Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012

In short it means the mobile phone industry is in a very good place. If every player has to keep making radical changes in order to advance, tread water or even lose market share less quickly then it speaks volumes for the innovation currently taking place. In fact it is no surprise that - given the convenience of the form factor and mass market simplicity of the software - longer running 'computers' such as desktops, laptops and tablets are taking their cues from advancement in the smartphone sector.


Better still the smartphone and computing sectors in general are progressing in very positive ways. This time last year it seemed iOS and Android would dominate mobile devices, that Microsoft and Palm were too late, RIM washed up and ARM chips unstoppable. Simple as this arrangement would be it would curtail innovation. Instead as we approach November 2011 Apple is arguably treading water and playing catch up with Android features, Google is unifying its platform though risking the wrath of its partners after the backfiring acquisition of Motorola, Microsoft is on a roll with Mango and Windows 8, RIM at last has a shiny new OS, Nokia is getting back in the game and Sony is no doubt about to throw the full force of its financial and multimedia muscle behind its recouped mobile brand.

Even webOS might not hit the scrap heap with Sony, Amazon and HTC all sniffing around and even Palm-breaker HP has declared it will remain in the PC and mobile sector and fight the hardware fight using Windows 8. The playing field is certainly far from even, but at least it is no longer two jocks stealing everyone else's lunch money.

All of which means tension is rising and desperation is creeping to the surface. Apple will be forced to laud relatively minor software and design changes for the next 12 months and battery woes suggest iOS5 was rushed out the door. Google is fighting a losing battle against patents and trying to stop partners from getting skittish about Motorola hardware. RIM is slashing PlayBook prices yet still getting nowhere, Sony is paying $1.5bn just to get back into the limelight and famously quiet Finnish giant Nokia is taking a few too many tips from Steve Ballmer and screaming without reason – all the while it is quietly building a new platform, Meltemi and hiring webOS people.

As if the pot didn't need stirring any more Intel could finally be ready to rival ARM, Amazon is after everyone but Apple and new Apple CEO Tim Cook has released the iPhone 3GS free on contract as he reminds everyone: "We believe that over time all phones become smartphones. This market is an enormous opportunity."

It sounds manic because it is manic. 2011 is the year everyone changed, yet everything stayed the same. In 2012 it will be different…


October 31, 2011, 10:41 am

The way I see it is with so many changes occurring, so frequently and so large, the requirement is not known/understood.

This is leading to new devices being launched frequently making the previous ones, only release months ago, obsolete.

Apart from wasting time and money, this is seriously bad for our natural resources and the environment.

Manufacturers need to stop, take a step back to evaluate what they are trying to achieve - not release handset after handset that are premature and forces the public to do their testing, at the public's expense.

At present, I cannot think of any handset that really does it for me. I have tried them all. I've ditched them all.

I have gone back to my 6310i. The weight, size, battery life and call quality is astonishing.


October 31, 2011, 2:51 pm

Another insightful article.

I personally think that all companies smartphones' hardware have reached their peak keeping the acceptable form factor which is pocket size. The future is in the software.

In order for Apple to replicate the success of Microsoft's worldwide Windows PC share, Tim Cook should also subsidize the iPhone 3GS (contract free is not enough) for huge markets like India and China (a combine population of 2.5 billion).

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