What about the Symbian OS? Based on my research almost 40% of the smartphones used this OS as of today. As of the first quarter of 2010, Symbian was officially made for open source code (free and open OS). I think Symbian is the OS that Android, Apple and RIM should beat.
Dave, You are absolutely right. Microsoft cannot be ignored if it so much as pokes a finger into a race. I certainly remember Netscape and how Microsoft ran it out of the browser market. So, here's to Microsoft making a big dent on the market. As you noted, though, they are starting late and the market dynamics may have changed with Apple and Google having deep enough pockets to withstand a Microsoft onslaught. May the best OS win.
I am intrigued that no one has mentioned Microsoft, especially with their launch of Windows Phone 7. I don't disagree with the momentum of Apple's iPhone and Google's Android platforms, but it seems strange that Microsoft is viewed as irrelevant in this race. Although they may have to play catch up, I wouldn't count them out yet, especially with the business user. Remember Netscape anyone?
I felt the same way you did when the iPhone was first launched - how did Apple manage to come up with such a cool phone. Were Nokia, Motorola etc fast asleep?!!
You are right that Steve Jobs may end up irritating some of Apple's precious customers. Steve Jobs has been agitated since the antenna problems on the iPhone 4 provoked so much negative press for Apple. He should be careful not to let this incident undermine their business.
Bolaji, your points are right on the money. I never actually bought a Blackberry because I felt the user interface was gawky. I am glad someone else feels the same way about the phone. Just because a phone has a QWERTY type keypad doesn't mean it will be easy to use. I even find the keypad on the iPhone quite cumbersome to use. I tried posting a comment on my iPhone and I was aghast to see a couple of errors, and it was a painful experience.
I have pondered why Apple suddenly launched itself into the Phone market in recent times ... my hunch is that it must be credited to the superior touch-screen technology that has evolved over the years. Steve Jobs and Apple must have felt this is another chance for them to repeat what they did with the MAC back in the 80s. How major phone vendors like Nokia, Motorola and even RIM missed this opportunity is quite puzzling - the phone market is their domain.
I have also heard those kind of comments you mentioned about the iPhone: "The iPhone is a plaything", "The iPhone is not really going to be adopted by the business world", "Blackberry's are secure and RIM owns the business market". Well, almost all corporations I know of in the UK currently purchase Blackberrys for their staff. However, RIM may become unsettled in this domain if they don't produce new phones with better user touch-screen interfaces. Apple and Andriod phones may find their way into the business domain soon.
Apple may win the race. It has the products and the momentum. It also has inept competitors. If it wasn't for Apple we would not have the types of smartphones that are in the market today. The established mobile phone makers were contented to roll out the boring products they had produced for years. Apple compiled a bunch of technologies, put a nice fancy touch on them and made them available to appreciate consumers. All the others are now rushing to catch up.
Everyone gets tripped up by something, though, and Apple is itself sowing the seeds of its own downfall. The company is full of hubris and Steve Jobs' rants during the company's conference call is only the latest sign of this.
Tunrayo, Thank you for going back in time to back up your argument because doing so makes it clear the advantage Apple is getting today is not because the company invented anything new but made better use of existing technology. Palm's Palm Pilot had the user interface that came with the stylus. You press, it responds. That was light years ago back in the early 1990s. The touchscreen has been around for quite some time also. In fact, Ericsson, which merged its mobile handset business with Sony's, had a handset with touchscreen interface earlier this decade.
What Apple has done is bring all the technologies together and then pack these into a beautiful case. RIM has certainly missed a great opportunity. A couple of years ago, the discussion with regard to Blackberry was that corporate types did not care about the iPhone user interface! Some wag said at the time that people who had the Blackberry carried them for the email capability and were not so juvenile as to care about a shiny, friendly-to-use computerized phone. I got my first Blackberry phone three years or so ago before my company recently got one for me. I was happy to pay the fee myself because it helped me do my work better. This meant though that I had to carry around two phones. It also meant I didn't care about calling anyone on the Blackberry phone. I still don't like making phone calls on the Blackberry. The numbers are tiny--I've dialed the wrong numbers numerous times because my fingers pressed the wrong button. To be honest, I like what the Blackberry does for me but I hate the Blackberry as a device. If my company supports a different device I will ditch the Blackberry the day I can safely get work-related emails on a different phone that has a better user interface.
If I feel like this about the Blackberry, I bet there are millions of others who share the feeling. Any of the Android phones will do for me. While I like the iPhone, what I hate about it is exactly what Steve Jobs crows about. I don't like the feeling of being controlled by some company that basically talks down to its customers. I am experienced enough with a computerized device that I am not scared that I have to program the experience myself. I am not part of a collective. That's why I vote for the Android personally and I suspect many others would too. Apple has a great device but its stranglehold on the user experience is going to knock the company down a few notches. Still, it will remain one of the leaders in the market sector.
I predict the race will end with Andriod leading the way, followed by Apple and Blackberry. I would have picked Apple as a winner, because of two key components of their products - a device with touch-screen user interface and a great software base in the app store.
However, because Andriod works on a similar framework, I feel it has a better chance to win the game given that there is the advantage users being presented with a wider variety of smartphones. Apple users will be restricted to the iPhone while Andriod users will have a greater variety of smartphones to choose from.
Another key advantage for Andriod is the open standard of the software. This feature may attract corporate users especially when it comes to security. Corporate users on the Apple platform will have to depend on Apple to progressively plug security holes. Does this remind you of Windows?
Although RIM currently supplies the most secure smartphones, they were slow to come out with their own version of a touch-screen device. This has resulted in Apple and Andriod taking all the hype as consumers rush to experience this new and exciting graphical user interface (GUI). RIM will regret their failure to quickly recognize that the touch-screen GUI was the key differentiator that led to smartphone frenzy; the apps were just a derivative of this GUI technology. I remember apps have always been available ages ago - but they were so cumbersome and basic and wireless data speeds were insufficient. So, the app culture did not really take off until Apple came out with the superior capacitive screen GUI phone (previous touch-screen GUIs were basically useless - and should rightly have been called press-screen as you had to press really hard or use a pointer to get any response from your phone).
So I feel Andriod will lead, followed closely by Apple and RIM really needs to get in the game.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.