Incompatible mobile phone software is threatening to slow the growth of the mobile Internet. Most mobile phone networks use proprietary software that only works on one type of device or with one carrier. The competition is similar to what happened in the early stages of the personal computer industry. To counter this, Alcatel-Lucent recently launched an initiative to connect network operators with software developers to develop mobile applications that work with multiple networks and operating systems. More than 50 operators have expressed interest in the program and universal applications are in development.
Meanwhile, China Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Vodafone, and SoftBank Mobile of Japan have established the Joint Innovation Lab (JIL) to develop applications for handsets on their networks. JIL has published a specification for a mobile "widget," a simple type of phone application that displays live updates of limited data, like the current temperature. LG, Samsung, Research in Motion, and Sharp are all making phones using JIL's widget format.
The Wholesale Applications Community is another effort to develop common standards for mobile phones. The group has the backing of 20 operators, including AT&T, Sprint Nextel, Orange, Deutsche Telekom, America Movil, NTT Docomo of Japan and Bharti Airtel of India.
From The New York Times
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