Monday, May 12, 2008

The iPhone in Context

To us Silicon Valley geeks who worship Apple (along with other few Silicon Valley icons) it might seem as if the iPhone has taken over the world. After all, in the Bay Area this superlative gadget of all time has indeed taken over.

So as a reminder to myself that sometimes I need to take off my Silicon Valley goggles, I looked up some interesting facts:

Number of phones shipped in Q1 2008

Apple iPhone: 1.7 Million

Motorola: 27.4 Million (a 40% marketshare loss)

Nokia: 22 Million

Sony/Ericsson: 22.3 million

So for a developer, does it still make sense to target the iPhone?

One mobile enthusiast I know well and respect insists that it’s not the current footprint of the iPhone that matters as much. It is a good investment because the footprint will increase eventually (some experts speculate the iPhone will reach 100M shipped units by the end of 2008 – I’m not sure if they live in the Silicon Valley or not, but my guess would be yes ;-)).

And its footprint has certainly already passed the footprint of any other device+OS+application platform combination out there. Not sure, however, how the late news of the iPhone being out of stock will affect this in the few months to come. Nevertheless, this is if anything an indicator that the demand for it is evergrowing.

So from a developer’s perspective the porting issues are null as long Apple continues to be consistent in its implementation of future versions.

In the end, howver, only time will tell if the iPhone will catch up with the incumbents in terms of market share in this hyper saturated space; or if the incumbents will catch up with the iPhone it terms of understanding of good user interface and real consumer needs.

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