With smart-phone technology already matching the computing power of most early PC’s, the panel said that functionality and usability of devices is what will matter in the era to come.
Shawn DuBravoc, chief economist of the Consumer Electronics Association, said that instead of a war between operating systems, he envisions a future where consumers unite around value and usability. It’s not about Android, or Apple, or Windows, he said, but instead, users will begin to utilize cloud data and computing services in which the operating system will be invisible to end users.
“With a single purpose device, you don’t really see the OS,” DuBravoc said. “Moving forward, we won’t see the OS from the consumer point of view. With a plethora of single purpose devices, the OS will not be the story.”
Andrew Page, Nokia’s VP, sees the spread of technology across various screens as the key platform for growth in the years to come. The screen capabilities of TV, PC’s, tablets, and hand-held devices are all different he said, and the technology that emerges to mesh the experience will be successful.
“The key in the future,” he said, is, “how do you combine ubiquitous user experience across various screen types?”
In this era of rapid development, the monetization structure of smartphones is bound to change, the panelists said. In the past, mobile service providers, like China Mobile, subsidized mobile phones by offering consumers free or discounted devices in return for signing a contract.
Now, advertisers and other third-party firms might subsidize handsets in return for access to the end-user, the moderator, Joe Jason of Polaroid, said.
At the end of the day, Shawn DuBravoc said, companies that offer the best value to the consumer through the accessibility and usefulness of their devices will continue to profit.
“If you ‘re not getting paid, you’re not adding value to value chain,” DuBravoc Said.