Universal app OS receives €10m EU funding

The EU has provided initial funding of €10 million to trigger the development of common standards for a universal application platform. The project, which will be lead by the Fraunhofer Institute FOKUS group, aims to deliver a platform for web applications that will operate across mobile, PC, home media and in-car devices.

The initiative, labeled Webinos, has already attract 22 companies, including Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung and the international internet standards body, W3C.

However, the timescales to build this 'consistent and secure platform' are three years--a tough call given the wide array of operating systems already available from a variety of vendors.

Regardless of this, Dr. Stephan Steglich, from the Fraunhofer Institute, said that the Webinos group wanted to overcome restrictions applied by proprietary and vendor-specific technologies, "enabling the rapid design of more personalised, secure and innovative applications. Our goal is the development of a secure platform that facilitates the creation of applications for multiple, heterogeneous, devices and operating systems."

"The problem today is the extreme platform fragmentation," said Steglich. "We have a lot of different platforms that apps run on, such as iPhone, Android and Symbian, and that's only on the mobile side. If you extend that to include the automotive part and consumer electronics area, you have more platforms."

"Companies can afford to have an app on two or at most three platforms--they're extremely costly to develop and ensure the user experience."

This move comes after France Telecom Orange invited the other major European operators to join with it in creating a single smartphone OS, and this follows the establishment earlier this year of the Wholesale Applications Community by the leading operators.

What progress Webinos can make within three years when faced with the development muscle of Apple and Google will be watched with interest--and an equal level of bemusement.

For more on this story:
- read Telecoms.com & The Telegraph

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