Battle for the Mobile Future Comes into Focus

There are two developments that will mean the future of smartphones (less so tablets) will be dominated by three companies: Apple, Google and Microsoft.

Nokia’s deal today with Microsoft means that Nokia is now a maker of Windows Phones and Microsoft will own those developers who can anticipate a potentially much larger market.

The ability of the QNX-powered BlackBerry Playbook to run Android apps — eventually RIM handsets will run QNX — means that RIM will also go away as a separate developer platform, in all likelihood, in favor of Android compatibility.

Apple will of course remain a significant player in the market and the primary innovator among the group. Nokia’s Symbian and MeeGo are effectively dead although not technically so.

It’s very unlikely that WebOS (unless it’s open-sourced, as I’ve argued) will play any kind of significant role in the future. It may have modest success with its handsets and greater success with its new TouchPad but it won’t be a major player.

Samsung has its own OS (Bada) and simply because of Samsung’s scale there may be developers on that platform. The European carriers want a separate OS but are unlikely going to be unable to develop one that consumers want. Thus they will need to build on top of Android.

Accordingly the battle for the mobile future has just become much clearer. It’s Android vs. iOS vs. Windows — Period.

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7 Responses to “Battle for the Mobile Future Comes into Focus”

  1. Tim Cohn says at

    Re: “Accordingly the battle for the mobile future has just become much clearer. It’s Android vs. iOS vs. Windows — Period.”

    Alternatively: “1st place… a new Cadillac, 2nd place a set of steak knives… 3rd place… you’re fired!”

  2. Christopher Carfi says at

    @Tim Coffee is for closers. 🙂

  3. Tim Cohn says at

    @Christopher Indeed!

  4. Stefan Popadiin says at

    Android is still very young. I quick shuffle in their market place and through users wish lists and forums will leave you with this impression.
    While MS stepped forward to Thin computing (finally) and I heard that the new windows os version will support “Service in the chip”, hence can make any dumb device smart.
    In between those, think about consumer habits dynamics and how smart phones are indeed a revamp of the old PDAs. One inevitably shall end at the conclusion that a personal device shall connect us to anything anywhere and do everything.
    For this you need familiar desktop OS, mobile OS, established mobile device producer and the framework to stream computing to smaller devices. I think MS has most of it.
    On the other hand Android and Linux at all, and other phone producers, service providers, have a long way to go in standardization before they can make it for the masses. While MS has this unified knowledge already. It will be interesting to see if MS shall lead this revolution.
    Apple as the best in this game, may as well surprise us with truly mobile digital experience.

  5. Greg Sterling says at

    I think that Nokia and MSFT will produce some nice phones together. Some of the leaked “concepts” are appealing. But there are questions about whether the two companies can truly execute here at the speed they need to make this really work.

    I’m not someone, however, who dismisses this partnership as DOA as some already have.

  6. Stefan Popadiin says at

    DOA or not, it makes no difference! MSFT shall push its incompetencies away fast enough to gain some portion of the market. Nokia is the most suitable here, because OVI has reached some share of the masses, but its already an exhausted concept. Its continuation is with a windows enabled phone to become a consumer standard as the desktop have. Nokia has just nothing to lose, OVI store has lost the game with Android, although it tries to keep up with most used applications. MS stand point makes no difference to Nokia’s speed. They will produce the device that connects with other devices (like the desktop windows does). It will be affordable phone with great versatility of usage. While MS will show best efforts to make the mobile windows into successful mobile-desk. Whatever the name, if MS succeeds, it will be a game changer in many fields like search, voice, identification and network participation.
    MS has been working for years on some of those areas even without bothering on commercial application. I dont know what secret projects Google has, but MS services are at the high edge and if combined in a user friendly way reaching a critical mass with all fundamental services, this could blow up very big. MS and Nokia shall split the access to user agent life! I dont belive that users will opt out even from half of the services that shall go in a pack with the device. Let alone Desctop-mobile mirroring or 3rd party apps.
    Greg, people talk for connecting their phones to TVs, keyboards, printers, payments, feeds, mails, etc. while non of major manufacturers has the software and hardware capability to do it. However, all three players have taken their optimal positions – Reach vs. Openness vs. Loyalty. I think we shall watch a life or death battle here.

  7. Stefan Popadiin says at

    Been some time 🙂

    Yesterday I was discussing Nokia’s business case with some colleagues and particularly their partnership with MS. I would like to add and little correct my previous post.
    FF … I came to a personal conclusion, ofc, that Nokia may had a better partner in the Face of Ubuntu. I think they are closing very steadily the whole circle – Cloud – Desk – Mobile, in a well established “crowd” (open source) manner. Ubuntu is great – a whole ecosystem and steady wins more users. What they miss is a hardware partner, whereas Nokia is the best and most experienced. Currently mobile devices are far from optimal design. By my opinion even Iphone, although state of the art electronics and materials, is messed up concept. It falls better in a jewellery category :). “Design should follow function” :).

    Nokia and MS is a partnership between two players trying to catch up in an established field. Nokia producing and selling phones. MS producing OS.
    Their hope is to win the race on the last lap by connecting through the desktop experience.
    So far (2 years later) their pace is not convincing. Windows mobile is still not accepted widely. MS surely has amazing things in the lab, but has no way putting it in people hands as a source of growth, like in any open source community happens.
    Nokia launched one phone with better camera capabilities while missing a bunch of outside the category product niches. Why they abounded their xpressmusic phones for example?
    It seems Nokia and MS first need to solve their own problems before they will solve each-others.

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