Monday, October 20, 2008
The table is set start touching
In about 20M the mobile industry has taken a sharp and touchy turn towards a new form a touch device. This industry transformation was faster than the previous transformation pionneered by Motorola, when phones became thin, now there is a segment around touch. I predicted that 2008 would be year of bad touch screens. Nokia launched its play in this domain, based on Series 60, it has been shaped into a music proposition, a good move as the Comes with Music value proposition is good. The device has haptic feedback from Imersion I would guess, as they sit on most of the IP in this domain. The screen is restive and not as sensitive as Apple iPhone screen is. The formfactor is narrower, maybe a sign of its heritage coming from a phone company, just like the SonyEricsson Experia. What I really like in the Experia is the little qwerty, it is faster than one without. Its drawback will be the Windows mobile experience which has not been built for finger. I am looking forwards playing with the Experia tiles. What makes the Experiea gret is its screen and the attention to detail in design. It screams tech power. The Nokia 5800 will have heritage of of Series60 designed for click and scroll, we have seen it morph to more screens than ever imagined, of which the Communicator version was not a brilliant execution. What I like in the 5800 is the combination of a few hard keys and the touch screen working in harmony.
The Asians, with Samsung and LG, have been quitetly improving their touch screen offerings, but they are both hampered by their closed operating Systems. The Samsung Omnia is being pushed hard, but it is built on top of Windows and that puts a limit on its achivements. If Microsoft is not able to bring a massive step up for Mobile Wrold Congress, I think the future might look bleak.
The T-Mobile, HTC based Android based Google phone is an important newcomer. It is still early days, and I am sad to see that they had been derailed off their more mass market strategy by the media, inot a touch experience, which still lacks some experience fundamentals. It could have been more mature as a concept, but when one gets pushed to be a alternative to the iPhone one I guess do what one can to step up.
Last week RIM launched their Storm, which certainly must have caused a storm inside, out went the qwerty, the pillar of RIM. I cannot wait to test typing on it. This device will show, if typing can be made great, it is the core pillar of the RIM experience. They have certainly innovated, built on a Synaptics capacitive sensor, they have added haptic click, it could feel quite good.
I use my iPhone as a second phone, and I still have problems typing on it, the lak of tactility is a real drawback, I cannot steer my mind to accepting it to be fine, it is not good.
Despite various shortcomings, I think they all will give Apple a run for their money, as they play different strengths, Nokia with Music and an open platform, SonyEricsson with its Qwerty and RIM with its superior messaging system and innovations in touch. The loosers I think are the Korean's I do not exactly see their point of differentiation. In the high end one has to own the OS and UE, otherwise one cannot provide an experience that even has a chance to play against Apple. This puts SonyEricsson, Samsung and LG in difficult positions.
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