Many people didn’t think the iPhone would be a success. Myself included. Or rather, I thought it would be a cool device, I was concerned from the get go that it would be a dreadful phone. Having had one for a year or so now I can confidently say the following. It's a cool device AND it's a dreadful phone. So, two out of three ain't bad.
Part of the problem with the iPhone is the architecture they have to use to keep the cost down and to avoid doing a deal with Qualcomm. So you've the radio modem sitting separately to the application processor. This isn't just a plumbing nightmare but leads to huge bottlenecks in internal communication around the phone itself. Add in the "extra" fun of AT&Ts network and you've a perfect storm for a bad experience.
But, regardless of the short comings, the dropped calls, the hung data stack, the weird battery issues, it's a lovely piece of kit and I like mine. But the thing is, it's a piece of consumer electronics and a short shelf life one at that. Even with 2 year contracts phones get swapped out and what's hot now, hasn't proven to be a guide for what's hot in a year, let alone two. Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola have all had their spots as top selling "shiny" providers - Apple is having their run at the moment but drawing any conclusions from that, or, for that matter, drawing a linear upward curve of sales is a huge mistake in the phone business.
Which, via a roundabout route, brings me to my point.
Don't define your strategy around the current shiny consumer must have - because consumers are fickle and will change their minds. Sure, Apple will have a die hard fan core of users, but that isn't necessarily the market you are going to be needing next year, or even now.
We've been working with Samsung on the BADA platform. BADA is a real gamble. It's YAMOS (Yet Another Mobile Operating System) running on Linux with a C++ application layer. But that's not the thing which interests me. The Samsung Wave, the first BADA phone is shiny. It's actually a lovely piece of kit. Great screen, amazing camera, simple and clean UI, and, more importantly, it's cheap. On Vodafone in the UK they're offering them free with a 25GBP a month contract. Oh, and it runs apps…
Samsung want to sell 20M units this year. And, with the quality of the device, the scale of Samsung and price point - they probably will. Or, to put it another way - they're planning to ship in 6 months more than Apple shipped in 2008.
The App market is changing as smarter phones work themselves into the market place previously only served by fairly crappy Java based games. That's a potential game changing and are you ready for it?
Building that 1st iPhone app might have been easy. The 2nd generation one, after you realized what you wanted, probably was too. The 3rd one might be becoming an irritation. What's the plan for all the other platforms that will be out there in millions of teenage hands, or their parents - the people who wouldn't spring for an iPhone but will for a Wave?
It's worth thinking about.
For my next trick I'll also show why Web Apps really aren't the way to go either :)