When It Comes To Today's Cell Phones, The Hardware Is The Easy Part

from the new-markets,-old-problems dept

Faced with stagnating sales as consumers upgrade their computers with less frequency, several PC makers are eyeing the smartphone market as their next growth target. It makes sense to them: their technology is getting smaller and smaller, while demand for more powerful handsets is growing. And smartphones are basically becoming tiny laptops, right?

Well, not exactly.

Smartphones and computers might be sharing more components and technology these days, but just as the PC hardware market became a commodity one, the handset hardware market is moving that way, too. The hardware is the easy part: there are dozens of ODMs around that are more than willing to design and build handsets for anybody with the cash. The real innovation these days is in software -- and designing great mobile user interfaces, as well as applications and services, will determine who wins in the market. Consider the iPhone: its tech specs, perhaps beyond its touchscreen, aren't head and shoulders above other high-end handsets, and are surpassed by a number of competitors' devices. But what's won so many fans is its software, in particular its user interface, its web browser and the App Store. Making the leap from PC to smartphone isn't an easy one -- just ask the likes of Microsoft, whose dominance of the desktop hasn't lead to a similar position for Windows Mobile.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Jesse, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 10:22pm

    What is windows mobile?

    Perhaps...point in case?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 10:57pm

    "But what's won so many fans is its software"

    The damn thing can't even copy-paste. Neither does it let you forward SMS's.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    John Smith, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 11:10pm

    comment from a reader

    I read your post twice and I completely agree with you on the point that the frequency of the upgradation of personal computers and laptops are lesser in comparison to that of an iPhone user. One of the most possible reason may be the increasing popularity of the handsets with powerful technologies. But it is a very known fact that there are some wide gaps between an iPhone and a PC.

     

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  4.  
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    Mike, Mar 16th, 2009 @ 11:14pm

    comments

    I doubt the interface design and software on the iPhone played a major part in its sucess. Marketing from Apple made it happen. The device has its novelties and usefulness, I do not disagree with that, but without the marketing it had, I doubt it would've been as popular as it is today.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 12:55am

    Despite the hype around iPhone, Windows Mobile smartphones had 45% higher sales worldwide in 2008 than the iPhone, according to Gartner, and ranked third overall behind Symbian phones and BlackBerries.

    http://apple20.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2009/03/12/iphone-sales-grew-245-in-2008-gartn er/

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Fowl, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 1:15am

    Oh. My. God.

    Bill Gates was right.

     

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  7.  
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    some old guy, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 3:37am

    Re:

    I'm sorry, but gartners report is useless, as it includes too many devices in the "smartphone" category.

    In order to see the real marketshare, you need a seperate class of phones. One that has "a real browser capable of browsing the real internet".

    All those other things are glorified pagers masquerading as "smart"phones. (some of those smartphones have a lower resolution screen than my stupidphone, "RAZR", thats not too smart if you ask me)

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    some old guy, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 3:40am

    Re: comments

    I doubt the interface design and software on the iPhone played a major part in its sucess. Marketing from Apple made it happen

    Hrmm, I think you're mistaken, actually. I don't remember seeing any marketing material for the iPhone pre-launch at all. All I remember is hype from the press. Why was the press all over it like hotcakes? cause of the revolutionary interface and software.

     

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  9.  
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    R. Miles, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 3:41am

    Windows mobile is software?

    Okay, yes, it is, but not to me it's not. It's a system based to push more phone services than applications.

    I should know. I use it on my BlackJack II. I'm not a fan of it at all. It's clunky, definitely not user friendly or customizable, and it lacks features I want, not what they want me to have.

    6.2 is in the works, and it'll be interesting to see what changes they'll make. I'm hoping they'll create a home screen manager system that's easy to use, despite not having a touch screen.

    As far as Apple goes, there's no way in hell I'd support that company who will instantly shut off any app it wants, especially after having paid for it.

    While I do agree the smartphone usage has increased, cell companies are going to have to realize customization is the key here.

    Just because I buy an AT&T plan doesn't mean I want 50% of my phone icons to be AT&T links to overpriced music, apps, or services.

    GREAT software is the key.

     

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  10.  
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    Scott Lithgow, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 5:16am

    Hardware easy.. why does it fail

    My expectations for hardware must be way too high then as I do look back on the old days of mobile phones when you could drop them or actually put them in a briefcase or pocket with other items and then not worry about the repair bill.

    I think that the durability of hardware these days is shocking.

    My of my iPone chums told me how good there replacement service was (replaced in store on the spot) but they should be made to last the contract.

     

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  11.  
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    Ppitstop, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 5:20am

    Innovation

    Smart phones certainly are one of the few areas where you can still get killer apps.

    I think the last killer app I got for a PC (that is something that just made things so much easier and made a big difference) was Winfax Pro everything else seems to be just incremental

     

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  12.  
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    David, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 8:33am

    Re: Windows mobile is software?

    It is software. A special type of software, known as an operating system. It was not designed to be the end-all, just the starting point. If you want to customize your windows phone, there are thousands of programs out there, including some that will turn it into an iClone... Hell, it can even disable copy/paste, if you want....

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: comments

    or the press was on it because it was the phone that god almight Steve Jobs blessed and produced and was therefore the greatest thing ever imagined

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Gene Cavanaugh, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 11:52am

    PC to smart phone

    History again - when the first pocket-sized books were introduced, they were so popular that some wondered if it was the end of the full sized book. Ever smaller books appeared, and were hailed as the next big thing.
    Finally, we have solidified on a market for normal books and not-too-small pocket books. The tiny books have largely gone away.
    It will be the same in the computer market - we will eventually settle on a "normal" PC, with a smaller, but strong market in iPhone-type appliances.
    For now, though, iPhones and Blackberrys are "IN", so naturally, for a while they are the "next big thing".

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Brad Hubbard, Mar 17th, 2009 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Windows mobile is software?

    I can understand your disappointment with your device. The Blackjack is a notoriously underpowered device. However to claim that it is "not customizable" and "lacks the features you want" shows you've not really investigated.

    There are more than 100,000 windows mobile applications. You are running a bunch of custom software from ATT, but they cannot limit what you install on it. Go get some software for whatever you want!

    Also, WM6.5 is coming out at the end of the year, but it will NOT be put onto your device, so don't hold your breath.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Thomas Whitney, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 11:11am

    Here some more information about cell devices and digital security in a question and answer format: http://www.justaskgemalto.com/en/communicating

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    justin baker, Apr 1st, 2009 @ 8:47am

    rating the site

    this site helped me for my report on cell phones. everything was very organized.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2010 @ 8:23am

    tru dat

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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