This thread is for any and all sorts of debate, thoughts, philosophical ranting and wondering about the future of the mobile phone. At least in the short term. Here's some to get the ball rolling...
--Who's going to be next at the top of the Smartphone market?
IMHO, I reckon that Nokia will rise from the ashes and take back it's throne at the top of the mobile game. If we look at what everyone else is doing:
Sure, they're at the top now, but if we consider the hardware, it's not much better than the current crop of Android smartphones, and the software hasn't really had much done to it since the early days. It's still very much locked down, and is pretty much just a glorified app launcher. Nothing changes, except for a few shiny new toys every now and again, which are invariably locked-down proprietary equivalents of five-year-old technologies no-one uses anyway. And a mentally retarded electronic "secretary". Gradually, iSheep will see the light, and, provided there's an OS as stable as iOS has been, they will likely take that over another iPhone.
HTC has always been a pretty classy phone brand, made for businessmen primarily, and meant to extend the business into the home life. So in that respect, WM6 and earlier were the perfect matches for HTC, and I don't feel even pairing with Beats to give the HTC more appeal to teenagers will shake off the fact they only seem to be pushing out "just another Android" after Android. We'll see how WP8 pans out for them, and the fact they're clearly okay with not having any particular OS allegience will work in their favour, especially if the uptake of WP8 is bolstered by Windows 8.
Has just been bought by Google, so it's Android or broke for motorola for the time being. If Android can pull itself together, fix all it's current shortcomings, and actually catch up to Windows Phone and iOS for efficient hardware usage for a smooth experience, Motorolas may again, one day, be as popular as they once were.
Samsung hasn't fared too well lately. Not one of their Galaxy flagships have launched without some kind of uproar from the community with respect to bugs etc, but that all seems to be an Android issue, and not necessarily Samsung's fault entirely. Slow updates have blighted those affected, and when the updates haven't fixed that which is annoying them most with the devices, they're going to avoid them in future. Not to mention the other arms of Samsung (Whitegoods, PC, Tablets etc) all diverting funds away from creating a user experience for the Galaxy line that isn't just a buggy rip-off of iOS, they are locked into an intense legal battle with Apple, which is undoubtably going to make them lose sight of their customer base, and lose popularity quickly.
Sony is releasing a
fu truckload of new Android devices at once, none much different to the other, in the hope that having so many devices out in the wild will bring new sales to the troubled once-great brand. The problem is, they're going to stretch their resources out so thin, that support for the current and upcoming devices will be sub-par, and they will lose more customers to other companies that have the resources to devote to making a few truly great phones, than a lot of mediocrity.
--To sum it all up
I reckon it's well and truly time for a shake-up of the mobile tree, and I think I have a rough idea of where everyone is headed.
--History Lesson, feel free to skip.
Those born before roughly 1996 will remember a time when the Finnish company ruled the world. Life was good back then, software was an afterthought companies put into their devices, you know, to make it actually work, and not bugger up all the time, a point that seems to be lost in translation to the guys in the Android Open Source Project... but I digress.
They might also remember that there were two markets, in one of them, the personal mobile market, everyone bought Nokias, but teenage girls bought Motorola flip-phones, and PlayStation fanboys bought SonyEricssons.
And in the other, the business market, brand wasn't so much a deciding factor as an afterthought. The majority bought Windows Mobile, with the rest taken up with BlackBerries.
As I said, life was good. Everyone either made their own operating system, or ran Windows Mobile, and built the hardware for the software they ran. Nokias were built for Symbian, Sony Ericssons were built for their OS, and Motorolas ran on their own OS. So of course, they all knew that the devices they made would work well in the wild, as they had complete control over all aspects of the phone. Oh, and we can't forget no-one cared about software back then.
--These days... (you might want to tune back in now, I'm getting to the important bits)
I think more and more people are just getting sick and tired of having to care about software, and keep updating them. Sure, some of us do, and will, always want the latest tech and gadgets, but it's not like you want to spend most of your time trying to get something to work, the rest wishing it would work better. And everyone, deep down, probably misses life when it was more simple, and we could just buy a phone, expect it to work, and it would.
And this is why, I think that Nokia, with all their new smartphones running Windows Phone, will be able to bounce back to prominence in the mobile market. Even if everyone says "herpy derp, no apps work with windows", devs develop where they're going to make money. So invest in the platform, by buying the product, and the apps will come.
--Bonus hint on how to be happiest with your phone:
Buy a phone that you know will be reliable, whether that be a trusty Nokia, or an iPhone, with everything you need it to do, and a bit more, and that has good user reviews already out on the internet.
Can't find user reviews for it? Probably not such a good sign, but if you do decide to buy it, and find your experience is different, always share on You too? or other blogs such as Tumble Drier, Tweeter, Facepalm or Google Minus and make your own. Remember, someone like you could benefit from your knowledge, why not share it?
What are your thoughts on where phones will be in the not-so-distant future?
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I don't think its a case of iSheep "seeing the light" as such, its like people that listen to Alan Jones (not that they are anything alike, its the same concept however). You won't deviate those people away. iOS is a great operating system, its stable, and from an apps and user base perspective its the best. Apple goes for hardware simplicity, which provides for maximum compatibility.
I believe that companies will develop an iOS app, a Droid App, then probably not, but maybe a Windows Phone App. Windows Phone won't catch up, its too difficult for the average consumer to use, just like Windows 8.
I agree that software is a big issue, this is why iOS is better then Android (I am an android user however). iOS provides a stable, consistent platform, that is easier to develop on, as you aren't trying to determine compatibility for serveral different devices.