the only variable being storage space.
Run the exact same software and drivers on each, again reducing overheads and increasing efficiency. What would this mean? Well, each device should have radios that support multiple bands and standards - the Pre 3 is a great first step, but lets go further. I'm worried by reports that we'll have 3-4 different versions of the Touchpad just because of different radios and frequency bands.

4. Customers are End Users
Many android manufacturers make this mistake...
When you manufacture and release a device to market, your customers are your END USERS.
Far far far too many companies think of their customers as being retailers and carriers. And thats how we end users get shafted.

I'm sure I could think of more, but these are the big issues i have bouncing around in my head just now.

Keen to hear what others think.

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