Last Monday, the Canadian company Research in Motion (RIM) announced their new iPad competitor, the Playbook. Â While no firm dates or pricing information has been released, there has been a lot of early interest in this new device. Â Later this month, Microsoft will be introducing the Windows Phone 7 OS that looks to be a major improvement to the previous Windows Mobile devices. Â With all of the players stepping up to the plate, will the iPhone be able to maintain its relevance in the mobile market?
The iPhone has already lost most of its dominance in the Smartphone space to Google’s Android OS. Â The OS is free to licence, and has multiple phone manufacturers producing great phones that users are buying like hotcakes. Apple’s corporate theory has never been to be the biggest, but to be the best, and I think that this is where Apple will continue to excel. Â Similar to luxury car makers, it does not matter if they sell more cars than everyone, as long as they make money and are perceived as the best. Â This has been Apple’s strategy for their computer business, and they have been wildly successful in this market. Â As well, competition is always great for companies, and we have already seen evidence of the competition between the two platforms benefiting us iPhone users. Â In the end, I think Android will become the most used platform by 2012.
As mentioned above, RIM is looking to make its way back into the game, after many observers counted them as down and out in themobile phone space. Â The new OS that RIM is using with the Playbook will soon make its way into Blackberry Smartphones. Â From the videos shown at the event, this new OS looks like a step in the right direction for RIM, as the current OS seems antiquated when compared with Android or iOS. Â This could mean Â a resurgence with of the Blackberry outside of the corporate world. Â The key feature that the Playbook has, that will set it apart from Apple, is the tight integration with your current blackberry. Â Apple will need to maintain its push into the corporate world to try to steal some of RIM’s pie.
In my opinion, the biggest competitor that the iPhone faces is Windows Phone 7. Â After seeing previews of the Windows Phone 7 (which I still think is a terrible name for a system), it looks incredibly nice. Â The home screen of the Windows Phone isn’t just a simple list of apps, but a variety of widgets that contain information for the user. Â As well, with the Windows Phone syncing with the Xbox so well, it could pull many of the current iPhone users away by providing a better platform for game developers. Â The iPhone has always been the king of gaming in the mobile market, but it looks like there finally will be a good competitor for the gamers. Â Apple’s Game Center is a great example of how mobile gaming can evolve. Â I believe that this space will be the major battlefield in years to come for all of the mobile phone makers.
All in all we won’t be able to see what happens until all of these platforms are released or reach maturity, but I think 2011 will be an interesting year in the Mobile space. Â I believe that if Apple becomes complacent with how the iPhone currently functions, it will face a similar fate that Blackberry faces now. Â Luckily for us, that isn’t the way Apple usually works, and I’m sure Steve Jobs has a few tricks still up his sleeve that will keep the iPhone a competitive player. Â I’m interested to hear what everybody’s opinions are on this mobile phone war so make sure to make yourselves heard in the comments about your theories and views on the major players.