The myth of the smartphone wars

There's more room in the mobile phone marketplace than for just an iPhone and another handset platform, such as Android.

Although the iPhone has a lot of admirers, it's possible to critique a smartphone without making it seems as if we are destined to default automatically to the iPhone and only one other rival platform. There should be enough room for more than two platforms coexisting without expecting one's imminent demise.

I can tell when someone is harboring an iPhone superiority complex. The thought process goes something like this: "If you don't use an iPhone like I do, then you must randomly choose a phone off the shelf, have no platform or brand loyalty, and are certainly no connoisseur of electronics."

Apparently, in that mindset, non-iPhone users will fall for whatever looks closest to an iPhone but is not -- for some reason that iPhone users can't fathom but nonetheless speculate wildly about. (Disclosure: I own and use a Motorola Droid 2 and like it.)

The New York Times Bits blog opined that the Windows Phone 7 is not really a threat to the iPhone, but will be to the Android platform, mainly because Microsoft's touchscreen is better -- and after all, the Android touchscreen is "a grainier copy of the iPhone's design." Again, the argument goes that Windows Phone 7 is more iPhone-like, so therefore it's better and all Android users will flock to it.

Unfortunately, that's not the case. The Windows Phone 7 from Microsoft is not the iPhone, and it shouldn't be. However, it allows better integration with Office and Sharepoint servers, and will be able to sync with computers, including Apple products.

It also allows users to choose from among nine different devices, including four new handsets from HTC, Dell, LG, and Samsung. The Windows Phone 7 will also have a user-friendly interface with hubs that merge applications and content.

These are all things the iPhone doesn't have. But the biggest thing the iPhone doesn't have is choice, something that is integral to both the Android and Windows Phone 7 platforms. Perhaps the choice is not in applications, although Android has plenty and Microsoft is adding to its inventory. But the choice could be in the kind of experience users want -- in choosing a handset and carrier, and being allowed to view their smartphone as simply a device -- rather than seeking a vessel that gains them entry into some Apple "religion" where outsiders are viewed as deviants.

The reality is that less than 1 in 4 Americans owns a smartphone. This is probably especially difficult to understand for owners of an iPhone who seem to extol its virtues as if it's their precocious toddler, or who spend more time with it than a significant other. The majority of Americans most likely think that gawking at your phone is annoying and downright pretentious.

With that large a market share for the taking, the smartphone market is wide open to whatever captures potential users' interest, which could be Microsoft if its message resonates with consumers and businesses who have an eye for efficiency.

If most people only spend an hour on the handset each day, mainly dealing with e-mail and some light Web surfing, they may not feel the need to have something that Steve Jobs called "one of the most beautiful things we've ever made."

My hope is that the market can have a small number of successful platforms, and business can use all three of them, choosing whichever ones work best with their particular mindset and business values.

Reach or follow Barbara E. Hernandez on Twitter: @bhern.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftsmartphonesMotorolawindows phone 7iPhonePhonesconsumer electronicsCell PhonesThe New York Times

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Barbara E. Hernandez

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?