Enterprise Mobility: Mobile Device Deathwatch: 10 Products That Shouldn't Survive to 2011
Mobile Device Deathwatch: 10 Products That Shouldnt Survive to 2011
by Don Reisinger
The Dell Streak isn't even available yet, but that doesn't mean that it should see 2011. The device, which will run Google's Android operating system, might hold some value to consumers. But with a small, 5-inch display and absolutely no hype, it lacks the kind of value that devices like the iPad enjoy. Plus, it's made by Dell, which has had an extremely difficult time attracting consumers in the past few years. It might be time to say goodbye to the Streak before it has a chance to fizzle out.
HPs WebOS Tablet
When Hewlett-Packard acquired Palm, the company made it clear that it wanted to capitalize on WebOS. Recently, HP announced that a WebOS tablet would be coming to store shelves. Palm lovers might be excited to get their hands on a WebOS tablet, but the chances of the average consumer wanting one seem slim. With a Windows-based Slate coming in fall 2010, HP should focus its efforts there and forget about WebOS on the tablet.
Amazon Kindle (in Its Current Form)
If Amazon.com discontinued the Kindle e-reader, the company would be mocked for making one of the worst decisions in the industry's history. But there is little debating that it needs to improve the Kindle to more adequately compete with Apple's iPad. Realizing that, it wouldn't be a stretch to predict that Amazon.com will deliver a new Kindle to replace the current model either by the end of this year, or by early 2011. The Kindle name will undoubtedly live on, but a new version, complete with a touch screen and browser, is what Amazon.com customers will be looking for.
The iPod is the device that brought Apple back to mainstream popularity. And its pedigree in the tech space cannot be underestimated. But it's about time for Apple to realize that the iPod Classic just isn't what consumers want any longer. Not only has the iPhone almost made the iPod obsolete, but the iPod Touch has made just about every other iPod version obsolete. At this point, it seems rather likely that Apple will keep the Shuffle and the iPod Touch, and get rid of the Classic in the coming months. It will be an end of an era. But it's an era that needs to come to a close.
Windows XP Netbooks
Trying to find a Windows XP netbook is extremely difficult nowadays. They are still out there, but with Microsoft putting more pressure than ever on vendors, it won't be long before consumers will need to choose between a Windows 7 model or a device running Linux. Admittedly, the loss of Windows XP netbooks won't bother most folks. But for those enterprise customers that still rely on Windows XP, it may be bittersweet.
Microsoft Zune HD
Microsoft has been trying desperately over the past few years to make its Zune series relevant in the PMP (personal media player) market. Each step of the way, it has failed. And now that PMPs are losing their value to consumers, it may only be a matter of time before Microsoft ditches the Zune HD for similar functionality in its Windows Phone 7 devices. The consumer market wants integration. By offering the Zune HD, a relatively unpopular device, as well as Windows Phone 7, Microsoft isn't giving customers what they want. Look for the Zune HD to be discontinued sooner rather than later.
The Sony Reader is the also-ran in the e-reader market. The device, which was actually one of the first products to bring ebooks to consumers, lacks the value that the Amazon Kindle, the Apple iPad and even the Barnes & Noble Nook offer. With such a small number of users compared with the more popular counterparts, it doesn't seem reasonable for Sony to continue selling it. Of course, that doesn't mean Sony will discontinue the device any time soon, but based on market factors, it wouldn't be a bad move.
HP is still selling its iPaq PDAs to both consumers and enterprise customers that want to be able to check e-mail, surf the Web and perform several other tasks without being on a smartphone. To some, that might make sense. But considering that the vast majority of customers want a single device that can do all that and place calls too, it's hard to see why HP would keep the iPaq alive much longer. And then there's HP's desire to bring WebOS smartphones to the market. Simply put, the iPaq seems outdated.
The Old-Fashioned Notebook
Most notebook designs have lacked any sense of aesthetic appeal or sophisticated design combined with effective features. For the most part, they have been black, grey and dull. Apple is one of the few companies that has bucked that trend by delivering well-designed laptops. Luckily for consumers, HP, Dell and Acer have observed Apple's resulting success and are now starting to see the value of delivering well-designed notebooks. Going into 2011, look for the outdated, ugly notebooks of old to give way to beautiful laptops as originally popularized by Apple. It's good for vendors and it's good for customers.
This might be controversial among Apple fans, but a clear view of what's really needed in today's marketplace reveals that Apple's MacBook should be discontinued. The computer, while well-designed and functional, is a middle-of-the-road product for Apple. It's not as lightweight or mobile as the iPad, and it lacks the power of the MacBook Pro. And with a middle-of-the-road price, it's not the best choice for budget-conscious customers. The MacBook has a long and storied history, but its time is up.