Earlier this week, I posted Grady Winston’s latest guest article – Nasty Competition: iPhone vs. Android – which lays out the moves and countermoves in a precarious battle between Apple and Google. The article has drawn a number of forward thinking comments which deserve wider distribution than a straight-forward comment might allow.
The following comment, by Writerdood, addresses some of the questions posed in the original article – then, raises a series of “functionality probability” teasers. Are they teasers – or, real issues which the smartphone industry needs to address?
The future of smartphones is an interesting topic. I don’t see Apple as being at the top of that list. RIM has fallen and can’t get up. And Microsoft’s solution is still an infant with potential.
Globally, I think Android will likely dominate, at least in the short term, but in the long term it’s difficult to say what will happen. Apple phones are beautiful devices, but so are Android phones. Brand-name loyalty will certainly ensure Apple always has a market, but their innovation seems to have reached its limit. Their latest release offers very little of consequence to most people.
What we’re missing is the functionality innovations – the leaps in operational use that allow users to do more things with their mobile devices.
Who will be the first to add infrared control as a standard in phones (allowing users to control their televisions without needing specific hardware)?
Who will add customization user interfaces (allowing users to decide how their screens display)?
Who will add tactile interfaces (allowing raised buttons to appear when needed)?
Will NFC take off and become a desired utility (allowing users to make payments or upload data with a wave of their phone)?
Will phones start to come stock with projectors?
Will full integration with XBox or Playstation make a big difference?
Will flexible expandable screens become a desired feature?
And all of them appear interested in AI of some type, which will produce the desired results?
Then there’s audio – and some manufacturers seem focused on pushing that to the extreme limits, making the screen itself into a speaker.
And then there’s Google’s project glass and integration between those glasses and their phones may force Apple and others to compete.
I think the smart phone world is poised to move on a variety of innovations that will vastly enhance the capabilities of the phones slated to come out in the next few years. Most of those phones will not belong to Apple.
To keep up with this wave of new functionality, Apple will have to either jump on that bandwagon – and pay the patent rights to use them – or come up with an intuitive leap just as risky as their first iPod venture. Their fans will support them regardless, but the rest of the world will only support them if that leap is useful to them and something they can’t get elsewhere.
Heck, if Apple put infrared and tactile into their phones, I’d even buy one. And a projector too? Worth it. Particularly if it can project a keyboard in addition to being used to project slides and video. But maybe these are features that don’t matter to most people. Only time and user adoption can tell that story.