The Apple iPhone is a category killer leaving all others to catch up.

by Jeff Wiener on November 27, 2009

iPhone Category KillerEvery once in a while a category killer throws off the market and leaves all it’s competitors in a catch-up position, or worse yet, out of business.

The iPhone is that device.

There are cell phones and smartphones, and then there’s the iPhone. Too bad for Verizon who passed on the chance a few years ago to become the exclusive distributor of the iPhone – they left the door open for AT&T to not only pick-up the exclusive contract, but also at the same time boost their subscriber base. In the last quarter AT&T added 2 million new subscribers to Verizon’s 1.2 million. AT&T is catching up to Verizon in total subscriber base as well with Verizon at 89 million subscribers and AT&T at 81.6 million.

If there is one device that has a small chance at competing against Apple’s iPhone it’s Google’s Android. The problem with Android is that it’s an Operating System. Google doesn’t make phones. There has been a lot of complaining in the Android App community about complications in software development with having to make software for a myriad of devices. Even worse, these App developers need to check compatibility of the multiple software versions across those multiple devices.

Picture 7The Droid from Motorola seems like a great looking phone, and could potentially do some damage to Apple’s dominance, but again the problem is, Motorola doesn’t own the OS or the Google App store. They have a nice looking phone but still need to compete against all the other Android supported devices.

RIM owned the smartphone market and is of course a very dominant player. Yes, they’re still growing, but, the stock market hasn’t been that friendly to them of late, and they’re not really coming up with anything NEW and UNIQUE to differentiate themselves in the market.

The iPhone is a category killer and has shifted the competitive landscape for both the carriers and handset manufacturers. Moving forward it’s possible that Verizon could carry the iPhone – Apple would need to be amenable of course. In Canada there is now new competition for Rogers – Bell and Telus are now carrying the iPhone. And it’s possible that the new carriers Dave Wireless, Wind Mobile, and Public Mobile might as well.

No ONE manufacturer has so dominated the cell phone / smartphone business in such a short period of time as Apple has done. And with it’s ease of use, tie in with iTunes, and adoption at the consumer level, it’s unlikely that anything will threaten that dominance any time soon.

Written by: Jeff Wiener. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Identi.ca, or Friendfeed

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