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Dag nabbit I had hoped to get away without having to write a predictions column this year, but no such luck. Look for that one tomorrow. Tonight, of course, there’s Google’s Nexus One smart phone to write about. Is it an iPhone killer? Hardly. And that’s not even the point.
Google’s Nexus One is a very nice smart phone as far as I can tell. I only read what you read and I haven’t yet played with one, but a couple nice folks who were on TWiT with me this week have tried it and liked it a lot, especially the screen. Yet many of the stories I’ve read today have presented this product introduction as a seminal break between Apple and Google with one trying to kill the other. Not even close.
Apple is very happy with its iPhone sales, thanks, and those are unlikely to be hurt much, if at all, by the Nexus One. Not that the Nexus One can’t be a huge success for Google. But here are the points everyone seems to be missing: 1) there is plenty of room in the mobile market for both Apple and Google, and; 2) this product introduction really marks the ultimate decline and fall of so-called “feature phones” and the rise to dominance of smart phones. Within two years there will be no more feature phones, at least not in the U.S.
The real losers today, then, are makers of feature phones and, maybe, Microsoft, which has the most vulnerable smart phone platform in Windows Phone.
The Nexus One introduction, coming on top of the iPhone, marks the true ascendence of smart phones as an alternative platform to desktops and notebooks. No, you can’t survive on a smart phone alone, the days of one computing device per person ended long ago.
But this does mark the beginning of the smart phone shakeout, when the industry matures and inevitably drops to no more than three viably competitive smart phone platforms. So just as you have Windows, Mac, and some form of ‘nix fighting it out for desktops and notebooks, so too we’ll shortly have three major mobile platforms to choose from.
iPhone and Android will be here for the long haul with the question being which of Symbian, Palm, Windows Mobile, or Blackberry will die?
What’s your guess? My guess is that Blackberry will be the third standard, Nokia will eventually leave Symbian for Android, and Microsoft will buy Palm but then screw it up, losing its position almost entirely in the mobile client space where smart phones will soon dominate, selling up to a billion units per year.
Hey this did turn out to be a predictions column after all!
More predictions tomorrow.