Having lately read quite a many news about ODMs (original design manufacturers) and their business I began to think about limits of mobile business ecosystem. In mobile business ODMs aim to sell their services to operators who can ask them to create a special device just for them.
Operators' are fighting hard against falling margins and trying to justify their existence as something else than just dumb bit pipes. If they are able to find a market segment for phones manufactured just for them, fine. However, in the era of mobile internet, subscribers demand more that just terminals - are operators ready (and able) to take the step to innovate and create competitive solutions? Lately I have got a feeling that best services exist in spite of operators, not because of them.
What is missing from mobile ecosystem are mass customized terminals; when you are buying 1000 PC's for a company you can get workstations customized just according to your needs. When you are buying 1000 mobile terminals, you must satisfy to what is available. I have no idea about ODM's price structure but an idea about special device for a large company really would make sense, especially for some specific use-cases. Often companies have special needs for terminals and now they can't get the best but instead they must go for the least bad. What if ODM's could serve them? Why not? Would telecoms authority certification be required for every customized terminal type? Why mobile terminals must be special compared other networked devices?