Carriers band together for cross-platform apps, manufacturers laugh heartily | webOS Nation
 
 

Carriers band together for cross-platform apps, manufacturers laugh heartily 64

by Derek Kessler Wed, 17 Feb 2010 9:49 pm EST

Wholesale Application Community

Announced at MWC was yet another partnership between the world’s cellular carriers that will end up resulting in, well, very little. Networks around the world have banded together to create the Wholesale Applications Community, which in essence will be a global cross-platform app effort. And here’s why it’s going to fail: manufacturers, particularly the ones that are invested in an operating system (such as Apple, Palm, and Nokia), will have no interest in participating. Especially those that have created an app store, Apple in particular.

The Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) will end as a failure, at best withering away as a token gesture to interoperability. There are a million political reasons why it won’t work, but the biggest hurdles to overcome are the technical ones: programming languages and APIs. While we can see feature phone manufacturers rallying around the WAC, nobody buys a T9 flip phone to run apps. They lack the hardware to properly execute - that’s why they’re feature phones.

App developers too aren’t interested in feature phones, because the meager hardware will limit what they can do. Not to mention the varying screen sizes, processors, radios, keypads, and everything else. App developers are interested in smartphones, and that’s where the WAC starts to fall apart.

The largest hurdle to jump is the diverse programming languages used by the various smartphone operating systems. webOS is hinged on web standards while iPhone OS apps run in Objective-C. A Windows Mobile (and presumably Windows Phone 7 Series) developer works in Visual C++, but his Android-programming counterpart codes in Java. BlackBerry OS also uses Java, but it’s an entirely different beast than Android. And let’s not forget the newly announced MeeGo from Nokia and Intel. God knows what programming language you’ll need there.

These myriad platforms use programming languages so diverse that attempting to unify them would be an exercise in frustration. No OS developer is going to give up on the language they’ve invested in developing an SDK for, and many aren’t going to be open to making wholesale changes to their OS to support a different programming language. The most likely choice for any cross-platform development language by WAC would likely be Java, and most likely of the J2ME variety. Many feature phones already run applications written in J2ME, as does BlackBerry.

Seeing as manufacturers aren’t about to jump ship on their operating system languages, could the WAC put together a code translation suite to take these J2ME apps and translate them into Objective-C, Visual C++, and everything else? Yeah, probably. But the challenges involved in translating code from one language to another are already astronomically high. There’s a reason Adobe’s taken over a year to finish rewriting the CS5 Suite for Mac in 64-bit Cocoa, up from the 32-bit Carbon that is the CS4 Suite. The more complicated your app, the harder it becomes to translate the code and you end up rewriting it by hand anyway.

Assuming that a translation engine could be developed to make an app compatible with multiple OS’s, what kind of apps would we get? It’d be much of what fills the App Catalog already: basic apps like calculators, custom web searches, and the like. Adobe talks about using their Air software to run apps on multiple platforms - but that's after support for Air is installed on the platform. Much like Windows and Mac machines, smartphones can't run Air apps without having Adobe Air installed first.

After making that assumption we run into a new problem: APIs. Every OS has its own set of APIs tailored to the capabilities of the hardware it is designed to run on and the unique aspects of the OS itself. Applications on webOS can take advantage of the interactive notifications bar API that iPhone apps cannot, while iPhone apps can hook into the push API offered by Apple and get their notifications that way. While both are notification APIs, they’re completely different in code and execution. Getting manufacturers to agree on common APIs is just as likely to happen as getting them to agree to support a common programming language.

Again, there’s no reason a translation engine couldn’t be built to move apps from the WAC’s common APIs to those used by the various operation systems. But in the end you arrive at the same problem as the programming language translation: only the most basic stuff can be reliably translated. Using our notifications example, there’s no way to resolve the unique differences between the iPhone notifications API and that of webOS. In this hypothetical API translation situation the best you can get to ensure a common experience across all platforms will be a pop-up notification on the iPhone and the equivalent non-interactive dashboard notification on webOS. The lowest common denominator amongst all platforms will not result in an experience that will thrill users.

These programming hurdles are contingent upon overcoming the political gridlock that would result from trying to get Apple, Nokia, Palm, Microsoft, Research in Motion, Google, and everybody else who wants to play to agree on those common standards. Some, like Palm and Google, might be open to supporting a new standard. Others, such as Research in Motion, may be looking to overhaul their OS anyway and be willing to adopt the new standard as their own standard.

But for each manufacturer that may be open to exploring something new, there are five more that aren’t. Every manufacturer has invested tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, in getting their OS up and running. They chose to make their own OS because they thought they could do it better; they picked their programming language for that same reason. They didn’t pick it because it would be compatible with somebody else’s apps. That defeats the purpose of making your own OS. If it can do the same things as one already made, then you might as well just license that OS and skin it instead. Successful smartphone OS makers don't play "me too." They innovate and expand and explore new capabilities and features, and chaining an OS to what other OS's are capable of will only stifle development.

The problem that the WAC faces is unique to the smartphone industry. If gas stations were to band together and invest in building a natural gas or hydrogen distribution system, they wouldn’t have to convince car manufacturers to join in. With hundreds of millions of dollars invested in several different platforms, there’s no way the WAC manufacturer commitments will ever reach the critical mass needed to be a draw for developers. In fact, the only manufactures that have signed on with the WAC right now are Sony Ericsson, LG, and Samsung. The only smartphone OS maker out of those? Samsung, with their just unveiled Bada.

So why are Orange, Verizon, China Unicom, AT&T, Wind, Sprint, Softbank Mobile, and 16 other carriers banding together to form this Wholesale Application Community? It’s a publicity stunt, and something they can point to whenever anybody complains about not being able to get X app from platform Y onto platform Z (webOS users aching for Shazaam, we hear you). Carriers will get a small and temporary bump in public good will, but even that may backfire if consumers expect this to actually pan out. In the end, very little - if anything - will come of the WAC in the smartphone space.

Honestly, that's probably a good thing.

[via: gdgt, CNN.com]

64 Comments

Was I 1st, had to join band wagon sorry!!!

Thank you for that enlightening post....

:roll eyes:

Harsh article....especially when the idea behind it is so great. Here again we see consumerism and capitalism at its best folks...

Everyone says capitalism is such a great and awesome system

Yeah...I sure see how great it is now, lets see...the only person who wins is the company...great system, NOT!

I don't deny that the idea is great. Many ideas are great, but when put up to the mirror of reality they fall apart. Look at how well communism worked out in the USSR.

Of course, the argue that I should put out here is that a common app platform would stifle competition. Apps and how we interact with them are driving innovation in the smartphone space right now. If everybody were forced to play by the same *ahem* code, then developers wouldn't be able to take advantage of the unique properties of any OS - because there wouldn't be any unique properties. And if that's the case, then why bother with multiple smartphone operating systems. Competition is good.

See, its about the right incentives Derek. for instance, competition wouldnt be stifled if there was incentive like say...."the contest that palm is putting on" or how about the simple fact that the more phones the app is on the better it will sell and the more money will be made. Just sayin

Would you say communism has worked in China?

I NEVER said anything about communism. Ever. As a system, you have to know though that communism IS the best system out there CURRENTLY but would NEVER work out because of leadership corruptness.

And citizen laziness and greed and jealousy. True communism can't and won't work because we're imperfect beings.

agreed, but now lets look at capitalism...how in the world is a system that takes advantage of the people and resources around it a better system. This system relies on inflation to work. But eventually...it gets so big it cant feed anymore and deflates. When that happens, who wins? Well, why dont we look at the current depression. So many loans lended...such an inflated system that it couldn't handle it and this is the result.

But the biggest problem with capitalism is that it is destined to fail. It's own strength is its weakness. It cant survive unless it is expanding and there just isnt enough people, or commodities in the world to keep the system expanding.

But while it expands...what do we get? Greed (apple) as an example. We get companies leaving the united states to take advantage of people from poor countries and in the end who suffers?

Everyone! Everyone suffers...

We suffer because we lose jobs and the poor from other countries are basically reduced to slave labor...

How is that good?>

@darkheart777: My question was directed at Derek, not you.

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the uneven division of blessings, while the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal division of misery." - Winston Churchill

I'll take Capitalism. Thank you.

No. Communism has not worked in China that is why China is rapidly moving to an open market economy. But old habits die slowly - thus, they are still spying on their people.

If capitalism did not exist, then you would not be reading anything about the Palm Pre while sitting on your couch with your laptop connected to wireless internet at the current moment. Without capitalism, the fantastic technologic innovations that have occurred in last 25 years that have led to the development of the personal computer, world-wide internet, cellular phones, and smart phones (to name a few) would never have occurred at such a blistering pace. Without the incentive of hard-earned dollars, there would be no Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc. to drive innovation and development of technology. Do you honestly think that government sponsored research in a socialist society would lead to Moore's Law? How many major technologic advances in computing have come out of Russia, Cuba, and China (before 10 years ago for China, the USA had to get the ball rolling)? crickets, crickets...I agree that in many aspects, capitalism is not an ideal situation. One only has to look at the current economy and the housing, banking, and auto-manufacturer markets to understand that. However, privitization of markets by the government leads to bloated costs and so much red-tape that innovation is stifled and there is little incentive to push the boundaries of what is currently possible. If you don't like capitalism, then I'm sure China would be happy to have you...I hear the government was paying $0.25/hr to work on construction for the olympics 2 years ago!

Ok so in this argument you are stating that technological advances are a result of capitalism. But if this is the case, then how did technology advance before capitalism...like, lets say...the whole medieval era up until America was even established? Innovations can be created with the proper incentive. Do you not see what the end result of capitalism is going to be? what happens when all the resources are used up? Lets take oil for instance...or trees...what do you think will happen to the oil rigs or the lumber mills once there is no more oil or trees? Bankruptcy. Same thing is gonna happen to Palm if they cant get enough customers. This is a product of capitalism buddy. a simple reliance on money. But money is only as good as the thing it backs...and if you take that away...poof its gone.

You cant deny the simple fact that capitalism will end up eating and eating up everything till there is nothing left...the only thing capitalism can do is find other things to eat to continue to grow...

I'm sorry, but did you just use the Medieval Era as proof of the advancement of technology sans capitalism? The same medieval era that was also called the Dark Ages because it set science and art back almost 1,000 years until the Renaissance? The same medieval era that lasted for more than half a millenia (from the fall of the Roman Empire) but was still completely dwarfed in terms of technological advancement by the 200 or so years of the Modern Era up till now (an era, by the way, that began with the Industrial Revolution)?

No offense, but you need to pick your arguments (and your support for said arguments) much better, my friend.

capitalism only wins for the company????

sorry companies have employees, the better a company does, the more jobs they create by expanding. There should be enough profit to pay the employees. ......

I like michael moore, he's like watching ace ventura or dumb and dumber.

amazing how easily influenced people are, sorry just doesn't make sense to me. You can't feed your family from a job that the boss is homeless. How can you count on him to make the correct business decisions to make the company last so you can stay there till ur ready to retire if he can't even manage his finaces well eough to have a roof over his head.

sorry it's just I worked in the private sector most of my life and had a business, now I work for the government and am amazed at how they just throw away our tax money. It's so aggrevating. ''so were going over budget this year (in feb!) so we are going to have to request additional funding'' while I like being a peon and not having responsibilities it still blows my mind.

have you been paying attention to the world economy? to businesses? to anything??? You say "the better a company does, the more jobs they create by expanding" yeah...all great and wonderful until we have a great depression...or new competition...then what happens...well why dont you just look at GM.

There is no good to come from capitalism. Its goal is to eat everything in its path until it becomes so huge it can do nothing but deflate. Its a horrible horrible system

lol, why don't you look at gm and see why they failed, and ''had'' to be bailed out.... Nuff said. Reading reports is much more useful than reading journalist perspectives.
don't turn that tv off, msnbc can't afford to lose another viewer, why does no one bring up weather or not they will be around next year. GE sold nbc so we'll see if they keep that dead station alive to claim another loss to get out of paying taxes aaaaaagain.

GM's management didn't know how to compete. ;)

You must spend the bulk of your day watching Michael Moore speak. capitalism is the best system in human history. It simply works the best. You cannot have a perfect system with a race that is imperfect. I don't see any other kind of system fairing even close to what capitalism has achieved.

On your idiotic comment about Companies, you need to realize that Companies are not things.... companies are made out of people. Companies employ people, most likely including you. Companies create products that YOU are enjoying this very moment. Companies encourage investment in innovation, which leads to rapid increases in technology.

Yes, Capitalism is not perfect. But it sure as hell is the best system out there. You and dumb liberals like Michael Moore can leave. Trust me, the country would magically fix itself if that occurred. Go try to enjoy a Palm pre in China.

all people can do is site micheal moore eh and talk about china. Ok, lets talk about china...WHO IS GEARED TO BE THE NEXT WORLD POWER IN THE ECONOMY...damn seriously, give me an example that makes sense if your gonna go against me. I am not some high school dropout...im a college grad here. I know a little about the economy and capitalism.

lol seriously? Back in 2006 when the dems took control of the house and senate and bushs popularity dropped almost as fast as congress, the conservatives hated everything that was going on in the us gov.
I think the 1st conservative quote about the future leader in capitalism came in 07 or 08 from glenn beck when he said you wanna learn about capitalism? Take a look at communist chia, their gunna be running us soon.
given I don't agree with their pay but lets face it, he was right. They are more capitalist than we are, but they have some different issues.... Lol I'm honestly not tryin to attack you or come off as a pen15 but some thing need to be said. Look at the recent poll about socialist views of democrats, read it. What it means is there are a whole lotta people that don't know what the definition of socialism is.
besides, were talking tech here, it can't exist without capitalism, period. If all phones were the same and had the same capabilities then how could something new be developed?????????

Its not as if capitalism was the only form of govt. Technology advanced pretty well before capitalism and I am sure it would advance fine without it. Like I said above, there is other ways to entice people to be creative. Competition is great and all, but not at the expense of the people who buy your product

well then there you have it, don't buy any products. Problem solved right? How could the evil companinies upset you if you don't partake in their shenanigans. The less we do the more government will step in and do for us, right????
by the way I think there was a leader of the pack before there was a throwin stick....

What do you mean when you say "technology advanced pretty well before capitalism"? ...because it didn't... It just didn't.

Also, capitalism is not a form of government. It is an economic system. PLEASE learn proper terminology before you talk about it, because I think you are conflating a bunch of different issues and ideas that don't go together.

I don't see you replying to my comment darkheart...are you just ignoring the logic that I speak? That would be about par for the course for bleeding-heart liberals who are ruining my country.

Ok...lemme scroll up...oh BTW, why dont you TRY and have a civil debate without being a closed minded conservative who has no idea what they are talking about...wake up man, this is the new age. But seriously...no need to be so damn insulting. Go hunt a deer or something...calm down, and then approach this conversation with an ounce of maturity, I know its hard, but I believe in you man!

And why don't you try to be mature about things too? Thanks.

I apologize Derek....besides this comment, I feel I have been extremely mature about this. Wasn't planning on taking this any further.

lol, wow im kinda feeling like your angry with me for trying to have a different opinion than you, but luckily, we have that right. i guess civil debates are the ones where everyone agrees. as for being a close minded conservative, i actually am an independant. uninformed? well i will respond to the statement about the precious oil rigs and bankruptcy....
read up about mitsubishi, prime example of how a company can continue to innovate.
i have woken up, i have been reading about the new age (progressivism) since prolly 5th grade. by the way studing to be a historian....
i dont hunt, but i love target practice. i love animals.
i did not try to be insulting, i tried to be funny.

now on for the maturity part of the equation.....been hearing it my whole life! lol i manage to be mature for 40hrs a week and even thats hard to do lol

toyotast165, that comment wasnt meant for you. You werent insulting. That comment was directed at jmartino2011.

He is the one who feels he needs to back his points up with insults

oh ok, well insults on the internet are just stupid in my view. news, information, media, comedy and porn, thats what its good for.
gotta say though, i dont see his post insulting, directed yes, but not insulting. eh well, back to the ..."internet"

Oh and about your company not being considered a thing...

The supreme court rules companies as people. Companies have the same rights as people, can be sued like people, their rights can be violated...

This is capitalism...

a company is seen as an entity buddy

In the eyes of the law, yes. But companies are still run by people. Companies don't just make decisions - the people running the company make the decision. And while those people are interested in the bottom line, they're also influenced by emotion and other non-fiscal factors.

I listen to lewis black, looks similar and talks about the same stuff, but HILARIOUS!!!

So in other words WAC=WACK. Sorry, I know it's lame, but I couldn't resist.

It had to be said.

Hmmm...

What about PhoneGap?

while I sit back and read it again, and comments I have to agree that it is a good idea, like communism. However this is really stupid, like communism. Lol just gotta sit back and laugh about it because well, the writer said it like it is, not gunna happen. And def like the WAC=WACK lol.
I do not think it would benefit the feature phones. Most free sprint phones do more than $50 vzw phones, and there are more low end feature phones than high. Soooo the good feature phones would theoretically do less right???

for some reason I have the buffalo theory of alcohol and intelligence popping into my head. Like darwin said only the strongest and fastest buffalos on the plain would escape from predators leaving the slowest and weakest to be picked off and make the remaining pack stronger as a whole. Similarly how when we consume alcohol the slowest and weakest brain cells get killed first so the remaining brain cells work together faster and better making us feel as though we are smarter....... Thank you cliff clavin.

ie this would work if there was more categories of phones. Idk maybe not, kinda just rambling....

This has nothing to do with capitalism. This has to do with who gets the money - the developers, the carriers, or the phone/os manufacturers. Imagine if Wal-Mart required a different manufacturing process than Target for the products it carried? Same thing.

This has nothing to do with capitalism. This has to do with who gets the money - the developers, the carriers, or the phone/os manufacturers. Imagine if Wal-Mart required a different manufacturing process than Target for the products it carried? Same thing.

Cross-platform apps is an idea who's time has come. I try to incorporate cross-platform principles in my daily life as much as possible. I find the best food is found in places that have both burgers and Chinese and Italian food - all cooked by the same chefs. I only buy clothes that look good on both men and women. My favorite movies are the ones which you watch on airplanes - suitable for any age. My dream is to buy a new smartphone and find that all of the apps look and work exactly the same even though I switched platforms. And, as a developer, my goal is for the end user to say "Well that worked but was nothing special"

By the way, when are the carriers going to sit down and establish uniform service plans. There really isn't any reason to have completely different packages. They should just establish four or five packages of voice, data, and text and then put a price next to it. Much easier then writing cross-platform apps. Cross-platform service plans.

I think you all forget that before Walmart and K-Mart and supermarkets became big, the manufacturers who created the items had all the power. They controlled the price and who got their product. It was only when those supermarkets rose to power that they took control and started controlling the manufactures.

This directly relates to this article. It shows once again that the manufacturer, us, the common person just trying to make a living...is controlled by big business.

This article is saying, in essence, that if a WAC system is created and manufactures of apps join the program...Apple will deny them access to their catalog. Howe is THIS a good system!

Is that how consumer electronics became disposable commodities and service became nonexistent?

Manufacturers still have all the power. A large superstore, such as walmart and costco, has more capital which allows them to sell products at a much lower price than a smaller business.

We are not controlled by big business. You, as the consumer, have a choice in whether or not to buy a product. If you don't like the business practices of a certain business or corporation, then simply do not buy their products. If though, you choose to buy their product then you have no right to complain because you have chosen to invest in that company.

Looking at the PDK, if your os can use an easy port of C/C++ code, it wouldn't take a lot of resources for developers to bring their apps to your os's.

As for the unique features of each os, code can be added to run specifically for that os. Take Brain Challenge, it supports the back swipe in webos even though it was a port from iphone which doesn't have a gesture area. That's a small example but adding in unique code for iphone style notifications and webos style notification into the same app wouldn't take that many more resources either.

Developers will want this because it's significantly cheaper development time.

Palm may want this because it'll bring their app count to parity against competitors much faster.

"While we can see feature phone manufacturers rallying around the WAC, nobody buys a T9 flip phone to run apps."

as someone who sells mobile phones for a living, i can assure you that this statement is false.

everyone wants apps on their phone now. even if it's the most basic phone you've ever seen.

I think Henry Ford has the answer. You can have any app on any phone, as long as it has the iphone o/s. Perhaps the next iphone o/s will be named "black".

Nice article Derek, but there is no use to bring profanity in to it. Please reconsider your choice of words next time :-) Thank you.

hahaha, nice article Derek...I'm sorry about the flaming, but I simply can't resist stirring the pot some times

wait, im just thinking, could this mean the carriers want to kill off feature phones????? i mean lets face it, they are lossing money with the voice towers, they are making money hand over fist from the data though right? could be wrong, just wondering if anyone has considered this though as i dont expect to see flash on a nokia 5100 lol

Palm/WebOS has everything to gain and nothing to lose from a cross-platform standard. As the last man to join the game and coming in with the fewest chips, they need to do everything they can to get Apple and Android apps running on WebOS.

Heck, if I were Palm I'd work to create an iPhoneOS application emulator. Even if it lacked the full-features, at least you have the application. Sneak-in a few WebOS-specific tricks for the emulator and you have instant cross-compatibility. The new game-specific PDK for WebOS means that this is all possible, it just needs to be worked on.

You are right. The problem is that the platform with all of the developers and all of the apps have little to gain and lots more to lose. Do you seriously think that Apple would allow Palm to develop an iPhone emulator when they wouldn't even allow iTunes sync? Please.

I don't think Apple is going to change their entire SDK because Palm created a compiler that takes iPhone designed code and converts it to an analogous WebOS function.

I don't program for smartphones and my knowledge of C++ is limited to a few classes, but I promise you that every special function call for the iPhoneOS can be equated to an analogous WebOS function. They're both similar-sized touch-screens with multi-touch, have accelerometers, location-aware, web-access, are capable of on-screen keyboards (or just make the keyboard invisible and use the on-phone keyboard), etc... And WebOS/iPhone/Android all run on ARM processors!

I would love to hear a lecture from a Palm engineer on how it CAN'T be done.

I think in theory it is fine, but I would not like it. The reason is this, If one company makes a phone with a weak processor/hardware and another makes a phone with a powerful processor/hardware, then developers can only make generic software that will run on the weakest phone. BAD idea. That is of course unless you want a phone that has no tools/apps you want to use.

thats what i way trying to say, as in no more feature phones, just smartphones that gob up data where they are making money

Derek, I'm usually down on your downer-ness, but I agree with this wholeheartedly. Great idea in idealized theory maybe, but completely untenable idea in real-world practice.

Now now Derek, the WAC is a great idea, but just for smartphones.

How many of us WebOS users would love to have some of the same apps that Apple users enjoy?

The answer is TONS!

Developers need to recognize all smartphone platforms and make there apps for each, not just one or two. Wordpress seems to have completely forgotten WebOS and went and made an app for Apple, Android, and Blackberry.

wtf is capitalism? Is that an app?

Capitalism is not a form of government by the way. That's why Communist China and Representative Republic America can tie their economies together on the capitalist platform.

Can I just say... Visual C++ is NOT a language. It is an IDE for the C++ language.

Developpers code in C++.

(I just say that because it is a common mistake made on this website.)

Maybe it's idealistic, but despite the reasons you cite for why it won't work, I somehow hope that it will.

Communism is not idealistic nor good even "if it could work." Besides the fact that it ignores human nature by denying that many of us are competitive and work for recognition or to provide better for our family, communism denies its people any rights. You can't own a business, or even a car in a communist society, and arguably, maybe not even your thoughts and freewill. The government owns everything. In a communist society, you exist purely to provide for others who may be needier than you.

That creates a set of incentives where each person seeks to prove how they are more pathetic than their neighbor, to work less and receive more. That effaces the human spirit, renders the entrepreneur worthless, and drives creativity and technological advance to a grinding, permanent halt. That's the opposite of what drives good both for the individual and for society as a whole.

Support for communism is based on propaganda and half truths. It is the worst, most destructive form of society ever conceived that has killed more people and destroyed more lives than any other philosophy, including even wars waged for religious reasons.

If you want freedom and the ability to earn benefits for creativity and hard work, you're a capitalist. If you want to see a civilization grow over the decades and centuries by incentivizing hard work, job creation, and innovation, you're a capitalist.

And for those who will point to monopolies that genuinely have crushed competition and other problems -- most of those were not problems with capitalism, but with (corrupt) government interference in the economy in the form of laws to protect specific companies (e.g., AT&T was the only communication company allowed to own lines by law, until the US decided it was a monopoly to break up after enough complaints from other businesses). MS, not protected by special laws, is at risk of losing their dominance in the OS world because hungry entrepreneurs are taking the OS into the cloud or onto phones, where MS didn't innovate fast enough. And 10-20 years from now, today's advances will probably also go obsolete as the next motivated individual finds a way to provide what people want and rightfully makes a ton of money for his insight and effort, and most importantly for creating something for which people wanted to pay.

Back to the WAC and the point of this article, I agree with the author. There is no economic incentive I can see that will result in this succeeding in a market-changing way. It may yield a few more apps for a few of the lesser phones. It may encourage some greater standardization among the feature phones, but even that seems unlikely.