If there was one key takeaway from Brough Turner's excellent kickoff presentation
Tuesday at the 4GWE conference it was that application developers, and not the carriers themselves, will lead the way when it comes to the next opportunities for the mobile Web.
"The initiative has passed to application developers, and that's something the [service] providers now concede," said Turner, at the end of a far-reaching look back at the development of mobile data usage, and where the future lies.
Some key trends for the future as identified by Turner:
-- Apple's iPhone and its app store are the wave of the future everyone else will copy. "It's just an easier method of discovery and distribution," said Turner.
-- More and more smartphones will ship from multiple providers. "The iPhone has shown what is possible, and everyone's scrambling to provide a similar rich browsing experience," Turner said.
-- There won't be a PC-like consolidation of the mobile platform market anytime soon, due to the wide choice of devices, operating systems and presentation methods -- none of which has established a Windows-like superiority over any other. Turner said that at least three to five mobile formats -- iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia
and perhaps one more -- should remain relevant enough for the near future to continue to attract developer attention.