The Future

Let's kick off on a controversial note: there really couldn't have been a worse company to make the revolutionary mobile platform breakthrough that is mobile OS X than Apple.

Apple fans I hear your cries of protest but the reasons are indisputable: had anyone created such a wonderful platform - be it Symbian, RIM or even Microsoft - by now it would be available on multiple handsets across every form factor, price range and network. Physical keyboard? No problem. Budget PAYG? Sure. Virgin, Tesco or even IKEA virtual networks? Absolutely. By contrast Apple keeps its tech in-house, maintains high margins, premium global pricing and restrictive telco contracts.
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Of course against this is an equally valid statement: no one but Apple was able to come up with something as ground breaking as mobile OS X. In fact, the market had been stagnating for some time and - love it or loathe it for company, attitude or representational reasons - the iPhone is the reason we're seeing better handsets from RIM (Storm), Samsung (i8510), Nokia (E71) and 3 (the wonderful budget INQ1).
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As for Android it hasn't quite happened yet, but it will. The T-Mobile G1 wasn't the knockout device we had hoped, but it is going to be a massive sales success given the platform's potential could be seen by Stevie Wonder... sleeping. It's extremely early days for Android, possibly too early and - as this analysis shows - the software still has some way to go to match the polish of Apple's near two year old mobile OS X.

This isn't the end of the story however - not by a long shot. Mobile OS X may have made us all sit up and listen and Android appeals to our most hippie ideals but a heavily redesigned Windows Mobile 6.5 will arrive in 2009 as will the biggie: Windows Mobile 7. Next year may be too early to see the fruits of a fully open source Symbian platform, but mobile editions of Google Chrome, Opera and Mozilla Fennec (mobile Firefox) will continue to heat up the browser space.

In sum, mobile OS X may be a clear winner in the battle fought out today, but unless Apple radically alters its restrictive approach to the smartphone marketplace (and business practices, in general) it looks certain that its remarkable, revolutionary, game changing platform will lose the war...


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