AOL Open Mobile Platform: Who Cares?


AOL today announced the Open Mobile Platform, which the company plans to release to developers this summer. AOL says the software development platform will help developers create applications across major mobile device operating systems including BREW, Java, Linux, RIM, Symbian, and Windows Mobile. The platform will consist of three parts: an XML-based scripting language, a device client, and an application server.

AOL’s platform differs from efforts like Google’s Android, which was demoed today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, in that it isn’t a singular phone operating system that attempts to lock users into one way of doing things. Rather, it is a software development platform for multiple operating systems that aims to make it easier for developers to deploy apps across the various mobile OS and platform options.

First of all, as someone who works in modeling/program language design, a XML-based scripting language, really? This might have been a hot idea in the ’90s, but come on, nobody wants to program in XML. Admitted, I didn’t look into this platform beyond this ReadWriteWeb post, so they could have misunderstood. But if not: XML programming languages — stupid idea. Easy to parse, but beyond that, utterly stupid.

Then, the obvious question. Do we need yet another mobile platform? We have Java, Symbian, Windows Mobile, and more recently Apple’s iPhone platform and Google’s Android. What’s the new thing that AOL brings to the table other than integrating with AOL services that I never use? According to AOL:

The AOL Open Mobile Platform will also give developers the ability to monetize their mobile applications by utilizing advertising resources, such as clickable banner ads, provided by AOL’s Platform-A.

Banner ads in mobile applications. Awesome.