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Have Competitors Caught the iPhone?

During the first iPhone keynote, Steve Jobs said it was five years ahead of the competition.  We’re drawing closer to the fourth generation iPhone, almost three years after the release of the first.  In that timespan, nearly every mobile competitor has tried their hand at dethroning the device but first they had to play catch up.  Is the competition finally on an even playing field or do they still lagging behind?

Nokia

n900The biggest player in the mobile arena, Nokia owns a hefty portion of the world’s mobile marketshare with a majority stemming from sales overseas.  Since the iPhone’s introduction, Nokia seems to have made fewer changes than any other company.  They’ve stuck with resistive touch screens, a severely dated Symbian OS, and the bulky form factor of its smartest flagship devices.  Try naming a few devices in Nokia’s smartphone lineup.  How would an average consumer answer?  Verdict: They’re not even trying for an iPhone killer.

Motorola

The Razr was arguably Motorola’s best work.  It has pushed hundreds of millions of units and it’s still around, staking it’s claim in today’s dumbphone lineup.  What was once a must-own device has slipped, and if motorola wants to play where market is heading, they’re going to need to find the Razr of smartphones.  The Droid was the first step for Motorola.  Met with impressive sales and positive reviews, the Droid could easily be considered Motorola’s comeback.  Unfortunately, they’ve been quickly upstaged by the likes of HTC, an ally in Android adoption.  Verdict: They’re trying, but the Droid’s popularity quickly died down.

RIM

Maker of the most widely adopted corporate devices and some of the best smartphone keyboards in the industry, RIM quickly hit the drawing board in an effort to bring touch to the business world.  In the fall of 2008 the Storm brought a new kind of touch technology to the market with SurePress.  Met with less than positive reviews, RIm began working onbbstorm2its successor, the Storm 2.  Release last year, the second generation Storm brought an improvement on the SurePress hardware that fixed some of the gripes seen on the original.  Still, the device never took off but RIM execs say they’re committed to bringing touch to the BlackBerry.  Verdict: Keyboards and corporate remain their strength, not iPhone killers.

HTC

One of the biggest competitors in the industry, HTC has released dozens of touch devices running Android and Sense UI covered Windows Mobile.  Most notable on their list, the G1, Hero, Nexus One and HD2 have been some of the most worthy of the title iPhone killers.  The G1 competed with the iPhone 3G as the first Android device one-upping the iPhone with it’s hardware keyboard.  The Nexus One instantly became the Android device to beat with it’s Snapdragon processor and huge 3.7″ display.  The latest HTC device, the Incredible has already been praised with positive reviews.  Verdict: The most likely to produce an iPhone killer.

Of course there are other competitors like Palm and Microsoft, but as it stands Palm is in financial trouble and Microsoft is busy resurrecting themselves with Windows Phone 7.  Do you think anyone will dethrone the iPhone anytime soon? Pick your racehorse in the comments.


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