Executives from Mozilla, Ubuntu and Jolla took to the stage to discuss the potential for innovation in the mobile platform market, against the backdrop of a market that is currently dominated by giants Apple and Google.
Kicking off the Mobile World Live Keynote tonight, Mitchell Baker, chair of Mozilla Foundation, highlighted the need for “meaningful innovation”, which she suggests has three characteristics in the mobile market.
“First, it should create a unified platform. Meaningful innovation today is not creating more separate software stacks. Second, meaningful innovation should create a level playing field. We should be maximising opportunity for competition, innovation, choice, across the layers of the ecosystem,” she said.
“And third, meaningful innovation needs a new level of collaboration, for how developers, operators, handset manufacturers and software providers interact with consumers to provide maximum value”, Baker added.
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, said: “The sterility of the software landscape and the challenges facing the hardware manufacturers are deeply interlinked. It is very difficult to differentiate if everyone effectively has the same software, and it’s really difficult to innovate if that innovation has to fit into the framework specified by players that drive that at their own pace.”
“We feel that the computing capability of modern mobile devices has way exceeded the needs of Android. But it’s very difficult to justify to consumers that they should buy some of those incredible devices, because you can have a perfectly good Android experience with a mediocre device”, he continued.
Marc Dillon, CEO of Jolla, noted that while Firefox OS, Ubuntu and Jolla’s Sailfish platform are in many ways in competition, the companies all have a similar aim – even if their methods are different.
“If we are in competition, then we’ve all already won, because it’s about creating diversity from the existing walled garden and the existing couple of ecosystems… Diversity is the thing that creates innovation,” he said.
“We need to provide choice, people can only buy what is offered to them, and at the moment we are kind of stuck,” Dillion noted.