Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Which Phone Would You back to Win?

So you have a choice of smartphone, which do you choose and why?

The Palm Pre has raised many eybrows, but do you get seduced into the potential of a Pre that still has to deliver momentum to join the race? RIM continues to click away in business world with their multiple device offers and clear catch up strategy?
Do you go with the biggest and buy Nokia, who have just announced a road map for their Symbian operating system that calls for five versions to be in production at the same time and a weird naming convention that reminds us of the period when Prince was just a sign. The aggressive release plans might enable Symbian to catch up and even innovate but it is a risky strategy by anybody’s standards, releasing a new version of the operating system every six months, with the first expected to appear in phones at the end of this year.

Then there is the Android family and relatives?

However, the key may not be down to the operating system and design, but the choice between a phone with few exciting third party applications and one with over 25,000 apps and games and who have already clocked up 800 million downloads in less than a year from start up. 30m iPhone and touch units had been sold by the end of 2008 and Gartner recently put Apple's share of the worldwide market at 10.7%, compared to Nokia at over 40% and Research in Motion, which makes the Blackberry, at under 20%.

Apple have now announced its 3.o operating system. Is it aimed at consumers –no – its aimed squarely at the developers and exciting them to build more and better applications. We remember the mid range computer battles of what seems a lifetime ago. Who were the winners – IBM AS400, HP 3000 and why applications and these were followed by DEC VAC again on the applications. People and businesses don’t buy tin they buy usability and today there is only one player in town Apple.

We predicted some of the new 100 features 3.0 offers, but developers are being empowered with access to 1,000 application programming interfaces (APIs) to build new or improve on their applications. The new software also allows developers to sell subscription-based software products. This may be paying for different levels of games, buying additional content or virtual stuff. It is unclear how this will work with ebooks where two players are currently competing for this traffic; Amazon and Stanza, or with newsprint where the publishers need to monetise their content.

Finally we now await the new iPhone.

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