Editorial: And Then There Were Four… Errr… Three?

I just scanned through the blogs looking at all the opinions on the WebOS ejection from HP and found a common theme, all of the sudden, everyone is giving everyone else credit for something. The headlines read, “And Then There Were Four…” like WebOS was a major player before today? We struggled to find a way for WebOS to make it’s comeback, we really did, and we came up with the Corporate Plan – where HP could have attacked their corporate customers and pushed the OS to them – and done very well. Honestly though, HP tried to be Apple – without the iPhone.

There really are only 3 players in the industry right now. That’s all there will be until the next generation of RIM devices hits the market. BB OS7 isn’t enough to keep them going and the device prices are just too high to compete with the players already in the circle. This is where we see the OS wars heading from here…

Microsoft Windows Phone – Microsoft will roll out Mango (7.11 or 7.5 whatever you want to call it officially) to the public this fall. It will include many features that were missing in the original Windows Phone and have some new hardware profiles to boot. These hardware profiles might even include some of the original leaked designs like the HTC Apollo that were originally ‘launching’ back in late 2010? While the processor may be upgraded to a dual-core, keeping the single core processors running might keep the devices costs down and make them a better value for end users. Microsoft needs to penetrate the market with something big – and a maximum price point of $100-150 would probably go a long way towards that. Hopefully their partnership with Nokia will end up bringing every US carrier 3-4 device choices – I’m thinking a freebie 3.5-3.7″ touch only device, a $50 3.5-3.7″ keyboard driven device, a $100 4″ touch device and maybe that monster 4.5-4.7″ device that we’ve been waiting an eternity for…

Apple iOS – Nothing needs to change with Apple. They keep rolling along, upgrading, moving and making the product better. Better this, better that, nicer screens, better cameras… Just keep on keepin on. I would say something that needs some serious attention is the interface to the PC. Please make iTunes work better. I purchased a 2GB iPod for my wife a while back – and iTunes was a bugger! It didn’t work well and it sucked – period. I understand with iOS5 the cloud comes into play more so we might never have to see iTunes again, but I’m sure it will still have to be there somewhere.

Hopefully, Apple will keep up their game and continue the innovation. They are doing a great job so far, and I have a feeling they will keep it up for a long time to come.

Google Android – Well, this was an interesting week for the Googlemeisters… They bought themselves a phone maker. Are they trying to be Apple? Are they trying to secure more patents to do battle? Are they just stupid? Did they see this as a way to start embedding advertising in phones like the new Kindle? I don’t even think they know why they did this. It’s one of those crazy, have punk’d, daft moves that keeps everyone guessing. What’s next for Android though?

I see Android going after the three screen concept faster than you can say, “Howdy, Steve!” They already have Google TV, tablets and phones. The are making a move on Motorola (which by the way makes a mean cable box) and while they are at it, why not utilize some market cap and purchase Sony Entertainment? You could then leverage the Playstation 3, Google TV and Motorola’s cableboxes to be the ultimate media experience on the planet – sans computer. That makes their 3 screen concept the “3T’s” – Television, Tablet, Telephone…

RIM – I wanted to pay homage to RIM before I write them off the planet. BlackBerry devices were amazing in their day – and frankly, if data prices keep going up, they just might make it back. Their back end compression is amazing and their push notification system is still the envy of the world. The problem is, BBs are known for their extremely long battery life, great keyboard and their durability. Ever since the first Storm him the market in 2009, the company has been releasing device after device that was met with utter disappointment. If it wasn’t the software, it was cheap hardware. If it wasn’t the ‘new technology’ it was buggy performance. They just haven’t gotten it right for a few cycles now.

RIM got too much into gimmicks and not enough into what got them there – innovation. The Pearl and Curve lines made it into the hands of quite a few users. Unfortunately, they have lost almost all those users to Droids or iPhones in the last year or two. When you consider that 77% of corporate users chose a BlackBerry device in 2008, today’s number of 19% really shows how far RIM has fallen. When the corporate customers leave, RIM will fail.

I’m not saying that RIM will close up shop tomorrow, but unless their QNX devices hit this winter and do something amazing that nobody has ever seen, they shouldn’t survive the winter. The big question left for RIM will be if they close up shop, what happens to all those BIS and BES customers accounts?

So, now that I have all that off my chest, lets get back to the fun! Where do we go from here? We all go to the store every 6 months and see what’s new – that’s where. Will HTC make a Sense OS? Will Microsoft climb back on top? Will Android get sued out of existence? We’ll keep you posted…



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