Smartphone Musings.

Chris Botting

A long time ago (early 2000’s) before Google was a powerhouse and Apple was a mass market media darling there were two major players in smartphones – Microsoft and Blackberry (Ok, maybe Palm to a certain degree as well). They had the marketplace covered and produced solid smartphones which had quite a few of the features of the modern day devices (cameras, calendars, apps, contacts, instant messaging) although the experience was a little mundane and uninspiring (and non-touch).

Fast forward to the year 2007 when Apple crashed the party and upended all that was peaceful in the staid smartphone market with their touch-enabled device, the iPhone. Now, Apple weren’t the first to the smartphone party, nor were they the first to introduce touch, but they did meld their usual user-friendliness and marketing savvy to upend the entire market and introduce a more consumer-friendly device. The iPhone, and the whole touch phenomenon changed the landscape for smartphones. Out with the old and in with the new!

Fast forward once more to 2009 when Google bust down the door of the smartphone party with their introduction of an touch-enabled open-source OS called Android. Not the sexiest interface, nor was it the most user-friendly but what it lacked in pizazz it made up for with the promise if being open to the people and having Google’s backing, which would ensure it would become bigger and better as time went on. So far, the flagship android device seems to be Google’s Nexus One.

Also in 2009 Palm came back fighting by introducing the much-hyped Pre smartphone. Unfortunately for palm it’s quite a bit smaller than any of the other companies and it’ll be tough to move the numbers that the other big players can. Have to give Palm props though as they’ve developed a beautiful phone with a very slick interface utilizing touch capabilities and a slide-out keyboard.

Since the introduction of the iPhone and all the other touch devices the Blackberry brand has held it’s own, even introducing it’s own touch device which never really caught on with the mass market. Microsoft, however has taken a severe beating in market share and as of yesterday has essentially pulled the plug on it’s old smartphone operating system. Microsoft haven’t given up however, the new Windows Mobile 7 series looks to be a complete departure from anything they’ve ever introduced before and my hunch is it’ll be a gamble that will pay off.

It seems every few months someone introduces a phone/OS combo that makes me really want to trade in my trusty Blackberry. What stops me? Well, I know that in another 3 or 4 months there will be another phone that will make me glad I waited. And now, with the unveiling of the new Microsoft mobile OS I think I’ll hold off a bit longer just to see how things play out. The battle for our mobile dollars is heating up and there’s never been the amount of competition we have today.

My blackberry does all that I need for now, but the grass is always greener on the other side in tech land.


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