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Collaborative economy: citizen as a creator

Finally some good news: the mobile industry appreciates us. It appreciates us who are already hooked: it wants us to do more things, buy more applications and consume more connectivity. But the industry appreciate those who still did not join the party even more. “The next billion” (the next billion people) are now the target of 70,000 people who are now gathered at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The industry appreciates us so much that is committed to supporting open source operating systems, in which applications are easy to program, they are available without download and without necessarily passing through centralized platforms. The industry preaches that a good smartphone should cost $30 and a mobile phone with basic services around $15. Interestingly, those who appreciate us the most have little of us. Operators who see their role blurred to the dominance of the devices and its ecosystems of applications. Manufacturers who would do without licensing fees.

Android (Google) surpassed IOS (Apple) by opening its operating system to manufacturers and developers, but not quite. The new proposals (Firefox OS, Ubuntu, Sailfish) piggyback on Linux and are fully open (available for anyone without asking for forgiveness or permission) promoting applications in Html 5.

Now add apps like Viber or Whatsup, which allow you to talk, send messages, photos or videos for free or for a euro a year. Also add all the web developments that already exist. Add the eight million people who already programme in HTML, many in emerging areas, and all the young people with instruments like code.org who will learn to program in the coming years.

The open business models based on shared resources are becoming common in all sectors. It is increasingly difficult for a single agent to establish a standard and maintain it for a long time when one (or more competitors, as in this case) are able to propose an open platform to the entire system.

The consequences are to be seen but we can anticipate some: entry barriers will decrease remarkably, creativity and innovation is encouraged, new opportunities are created. This is the promise of the new open smartphone, hopefully it will be fulfilled. Meanwhile, it is worth remembering George Orwell in “Animal Farm”: “All the animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

By @JaviCreus initially published in Yorokobu.

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