Searching for Quality Apps, Innovative Devices

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-11-05 Print this article Print

5. There are limitations

Unfortunately, every major mobile phone on the market is being limited by the rules set in place by carriers. Remember Google Voice? It wasn't an isolated event when Apple refused to accept Google Voice for the App Store. Any VOIP (voice over IP) app that attempts to connect to AT&T's 3G network can't have access to the App Store. AT&T, like other carriers that have similar rules in place for other devices, is worried users will opt for VOIP rather than place calls over their carrier's cell tower. It's an understandable fear. But it also limits the value of using these "next-gen" devices.

6. The old is still good

Although the allure of touch-screen mobile phones is strong, the big companies in the mobile phone space don't want users to realize that a simple flip phone with a nice camera and video recording capabilities is still a worthwhile device. Does it have all the bells and whistles? Of course not. But it still provides value. And in many cases those phones have some of the best reception on the market.

7. Follow the leader

After Apple revolutionized the mobile phone industry, most of its competitors have been content to simply mimic what Apple has done with their own mobile business models. That has led to the mobile industry becoming more derivative. There are undoubtedly some new features that have made their way into products such as the Palm Pre and Android-based devices, but for the most part it's just more of the same.

8. The enterprise is suffering

Although the BlackBerry has been the leader in the enterprise for a long time, RIM has made it abundantly clear that it intends to compete with the iPhone. But as the iPhone continues its dominance in the consumer market and its competitors try to keep up, what's left for the corporate world? The hope is that many of these new devices will start appealing more to business users. But for now, many of the mobile phone vendors in the space are focusing on consumers and the corporate world is left wondering when it will finally benefit.

9. The quick power drain

Almost every vendor in the mobile phone space makes big promises about battery life. But experience has shown that they rarely deliver. For example, the Palm Pre experienced some of the worst battery troubles of any of the new-generation devices on the market. It was a real problem at launch that caused many users to complain. Palm has addressed the problem, but the damage was done.

10. The future looks boring

Over the past year, the amount of innovation in the mobile phone market has been less than stellar. For the most part, the ability to multitask is what has dominated new ideas. And there doesn't seem to be much more to look forward to. For now, vendors are trying to determine how they can catch up to the iPhone. Windows Mobile 7, the next "big" mobile release from Microsoft, looks to be more of the same.

It's unfortunate, but it's how this business works.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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