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.

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Comments on “When It Comes To Today's Cell Phones, The Hardware Is The Easy Part”

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John Smith (user link) says:

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.

some old guy (user link) says:

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.

some old guy (user link) says:

Re: 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)

R. Miles says:

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.

David says:

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….

Brad Hubbard (profile) says:

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.

Scott Lithgow (user link) says:

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.

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:

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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