Picture Credit: Venturebeat.comWhen talking about the capping of data for iPad by AT&T, I argued that such restrictions presents opportunity for others in the market to innovate

When AT&T unexpectedly announced its plan to kill the unlimited plan with a spin on the savings for most of their data plan users, many in the tech blogosphere were outraged and claimed that it will kill mobile innovation. I think we are not doomed like what some people predict. Yes, I am outraged at AT&Tʼs decision to change the plans one month after iPad 3G was released. Yes, I am outraged that their capped plans will curtail the users from tapping the full potential of the iPad, Yes, I think that Apple should have secured an agreement with AT&T to continue offering this popular unlimited plan. Yes, I think that Apple should reimburse the buyers of iPad 3G some money because most of them bought it because Apple highlighted the availability of unlimited data plan from AT&T. However, I donʼt think it is going to kill mobile innovation in any way.

In my opinion, as long as the dominant market leader doesn’t use their monopoly position to kill innovation, every such restriction put forward by proprietary companies are opportunities for others. Many open source companies and projects use these opportunities to innovate against such restrictions but it is not necessarily restricted to them.

I have long argued that mobile web apps are the workarounds to restrictions put forward by mobile OS vendors much like SaaS applications as a workaround for cross platform user experience in the desktop world. In the above post, In that post, I quoted a report by ABI Research regarding the use of mobile web apps as an option to overcome restrictive policies of mobile OS vendors and suggested that mobile web is the way to go forward in the future.

I am glad to see this trend picking up because this not only helps developers to get over the restrictions of mobile OS vendors but it will also help them get over any restrictions imposed by the network operators. As more and more SaaS vendors take this approach to their mobile nirvana, the need to jailbreak phones and entering the application black market will vanish.

Looks like the trend is picking up not only with the SaaS vendors frustrated with the policies of Apple and other mobile OS vendors, many third part developers for platforms like iPhone are also embracing the approach. When Apple rejected the Mac Dashboard like app on the App Store, they came back and reached out to users as a mobile web app called Dashpad. They are not the only ones to take the mobile web app route. According to a report on VentureBeat, PlayOn, a service that allows streaming of web video on devices like XBox, Wii, etc., has developed a web app for iPhone and iPod touch after Apple rejected their app submitted to Apple App Store. They used HTML 5, an open standards based approach to web applications, to develop the web interface that could stream Hulu and Netflix to iPhone and iPod Touch.

PlayOn, the service that allows you to view streaming media from the web and PCs on a variety of devices, is finally headed to the iPhone as of tomorrow. It originally planned to release an iPhone app via the iTunes App Store, but due to approval delays by Apple, PlayOn has instead developed a mobile HTML5-driven web app.

This is the way to go against restrictive policies of software providers and telecoms. Yes, we could take the help of government to break such restrictions but we could also innovate against these restrictions which also helps in a rapid technological innovation. I am looking forward to hear more such success stories against the restrictive policies of vendors.

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Krishnan Subramanian

Krish dons several avatars including entrepreneur in exile, analyst cum researcher, technology evangelist, blogger, ex-physicist, social/political commentator, etc.. My main focus is research and analysis on various high impact topics in the fields of Open Source, Cloud Computing and the interface between them. I also evangelize Open Source and Cloud Computing in various media outlets, blogs and other public forums. I offer strategic advise to both Cloud Computing and Open Source providers and, also, help other companies take advantage of Open Source and Cloud Computing. In my opinion, Open Source commoditized software and Cloud Computing commoditized computing resources. A combination of these two developments offers a strong competitive advantage to companies of all sizes and shapes. Due to various factors, including fear, the adoption of both Open Source and Cloud Computing are relatively slow in the business sector. So, I take it upon myself to clear any confusion in this regard and educate, enrich and advise users/customers to take advantage of the benefits offered by these technologies. I am also a managing partner in two consulting companies based in India. I blog about Open Source topics at http://open.krishworld.com and Cloud Computing related topics at http://www.cloudave.com.

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