Google, Microsoft and RIM outline mobile strategy

By Dawinderpal Sahota
01 Mar 2011 View Comments
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Three of the most prominent players in the smartphone space outlined their intentions for the UK market today at the Westminster eForum Smartphones, Tablets and Apps event.

Google said it has made a decision to become a "mobile first" company, prioritising its work in the mobile space over anything the company develops for the desktop environment, according to Ian Carrington, Google's mobile advertising sales director for north and central Europe.

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"People have an affinity with their mobile phones. They carry them everywhere they go. Research shows most people are usually not less than two metres away from their mobile phone at any point in time," he said.

"We see that the opportunity to connect people to the internet wherever they are."

The demand Google is currently seeing for its search engine through mobile phones is eight or nine times as high as it was during the early stages of desktop search in the mid-1990s, he said.

He added that while apps are important, business should not forget about the mobile web, as that will remain equally important to smartphone apps when HTML 5 content is introduced.

RIM's UK managing director, Stephen Bates, said that the company has put a strong focus on near field communication (NFC) and will be incorporating the technology in almost all of its future devices.

"NFC is going to open up new technologies in the mobile environment and we are going to deploy NFC in virtually all our devices. We will build ecosystems to exploit this technology," he said.

He added that the firm's new BlackBerry PlayBook – the company's first tablet PC due for launch this year – will offer the most complete web experience by running the full desktop versions of web sites, including Flash.

"People want to access the web in a format like the desktop so we support Flash and HTML ,which makes the PlayBook the first tablet really enabled for a pure web experience as nothing is compressed or re-rendered," he said.

Microsoft's managing director and vice-president, consumer and online UK, Ashley Highfield, described his firm as the "plucky underdog" in the mobile environment.

"Now that we've got our partnership with Nokia, we can join the big boys," he said.

Microsoft's plans in the smartphone market do not revolve around apps, but instead on integrating data and services together in Windows Phone 7 handsets.

"We're taking a different approach to smartphones than the sea of apps that you're used to seeing. We're taking a more integrated approach."

He gave the example of People Hub – Microsoft's alternative to an address book – which migrates and stores contact details from all of your work and email accounts, phone numbers and social networking sites, creating a hub for contact details. Windows Phone 7 has a similar tool for photos.


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