Microsoft's Mobile Evolution: OneApp brings smartphone functionality to cheap phones
8/26/2009 by: Chris Barton
What do the iPhones and Blackberries of the world have that your run-of-the-mill mobile phones do not? In a word: apps. In two words: killer apps. In fact, a man was so upset about Apple's decision to not allow GoogleVoice app that he shot and burned his iPhone 3GS.
Now, Microsoft released MS OneApp to bring the premium experience of smartphones to feature phones that are often found in emerging markets. Now your average mobile phone can access such apps as Facebook, Twitter and Windows Live Messenger, vastly enhancing the user experience - with the phone you already have. Is there a catch Microsoft, what's being charged for this software?
First launched in South Africa with Blue Label Telecoms [BLT], OneApp will include in BLT's mibili service for free. Your eyes don't deceive you; consumers in South Africa can download, install and even use mibili for free. Why? What's your motive Microsoft?
According to Amit Mital, corporate vice president of the Unlimited Potential Group and Startup Business Accelerator at Microsoft, "We believe mobile technology plays a pivotal role in addressing people's everyday needs and creating new opportunities for local industry to grow. We are excited to announce our first release of Microsoft OneApp with Blue Label Telecoms. Microsoft OneApp will be able to help people do things they couldn't do before with their feature phone -- anything from paying their bills to helping diagnose their health issues or just staying connected with friends and family" it may be inferred from Mr. Mital's title that Microsoft is looking for potential new markets. It will be interesting to see how they leverage their software dominance into profit… something Microsoft has proven time and time again it knows how to do. By growing businesses in emerging markets, Microsoft will expand its user base. If you can help somebody out while making a profit, you have a win-win situation. Also, bear in mind that out of all companies in the business, it is exactly Microsoft that invested the most in developing countries, bringing computing capabilities and expanding knowledge through Bill Gates agenda.
How is OneApp going to work? Your average feature mobile phone does not possess the processing capabilities of a smartphone. Microsoft thought of that. From its conception, OneApp was designed enable mobile apps to be accessed by feature phones with limited memory and processing capability. OneApp will appear as one application, hence the name, to users. From the press release: "OneApp dynamically launches just the parts of a mobile app that a person wants to use, eliminating additional installation time and the need for a person to store all of the mobile apps on the phone. OneApp includes cloud services that help offload processing and storage from the phone to the Internet, improving overall performance. OneApp uses data networks efficiently to reduce data access charges, saving money for the customer." Mark Levy, joint CEO of Blue Label Telecoms: "With a GPRS-enabled cell phone, consumers can now be part of the app experience, which is taking the world by storm. While this opens up a whole new world of opportunity for any and all users, advertisers and developers, we're particularly excited by the technology's capacity to transform nearly any cell phone into a highly sophisticated, cost-effective and user-friendly transactional device."
Microsoft's OneApp has the potential to destroy the stranglehold of smartphones on mobile apps. Will smartphones be a thing of the past now that OneApp and cloud computing comes into its own?
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