March 5, 2012
// Note! Warning! Achtung Baby! To all Apple fans – read no further! But if you do, please forget about this post and don’t comment on it!
The MWC (Mobile World Congress) in Barcelona is one of the world’s key mobile events. It’s possible there to discuss the directions of development of mobile technologies, the pace of their expansion and improvement, and generally about industry goings-on.
What caught my eye this year most of all was what I saw to be the main change in the mobile landscape: the start of the end of the iPhone era. Indeed, it appears plain to me that the (mobile) party’s being rocked mostly by other brands now (a bit like Dubstep rocking formerly House clubs, but without being a flash in the pan:). I won’t go so far as naming those other brands here, but unless you’re a hermit – you’ll know which I’m talking about.
I say the iPhone’s era is coming to an end not due to the number of stands and diversity of mobiles from companies other than Apple at the exhibition. Similarly, it’s not because of the traditional absence of Apple at MWC (it’s never bothered to participate). No, the main reason I say it is due to what I saw – which smartphones – in the hands of MWC participants and attendees. In the past it used to be hardly anything but iPhones – of different colors and shades, and always the latest models. Now – anything but. Of course, iPhones aren’t a rarity yet – but they sure have fallen somewhat by the wayside. And they just don’t look cool anymore – kinda old fashioned, bulky and dull. So yeah – something tells me the days of iPhone dominance are over.
For me this comes as no surprise. Quite a while ago I came out and said that the victor in the mobile battle will be open source (particularly – Android), and that strictly controlled (closed) platforms will merely have a niche presence. More than a year ago I said the following here on this topic:
“Apple can (and will) hold its share of the market only as long as it is able to come up with new gimmicky gadgets that have the upper hand over its hardware competitors. But as soon as it comes up against a consumer perception being “bigger, better and prettier – yeah, yeah, same old: no thanks” – they’ll start to lose market share.
In short, manufacturing hardware – anyone can do this. And as soon as someone announces a new super-device, shortly after (in three to six months) everyone else starts manufacturing similar devices (that is, if they don’t mess about – like they did when the first iPhone came out).
But to make a lot of varied, functional and quality software – here, without the ‘community’, you get nowhere. The one who will build up around him a maximally effective milieu of independent software developers – he’s the one who’ll win.
And looking at the current situation – that will be Android.
Something tells me Android is the future Windows for mobile OS.”
More on this can be found here and here.
So to summarize, the super gadget of the last several years, which came to dominate the biological classification of smartphones – the glamorous dream of millions (if not billions) of homo sapiens, is becoming a thing of the past. Leadership belongs to others. The smartphone ‘war’ of course continues – but now with other gladiators in the ring.
I’ve got a gut feeling that in the coming years we’ll see another, no less thrilling battle – for supremacy in the world of tablets (as in, the oversized-mobile-phone / one-piece mini-computer thingies everyone’s so crazy about at the mo – not pills; ahem, for the more pedantic/perceptive among you). And the winner will be… I don’t know who in particular, but I’m certain it won’t be the iPad. For sure, at the moment the iPad has no equal, but in a year or two it will follow the iPhone’s downward spiral, I’m certain. Betcha?!
And here are some photos.
How quickly everything changes! If this banner had appeared five years ago, no one would have known what it was on about. “Android Tablet”? What’s that? Medicine for robots? What robots? And why’d they need protecting? Wouldn’t they have hi-tech defenses anyway, like the Terminator?…
Our modest stand. Next year it’ll be cooler…
A closer look at the first Pegasus photo. Now you see what it’s made of?!
Nothing much else caught my eye (but I didn’t really get to look around properly – back to back meetings and interviews). Still, there’s plenty to read about the exhibition out there in the press…
Hasta la vista from Barca!