Chris Dixon recently wrote a post about the decline of the mobile web and the shift to apps and how that is hurting innovation. Fred expanded on that theme in his post on the mobile downturn. So it is worth thinking about what we need to get to a model of permissionless innovation in mobile. Here are some changes that might make sense
- An unencumbered open source mobile operating system (Android is not that due to the control exercised by Google)
- Ability to side load apps / have competing app marketplaces
- No private APIs that are accessible by Google/Apple only but not available to other developers
- Requiring IPV6 on phones to facilitate direct routing between phones
- Requiring ability to mesh network between phones
- Allowing resale of last mile residential bandwidth
Only #1 on this list could be accomplished without government help and once it succeeds would make #2 and #3 unnecessary. But given the current concentration in the OS market these should be considered as potential regulatory remedies.
#4 - 6 are all potential regulatory responses to the concentration of bandwidth providers in the US. An interesting entry point to #4 and #5 would be from an emergency response perspective — it could maintain network connectivity even in very large disasters with power outages. #6 would allow a phone mesh to easily connect to the net at the closest onramp.