WAC for Wholesale Application Community, the last minute initiative from the GSMA at MWC, is trying to keep the operators in the application race, i.e. the service race as more and more service are delivered through application (see previous posts). It is a matter of survival for operators if they want a piece of the service pie in the future.
At MWC sessions, Operators were complaining about the device OS fragmentation, forgetting that they are at the ones who manage this fragmentation inside their device portfolio to avoid to be dependent from a manufacturer. But with the tremendous success of Apple and RIM, the strong service ambitions of Nokia they all feel threatened of being transformed into dumb pipe business in the mid term and … they are right. Vodafone’s CEO cleared stated it’s worries with Google advertisement monopoly. The fear is a great self motivator for change for operator behemoth.
The Wholesale Application Community initiative shows the right way: developers will never develop an application for a specific network operator using its proprietary APIs. Operators’ APIs need to be standardized and open like the SMS premium gateways operator have managed to launch few years ago. The Canadian OneAPI is clearly the programme to watch even if it’s late as the GSMA guys have been not very reactive.
Nevertheless one technology may blow away the dark clouds over the operators, it’s HTML5. HTML5 enables flash like website without … flash. Developers will be able to produce website with animation, drag-and-drop and media playback, etc. without the help of any plug-in in the browser. HTML5 will make applications platform independent and contribute to the de-fragmentation of the application market.
That’s for the promises, but each technology has a flip side or at least some limitations, and HTML5 ones are still to be discovered.