Mobile Usage Turns To Play

Social networking is set to be the foundation of the next generation of smart-phone operating systems.

There’s no denying that the hottest gadget of the last decade has turned out to be the humble mobile phone.    Originally the domain of rich executives or yuppies aiming to impress their peers, the portable telephone has quickly transformed our lives.  With the number of handsets now outnumbering humans, their domination is not set to fade anytime soon.

With the supremacy of Apple and the rapidly rising Google Android OS, existing manufacturers are being forced to rethink their position, and develop strategies strong enough to keep them in the market.   Many companies are betting on the popularity of social networking to keep consumers interested in their products.

Windows Mobile is now dead, replaced by the less stuffy Windows Phone, which Microsoft are hoping will shed their previous image of suited business-men connecting to their Exchange servers between meetings.  Microsoft realise this is their last chance to stay relevant in the mobile space, and have started from scratch, building their new OS from the ground up.  Previously on Windows Mobile, calendars and email were centre stage, now  applications such as instant messaging, photo-uploads direct to Facebook and direct videos to Youtube, that Microsoft are building their new applications around.

Microchip giant Intel have recently become bedfellows with Nokia, working on a new Linux-based mobile platform called MeeGo (presumably not named after the shape-shifting alien from the cult 90s sitcom of the same name).   The aim of this new venture is clearly displayed on the homepage http://meego.com, “fun”.

Samsung are also hoping for a slice of our social-pie, with their new OS, Bada.  Designed as an open-source project in much the same vein as Android, Bada makes no secret of their strategy, social networking is their core.  A feature called Social Hub is central to the OS, spanning across many apps, and aiming to unify your contacts, calendars and media from all your social networking sites directly into your mobile phone.

With the number of Android-based phones increasing, and a new iPhone rumoured for this summer, it’s looking like the fight for our social-souls is just warming up.