There can be no easy answer to this. Both the Android and Apple iPhone OS are competing for mind space and increasingly green bucks from the paying customer. Both of them have “redefined” the word “cool” and increasingly, the focus has shifted on to advertising platforms. This is because the hardware doesn’t matter but advertising is a lucrative revenue stream provided that there is a critical mass of the people willing to utilize and absorb the product in daily use.
According to Neilsen survey (here), both Android and Apple iPhone are increasing their market share. It was in news recently that Apple had increased it’s market capitalization as compared to Microsoft and overtook it for a good measure. Steve Ballmers reaction was subdued even though he crowed that it is Desktop that matters the most. The debate has shifted to cloud computing; whether it is relevant in the present context and whether people would shift their loyalties. Smart phones have becomes means to access the cloud; either by applications (sandboxed for a good measure so that it doesn’t crash the OS), or by browsers.
Here in, Android and Apple iphone OS is leading the mindspace. Since the pictures in the Neilsen survey are under copyright, I cannot copy and paste them; but it is clear that traditional players are loosing the space. Blackberry is jaded and crap dip shit hiked prices make no sense; specially when they want to crack the Indian market. in a similar vein, Android is focused on the American market because thats the place where SOME action is taking place. Nokia isn’t a surprise omission because it’s symbian OS as a platform for a smart phone is ham handed by serious lack of apps.Those assholes need a bummer up their ass to make the phones more worthwhile because dip shit policies don’t work. Having a broad range of compatibility with the different email service providers is good but to make a phone “interesting” and “must have” needs hard work and a marketing muscle.
Coming back to the original question. Can the smartphone be the next wave of computing? Is the day of the laptop or the netbook numbered? It isn’t so because these are different ways of accessing the same thing. Ways and means matter. End don’t.
What does it mean for Indian consumer? It means nothing. Because the smart phone market is limited to a minuscule percentage of people who would perhaps drive the value added service associated with impending 3G (or any of it’s avatars). Which means Data. The network operators are going to ration the resource because it has been claimed that a regular tom dick or harry doesn’t need the bandwidth as compared to “top 5% of the users” who “clog the network”. It is the regular tom dick and harry who need “enough bandwidth” to access their email.
Fact of the matter is that in absence of a decent option, smart phones in India are more likely to remain a “show off”; much more like the “object of desire” whose utility is of questionable value.