An interesting battle is emerging in the mobile world. The G1 google phone was announced yesterday. The iPhone we already have. Touch screen, app-laden rivals are popping up left right and centre.
The first battle was about coolness of device. The iPhone is winning that hands down. The G1 looks less sex on a stick and more sack of spuds. And everyone else's efforts at out appling apple mean look-a-likes.
But the hardware may be a smaller influence on the outcome than many imagine. (image by ceekay via flickr)
Yes, I get that our phones are personal, always with us, an expression of self. Well, I get that they always were. But as they become more and more a true expression of ubiquitous computing, some of those computing requirements look like gaining the upper hand.
Your Mactop may be prettier than my pc but, what if no-one will buy it because you can't attach a web cam? (You can, I know... but you take the point?)
The iTunes store doesn't allow any apps which use the iPhone's camera... you have to jailbreak to be able to use qik etc
Is that wise?
There has to be good-enough software available for macs in order for apple to sell its computers. And there is. But in the computer world it's clear pcs have won on a global scale. They've won on price and because software for one runs on all (pretty much). More developers therefore create for the pc than the mac.
Simply, the pc can do more things because more people develop more things for it to do.
That's the route google is taking with the G1. Android is more open than the iPhone.
(But it ain't that open. An open phone wouldn't be locked to a network. An open phone would allow me to put any sim I like in. What gives here google?)
Anyway, what I mean to say is the battle for dominance in mobile will not be about who has the coolest handset, but it may be about who has the most effective way for developers to monetise their efforts - because that is the route to making your hardware do more.
And the closer your phone gets to being your primary point of entry to the internet, the further the hardware gets from being an expression of self. That's because the greater part of the expression of self will be happening digitally when you make your entry to the internet (ie you manage your reputation through each interaction on social network after social network.)
Cool is who you are in each interaction, not what phone you carry.