I’m not gonna beat around the bush here. I like the iPhone. I think the design of it is sleek, classy, and very desirable. What I don’t like is the fact that unless I want to go about it illegally, I’m forced to go to AT&T to get one. Being a T-Mobile customer, I am more than happy with my current rates and services. I’d just love a new device that does all the stuff the iPhone does. That’s exactly why I am holding off until Android comes out before getting my new handset.
Moving 4 million devices in such a short time has definitely opened some eyes. If you count it as a ‘smart’ phone, then they’ve snatched huge chunks of market share already. Here’s another number for you though. Recent figures have shown that around 1/4th of all iPhones being sold are getting unlocked. What does this statistic tell us? There is a demand to free, or open the device up for other networks and as costly as it is, people are willing to pay for one. If you haven’t had a chance to play with an iPhone, I’ll say this. It really does feel like a totally different animal. Revolutionary? Last year, it was. Next year, not so much. Allow me to explain.
In the last few months, we’ve already seen some advances made in cellular software and hardware that were only thought possible on Apple’s pretty little baby. And we’re not talking about skinning or emulating. HTC’s TouchFlo technology and Microsoft’s in-development WinMo7 are making it so that touch screen phones no longer need to rely on a stylus for tapping or typing. Even better, TouchFlo knows the difference between a finger and stylus, so you get different reactions based on what you are using at the time. Something that will come in handy for maps or photo applications.
The newly launched SkyFire program for Window Mobile is not only able to act like Safari when browsing the internet, but they also claim that they will be able to allow any rich media or sort of interactivity you might come across online. Even in beta form, it’s better than anything else WinMo users have had to deal with.
Will the 3G iPhone hit the market before Android phones do? Apple might do themselves a favor and try to make that happen. Knowing what we do about proposed GPS based mapping programs, local search, and advertising, Google might one up them when Android phones roll out. These devices are going to be able to do a lot more than give you driving directions with your Google Map.
It’s for all of these reasons, and more that I am convinced that when Android based phones start hitting the market, we’re not going to have iClones, but viable alternatives that offer more.
My advice to Apple is to drop the price again and get your 3G going now. Google is right around the corner, ready to unleash an army of more capable handsets at lower costs. How will they be able to compete with non-subsidized handsets and/or ad-based services with their current business model? T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, and even AT&T will gladly provide service to a phone when they don’t have to kick up a few hundred bucks to the manufacturer just for selling it. I think AT&T really stuck themselves good with that 5 year exclusive deal. At least here in the US.