The handheld market is wide open. Each vendor will want to convince you that it’s the one to invest in, but as it stands now, there are few predictions that are carrying the authority that large purchasers look for before they decide where to spend the marketing dollars.
I’ve come across several predictions in the IT news stream, some which inspire confidence and some which don’t.
Here are a few examples:
This study shows that the iPhone will be losing market share over time, as Android picks up pace and Symbian starts to fall from it’s legacy lead position.
These two studies from ChangeWave show varying results, but neither plots Android, which, I think shows that ChangeWave doesn’t have a clue where the market is going either.
While the Gartner study is surely more authoritative, the fact that these technology companies can be loathe to reveal upcoming products before their time, the volatility of the market at this time, an uncertain recovery as well as several legal challenges add up to a market that is basically wide open.
This is both good and bad. It’s good for consumers who are looking for choice and competition among vendors, as these will drive down prices. It’s bad for consumers who are looking for a handheld that they know is going to be widely supported and is guaranteed to come with a load of support for a long time.
Perhaps the upshot of it all is that there are three facts to consider before making a thoughtful handheld purchase.
1) The Symbian OS and the BlackBerry are losing ground. The touch sensitive interface is where everyone is now going. BlackBerrys will continue to fall in price and lose market acceptance.
2) The iPhone is controlled by Apple. Apple has a long history of draconian style decision making when it comes to their products, in this case, it is a question of whether you trust Apple to handle the entry of Android to the market with grace.
3) Android is in. Google, the company that develops the Android framework, has the money and market power to keep Android in the game long enough to make a foothold, as well as backup companies like Motorola and Verizon that are pushing products to market based on it. Motorola and Verizon also have the technical support logistics to overcome initial market shock as the bugs and hiccups are worked out of the initial models.
Whatever you decide, here’s to innovation!