CUPERTINO, Calif. Does that Google phone app run on a Windows Mobile phone, and can the Nokia music service be used on an iPhone?
Those are the kinds of questions Ericsson hopes to eliminate with a new cellphone software initiative in the works. The network system vendor hopes to launch in the spring an effort to unify competing smart phone environments from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia and others.
The company wants to help define a common set of application programming interfaces that would let programs and services run across handsets. It hopes its leading market share in carrier systems gives it the clout to drive the effort.
"It's very ambitious," said Jorgen Odgaard who heads up developer relations for Ericsson. "We need to open up the developer environment so telecom is not so difficult to deal with for developers," he added, speaking at an Ericsson event here.
The company compares the effort to its existing IPX interface used by operators and content developers to handle payments over mobile devices.
"We want to bring Internet speed to mobile, and let Internet companies access open mobile APIs to services and create mash ups," he added.
One Ericsson executive said the company has been talking about the initiative to a wide variety of industry players. It hopes to formally launch the effort, possible with an initial developer conference in the spring.
The environment will likely expand existing Java frameworks with Web service APIs using a structure similar to that of browser plug ins, said Martin Korling, director of service layer technologies at Ericsson.
"We have a Web browser-based application environment [that could evolve to be] a common denominator for Symbian, Android and other [mobile] OSes," he said.