GPhone Mania and the (new?) handset industry

Google’s phone, dubbed the GPhone is creating rumours all over the web and confirmations pop up with inside sources at both Google and HTC. Well, many don’t take it serious until Google decide to go public with it but maybe it is even Google’s strategy to create some buzz by having leaks and rumors spread. Pictures below circulate all over the web about its look and HTC are supposed to manufacture it according to some rumours. Some of its features are said to be a special version of Google Maps, compatible with built-in GPS, and compatibility with Gmail and the calendar application. An integration of GTalk would be interesting with a support for voip.

Google has recently been involved in the bidding for the 700mhz spectrum. This together with their wifi networks and now a handset summarise up to something that can be very very interesting for the future.

The fact that Apple and maybe Google has joined the mobile industry with innovative devices is very interesting. Apple and Google comes from different areas and brings new fresh blood to the handset industry. Thinking about it briefly, Google might have an advantage over Apple and that what we will see in mobile internet and handsets might develop as the pc industry developed for Apple and Microsoft. Apple is a company that does very well designed and thought through products. They can though be replicated and they are usually very expensive leaving just a few buying it. They have always strived for locking in the user as well and it could be less appreciated as usage is towards integration and synchronization across borders. Google is on its way to create a very useful platform for office applications and enabling it for mobile devices would automatically give them a share of the pc usage. Microsoft entered first the PDA industry and now Smartphones, but has been followed with bad performance and quality problems of the software. They do have the muscles and established relations for pushing out something new and innovative. Their compatibility with windows is a great advantage, just as ipod is with itunes.

How about the other handsets vendors? Well the question is as always what to focus on; manufacturing, services or branding. ODMs hae helped less established handset vendors sell phones and maybe will the large vendors that has focused on manufacturing and hardware realise that branding and user experience of greater value for the users. There is a clear trend that traditional vendors focus more on multimedia, building up or acquiring knowledge and applications within different areas.

The handset industries offers many great opportunities and future visions, but right now there are many thresholds and challenges. The handset industry is so fragmented that it is nearly a chaos for developers. Java for example is supposed to be an independent platform but not the mobile version. Modification has to be done for almost each network and model, resulting in high costs for the developers. So if we are moving towards some kind of standardisation in mobile platforms; services, user experience, design and brand will most likely be the most important factors instead of own manufacturing that in this case is mainstream and most likely done by OEM or ODMs.

~ by Andreas Sigurdsson on September 8, 2007.

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