I was reading an article today about upcoming battery changes to the iPhone. It's a rumor piece. I love it even as I avoid talking about it here.
But it did get me thinking. Any advantage that Blackberries might have or the iPhone UI advantage it might enjoy over other mobile devices and smartphones will be less apparent as those who are unable or incapable of innovating simply copy enough of leading features and user interfaces that mobile warriors will almost find but a few devices that truly stand out.
So, it will have to be hardware that drives the differentiation. Specifically, I'm talking about battery life in today's mobile world. The iPhone 3G is one of the worst on the market. It's hard for me to say that. And worst still is the Android G1. I'm good during the day as I'm near an outlet or plugged into a computer where I can charge with the USB cable. But on weekends, I've had to learn to ration my use (usually, I carry and iPod Touch with me to entertain me when the G1 is about to die on me).
I can't say if 2009 will be the year where battery life makes any sort of meaningful leap forward but Apple's new battery technology currently being employed in their high-end Macbook Pro (17") looks promising. No word other than wishful thinking by many Apple fans that the technology will trickle over to the iPhone researchers in Cupertino.
For others like Sony and Samsung, they might try to compensate with new screens or chips. But that really doesn't matter. It'll always come down to the battery.
Note: Busy second half of 2009. Pre, iPhone, G2, new Blackberries. We'll be watching closely not what the new features are but how long these devices and smartphones last on a day's charge.