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MWC 2008: AOL Makes Open Mobile Software Platform

Who?! Oh please Lord no...

Loosen that noose and carefully step down from that wobby chair, this isn’t quite as bad as it seems…

Despite the formal announcement of the ‘AOL Open Mobile Platform’, this isn’t gun-in-the-mouth territory because what the hideous multinational has in fact come up with is more of an open SDK (Software Developers’ Kit) which provides ready access to the tools and source code needed to build and distribute applications across virtually any mobile platform. Ahhhhh.

BREW, Java, Linux, RIM, Symbian, and Windows Mobile will be supported initially by this misleadingly named tool and, in theory, will allow developers to build an application just once then distribute it across a mass of mobile platforms. Yes, it’s actually quite useful. AOL also says its OMP is based on a ‘proven technology’ which it acquired and “has been deployed across more than 150 different handsets on carrier networks in the US”. Oddly, it left out the who, what and for how much.

Of course this being AOL, the SDK will make it possible to neatly integrate AOL products such as AIM, AOL Mail, AOL Video, MapQuest, Userplane, Truveo, Winamp, and more. In a world where Android looks set to flood the mobile phone market with even more Google apps, the true motives now become clear.

So a brave and generous gesture or a desperate move from an ailing giant? I’d tell you where I stand, but I’m too busy fondly reminiscing about all the AOL Internet CDs that flowed through my letterbox and how I gleefully stamped on every single one…

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