The battle for the Smart Phone is on!

June 14, 2009 by
Filed under: Technology 

Palm-Pre

The industry seems desperate to find an alternative to the iPhone so far with no success. Palm (the inventor of the category in a way) launched last week the “pre” a successor to the “pro” (pretty creative naming) that is supposed to be what we’re all been waiting for. Based on what Palm calls WebOS (do not try to pronounce it in Spanish) which is really a WebKit browser on top of a Linux kernel. It is to me just another “clever phone”, pretty well designed, but just a follow up.

The phone looks promising with a full touch screen, a sliding qwerty keyboard, a well thought out user interface and a great webkit browser. It is really an adequate challenger to the iPhone’s kingdom. The problem is the partner carrier. Sprint has been losing customers since the Nextel acquisition (at the tune of 300K/month at some point!) that did not go well at all. It has the worst coverage in the US and the least amount of international carrier partnerships. It has put all its eggs in the 4G JV with Clearwire and has not invested enough in the mundane 3 or 3.5G. If it wasn’t enough, the Pre is built on the CDMA technology, which is great, but very few carriers in the world support it. One will hope they thought about it and they are cranking an HSPA version as we speak for AT&T and most of the world. Better yet, a dual mode (like the Blackberry Storm) that supports both technologies in the same device. But for the Pre to stand a chance, it needs to find other carriers pronto.

The battle for the smart phone kingdom currently dominated by Research in Motion (aka RIM) the creator of the Blackberry with the most successful lineup in the industry that seems to yet unchallenged (yeah even by the iPhone). The interesting thing is that Windows Mobile (WM), the first mobile OS with (sort of) a real mobile browser after WEP is falling behind, way, way behind. LG, Motorola, Samsung, HTC, and others serve up WM phone of varying success but no where near what RIM has been able to accomplish. When in 2006 there were twice as many WM phones shipped than any other smart phone.

Now, there is still the battle of the App Stores where Apple has an apparently unbeatable lead. Palm has not announced its store yet (as RIM has) but the Pre is iTunes compatible…weird thing. Is it a play for the true alternative to the iPhone or is it something else like someone getting ready to buy Palm? Who knows. But in any case, Nokia failed miserably with its store, RIM’s success is yet to be seen, and Windows’ App store, well …, will be Windows: late and not so impressive.

This battle brings memories of the glorious days of the RAZR, where everybody had one but Moto still sold 100M phones until it fell off a cliff with no true follow up. Will the iPhone follow the same fate? and the Pre, HTC-magic, G2, Moto-Q, STORM, Dare, and all sorts of weird unimaginative names – all probably registered trademarks – being the “me too’s” will also fall into oblivion soon? Check out a great comparison here.

A real mobile internet is what is needed. Check my other post What’s next after the iPhone and tell me what you think.

Enjoy.

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Comments:

3 Comments on The battle for the Smart Phone is on!

  1. Md Abdul Halim on Mon, 15th Jun 2009 1:47 am
  2. Nice content and nice designed. I already bookmarked your site to check what’s coming next.

  3. lfllmg on Tue, 16th Jun 2009 9:20 am
  4. Thanks for the comment. I hope to keep bringing you back to read.

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