Mobile phones – does the hardware matter anymore?

I was recently using Nokia’s N96 which is an impressive phone. The phone has a great camera, flash, a nice screen size, bluetooth, wifi, an impressive 16GB of storage space and it even plays DTV. I switched it for an Android G1.

A while ago we tended to switch phones when the hardware got better. A lighter phone, a better camera, better screen resolution / size. But, now the mobile OS war has just gotten interesting with Apple leading the new era.

Talking about mobile phone’s operating systems the main players are:

  • Android – google sponsored, open source;
  • Symbian – Nokia recently bought it and promised to open source it;
  • Blackberry – RIM’s OS that is quite famous among enterprises, proprietary closed source;
  • iPhone – developed by Apple, proprietary closed source.

The G1 I’m now using, although it has lower specs than the N96 is making me much more productive. The relatively new Android Marketplace has a lot of very nice stuff for productivity, connectivity, media management, navigation and more.

As mentioned before, the iPhone right now is leading. The Android has quite a bit of potential to be as big, if not bigger. It is open source so a great excuse for cell phone makers to worry more about making hardware and not spending money on software (like Motorola might be doing).

The Android’s future though is not looking as good as it should. I feel it lacks some of the same things missing with Linux – a big marketing sponsor. Although Google launched the Android initiative there doesn’t seem to be an organized continuous push for it.

I’m hoping the situation changes so we don’t see in a few years a 97% market share dominance of a proprietaty mobile phone OS.