In 2007, the mobile phone market underwent a revolution of sorts when Apple released the iPhone. It was an internet device, an iPod, and a phone all in one package, and it had a large touch screen display. Nobody has been able to match it yet. The popularity of the Apple iPhone has caused many “traditional” cell phone users to become more interested in these new “smartphones” with touch screens.
Pretty much every major mobile phone maker has since 2007 added touch screen handsets to their offerings, but none have been able to match the impact of the iPhone. Now that mobile phones are seen as essentials for pretty much everyone, will smartphones like the iPhone evolve in the same way?
Phone manufacturers tried all kinds of ways to beat the iPhone, such as adding higher resolution cameras, or new user interfaces. But what actually happened was that they fought it out with each other while the iPhone maintained its place at the top of the heap. People began to wonder if there was anything else that could fundamentally change the mobile phone market.
Smartphones have only grown in popularity since the advent of the iPhone. While smartphones used to be viewed as acceptable for “business-oriented” people, they rapidly became must-haves for what seemed like everybody. After all, devices like the Research In Motion (RIM) Blackberry allows people to use email no matter where they are without hidden fees. Then smartphones began adding Facebook applications, playing into the vast popularity of social networking sites.
It didn’t take long for the iPhone to release its own Facebook application. And both RIM and Apple have their own app stores offering a wide selection of applications for many different purposes. Are smart phones the end of the line technologically? Can they be made better?
The Android platform is the latest big thing in the mobile phone universe. It was first used on the Google G1 phone, and is an open source operating system. That means that anyone can write applications for use on Android phones. It offers another option to people who aren’t interested in the iPhone, or who balk at the high price of an iPhone. Android phones will eventually have applications that can’t be had for the iPhone.
While the Android software is currently only available on the G1 handset, other phone manufacturers are developing their own Android handsets. Rumors have it that Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung will launch their own Android phones in 2009. It is also expected that other smartphones will begin to run the Android platform.
Skype, an internet phone service provider, has announced a version of its service for the Google Android mobile operating system. And because Android is open source, code developers can create any program they want based on their own needs and requirements. And they can share them with other Android users.
The Apple iPhone had to do a little fighting to fend off the smartphone invasion, even though it is still at the top of the industry. There are even rumors that Apple will try to integrate the Android platform onto the iPhone. Who knows? Will Android developers for the G1 fight back successfully against Apple? One thing is sure: prediction is most likely futile in a world where technology changes seemingly by the minute.