Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mobile Platform: Who Will Stay Relevant?

By now, we're accustomed to a lot of talk about the iPhone.  And why not?  It is a great mobile device.

But the smartphone to beat is still RIM's line of Blackberries and Nokia's 45% smartphone marketshare but you really wouldn't be able to tell that's the case from the bloggers or the media.

So, it's iPhone versus Blackberry.  But that's today.  Tomorrow, who will be participating in the main event?

I am here to tell you that it'll looking more and more to be iPhone versus Android (but that doesn't necessarily mean it is Apple versus Google).  At least that's going to be the case for the rest of 2009 and at least through the first quarter of 2010.

That is what RIM, Microsoft, and Palm should be worried about.  Staying relevant.  Microsoft is not going to make any kind of a major splash despite all the band-aids they're using on Windows Mobile 6.5.  And they're confusing the situation by relabeling it "Windows Phone".  Believe me, Unless WM 7 blows us away, Windows Phone will be a huge mistake.

RIM will take a stab at the touch market with Storm 2 but many folks think any kind of push by the touch-based Blackberry will be short-lived should Apple really make some sort of deal with Verizon in 2010 when the LTE network goes online.  I'm still skeptical that Verizon can pull it off.  RIM has to "think different" in their approach to the hearts and minds of mobile users.

Palm.  Boy, I don't know.  Let's just leave it at there for now.  I'm already set for Pre 2 or the next WebOS device.  Pre certainly made a big splash in the mobile market but unfortunately, it cause very little ripples if any at all.

So that leaves Android.  G1 was the only one carry the platform and while it was a great first attempt, it felt like a beta device.  Now, there are three other devices on the market and much more to come in the second half of 2009.  It's a platform that has developers, hardware makers, and Google very excited.  HTC has even gone ahead to craft it own skin on top of Android that look absolutely brilliant. Motorola is even said be be developing its own social skin as well.

The second half of 2009 will be very exciting for mobile warriors looking to get a new smartphone or mobile device.  The iPhone 3GS is absolute the device to consider unless you, like me, have a deep hatred for ATT.  Otherwise, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, and even Sprint are said to be adding Android phones into their lineup.

Yeah, I've conspicuously left out Nokia.  They sell great phones.  But have no answer for the smartphone market.

The market is huge.  The US economy should stabilize next quarter and start growing in 2010.  And the market will grow fast enough to support multiple platforms.  But just because you're growing doesn't mean you're relevant.

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