Which wireless phone will rule? Five years ago if we asked this question we would have been kicking around networks names like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint or T-Mobile. We never really thought much about handset makers. If we did we would talk about strong brands like Nokia, Rim or assorted other handset makers. Today however the wireless marketplace looks completely different. Lets explore.
Today the leaders are companies like Google with their Android or Apple with their iPhone. These are not even wireless companies. Today its all about smart phones instead of regular handsets. Who will win this new race we suddenly find ourselves on?
As an industry analyst over the last 25 years I have learned that the wireless and telecom industry completely changes every few years. Let me give you an example. Long distance. Ten years ago AT&T, MCI and Sprint were interrupting our dinner with telemarketing sales calls. Remember those? Today there is no more stand along long distance industry. A few years ago Verizon acquired MCI and SBC acquired AT&T and took their name. Poof the industry changed.
Five years ago even the wireless industry looked different. At that time the word iPhone didn’t even exist. Today iPhone and Android rule the rapidly growing and changing industry.
Will they continue to lead this changing industry? Too early to tell, but I can say they wont be alone. When Apple jumped in customers loved it and thought that was all they needed. However when Google jumped in they were successful too. In fact today they are outselling Apple. Smart phone customers love one or the other. If that is the case there is plenty of room for more OS.
The smart phone market is rapidly growing, but is still young and there is still plenty of opportunity and devices to sell. Different customers have different needs and like different operating systems. With that said there is plenty of room.
Palm for instance got everyone excited with their new OS, but it hasn’t really moved the meter. RIM Blackberry recently introduced their new version. It was much better than the previous version. It will attract or keep many existing users and as long as it keeps getting better may continue to succeed.
Nokia has their own smart phone software called Symbian. Yes even a regular handset maker has a smart phone operating system. You didnt know that? That is because their brand says regular handset, not smart phone. They have actually been in the smart phone business before Apple and Google. They have to update their brand as well as their technology. Keeping the brand up to date is crucial.
Motorola was given up for dead years ago. Their brand was just about gone. However it has done a great job of revitalizing itself by working with Google and developing their new Droid phones sold on Verizon Wireless network. They are doing well and are now going to expand to other networks.
Microsoft is launching their new operating system called Windows Phone 7. They have actually been in the smart phone sector for ten years believe it or not. Yes they have been struggling trying to carve out a niche. They grew to about 10% market share, then when Google and Apple did their thing a few years ago Microsoft fell to 5% market share.
What is this new Microsoft OS like? That is the question. Will it be as good as Apple and Google? Will it be close like RIM? Or will it struggle like Palm? Early reviews say it is leap years ahead of the last version. That is the good news. However it may not be better than other popular OS in the marketplace.
If not then Microsoft can tinker with it and improve it and try to capture the number three space in the marketplace and grow from there.
You have to find the best operating system for your needs. Get all the features you need and use. All OS are not created equal. Some have features that others dont. Its not all about putting music on the handset.
Sometimes its about other valuable features like the Memo Pad feature so you can carry the same info on your phone as you carry in your Microsoft Outlook email program. Most dont offer this. Some do, but not well. A few do it well. If that is what you need then your decision is easier than you think. Just consider devices that use that OS. See it is actually simple.
There are more OS in the market to day all trying to become the next star. Who will lead five years from today? Does it really matter? If you are an investor the answer is yes. However if you are a consumer the answer is no.
Dont follow everyone else because everyone has different needs or desires. Learn what you need and what you desire and find the right OS for you. It takes time up front, but you will be happy you did. And remember each is continually updated so what you use next year may be different than what you use this year. Wireless is rapidly changing and you just have to keep updated.