iPhone Is Standard

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-10-09 Print this article Print

I'd argue, and please don't hate me for this, all you Google, Nokia and RIM lovers, that Apple's iPhone was the tipping point and that it is the smart-phone standard.

Users like the iPhone for how the hardware and software works; they don't care a whit about the underlying operating system that enables the gadget to work as well as it does.

Carriers realize this, and don't tell me they wouldn't love to join AT&T in selling it. Now if Apple can work out deals with other carriers to sell iPhones, the point would be moot. Apple does love having control, yes?

Whether Android "tips" the smart-phone market into standardization or not isn't important. What's important is how the carriers embrace the change.

There may well be a free-for-all land grab for the Linux-based phones based on Android or operating systems from the LiMo Foundation or even market leader Symbian, which is now controlled by Nokia. Enderle told me:

Android, iPhone, [RIM BlackBerry] Bold etc. are addressing the product shortcomings and WiMax will be a forcing function, bringing the costs into affordable range. The end result will be a massive change in how we use the devices and the market size for the resulting offering.  

Fine, but the iPhone will remain the most popular among smart phones, especially once carriers besides AT&T begin to sell it. If G1 sales explode, especially, expect Apple to begin selling iPhones through other carriers. That will make for an interesting arms race.

Look for Google to try to extend the sphere of Android's influence on other computing systems, such as consumer electronics devices. I could see Android in gaming consoles and computerized entertainment centers, maybe MP3 players. Ubiquity in the home, not just on the phone, is Android's best bet.

eWEEK meanwhile is anxiously awaiting its review copy of the Android-based G1 from T-Mobile. Check back by Oct. 16 for our report on the gadget. I played around with the device at the launch in New York and found it to be fast and fun, but hardly game-changing.


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