Let’s face it – for most business professionals, their phone is no longer just a phone. In fact the “phone” functionality is, oddly enough, becoming less and less important as a feature. More important to business users now is integration with business applications, ease of use, e-mail compatibility, and wireless synchronization. Take the iPhone for example. Through the multiple iterations of the OS, users have remained stubbornly loyal even though the phone service itself was quite poor (a result of AT&T’s service in my opinion). With the pending release of OS 4.0 for the iPhone, there’s no doubt that Apple will once again make significant improvements on an already excellent product. Now that the Droid has been released and appears to be holding its own within the market, the market has gotten even tighter for all competitors. Add to the mix the new Windows Series 7 phone slated for release near the end of the year and the world of phones has clearly grown far more complicated (and interesting) than it was just a few years ago. So, what does this all mean to us, the business professionals, and moreover, what does this mean for Blackberry (RIM), the once “default” phone for business people? Of course, no one knows for sure, but I’ve got a few predictions…
- Blackberry’s antiquated pricing model and architecture that requires server software be installed on your network will be a thing of the past. With all the other manufacturers providing functionality without the extra piece of software (or cost) this whole “Blackberry Enterprise Server” nonsense has to go away, doesn’t it? I say it does – at least for small and medium businesses.
- The iPhone will continue to gain market share. Apple just has too big of a lead on some of the other competitors and the “brains” at Apple have been exceptionally successful at addressing the business world’s needs. The only thing that will hold Apple back will be AT&T. Anyone hear rumors of a deal with Verizon? Anyone?
- The Windows phone will do well, but feel some of the pain any new system/software does. Be prepared for very cool, yet sometimes irritating, and an overall lukewarm experience.
- The Droid will hang tough, but find it becomes old news very quickly in this ever changing market. Speed is the need in this fickle market.
Ultimately, I think the innovation within the market will continue to grow – possibly far beyond the true needs of users today (in case we aren’t already there). I think the differences between the platforms, however, that will begin to dwindle, with each manufacturer stealing the others quality concepts and good ideas. At the end of the day, I think it will be a benefit to all, providing us with better, more adaptable phones – and we’ll enjoy more choices than ever before.