[Photo at left - iPHONE VS BLACKBERRY)

Internet,  APRIL 3, 2010 (CANADIAN BUSINESS ONLINE) by Don Sutton - Ouch! That is what Jim Balsillie must be saying over a study this month showing two out of five Blackberry owners would switch to an iPhone if they could.

Crowd Science revealed that 39% of Blackberry owners would ‘definitely’ switch to an iPhone tomorrow if given the option. This compares to 87% of Google Android users who would keep their Androids and 92% of iPhone users who would keep their iPhones.

For RIM, the news gets worse. The survey found that 52% of Blackberry users would ‘definitely’ recommend an iPhone to their friends or family. This compares to 100% of Android users recommending their own phone to friends and 97% of iPhone users recommending the iPhone to friends.

While this news from Crowd Science has great ramifications for the future development of RIM products, not to mention the future of Canada’s favorite entrepreneur, it gob smacks us how one revolutionary device can leapfrog over another revolutionary device to potentially dominate market share so quickly.

While getting consumers to switch established brands is difficult, the ability of companies – Apple in particular – to offer marketplace-altering applications and features in a product within a matter of a few years is changing the game.

This phenomena is rapidly pushing the Blackberry (Photo at left) away from being the world’s favorite handheld device. Already some are predicting that the iPhone will overtake Blackberry in market share in 2011.

While Canadians enjoyed Balsillie’s fight with the NHL these past two years, there is no doubt that he has the fight of his life on his hands in the near future and must reinvent his company to remain competitive in this market.

Elsewise the Blackberry will join the heap of devices like the pager, the cassette player and VHS movie camera whose popularity came and went in the blink of an eye.

Apple Launches New iPhone Commercial, “Commute” by Gary on April 2nd, 2010

Apple has launched a new iPhone commercial demonstrating how the iPhone can assist your work day. Titled “Commute”, it shows how you can use the iPhone to check train schedules, access your work computer to email files, and watch the Wall Street Journal.

Although the iPhone does have some hardware shortcomings compared its rivals (battery life, screen resolution, openness), one thing that remains on top is the App Store. iPhone developers are creating new ways for us to use our phones in ways never imaginable–like taking them into our bathrooms (don’t lie, you do it too!).

iPhone vs. Android: a Study in Contrasts Article Contents

1. iPhone vs. Android: a Study in Contrasts

2. Image Gallery

Apple's iPhone OS and Google's Android OS have a great deal in common; both are Linux-based operating systems for smartphones that have been put together by companies best known for their accomplishments in the PC space. But there are some dramatic differences that make these mobile platforms almost as different as they can be.

The iPhone's operating system is completely closed. It is being developed by Apple and for Apple. The only smartphones that will ever run it are made by this one company.

Android, on the other hand, is open. It being developed primarily by Google, but with the help of a collection of companies. Many of the members of this group, the Open Handset Alliance, will release smartphones based on Android, including HTC, Samsung, and Motorola.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems, and the competition between the two is going to shape the smartphone market for years to come.


Before Apple came along, the poster child for closed operating systems was BlackBerry. RIM has built a very, very successful company by developing a proprietary operating system to run only on its smartphones, and Apple is following in its footsteps.

iPhoneThe biggest advantage of this is it lets the developers target the OS for a specific group of devices. Apple's engineers know exactly what the hardware running their OS is going to be, and can tweak the OS to make it run as efficiently on that hardware as possible.

In addition, because there's just one company making BlackBerries, iPhones, etc. these operating systems and associated software are targeted to fulfill that company's goals for their products. The developers don't have to try to meet the disparate needs of a variety of companies.

The disadvantage of a completely closed platform is that limited input can lead to limited devices. For example, Apple prefers built-in memory to memory card slots. If you want a smartphone with a memory card slot, an iPhone isn't an option for you. Period.

Android: Open System

Google and its partners are creating a completely open operating system. It will even be open source, so anyone who would like to can take a look at the source code.


The real strength of this system is it allows a huge amount of people and companies to collaborate on this OS. Any company who wants to make a smartphone based on Android can do so without paying a licensing fee, and can modify the software in any way to make it suit its specific needs.

The drawback of this arrangement is it can waste huge amounts of time. The OHA members are either going to have to spend a great deal of time hammering out their differences to make an OS that meets all their needs, or each one is going to have to spend time and resources modifying the generic version to suit themselves.

Even in the best circumstances, the default version of this operating system is going to have to be fairly generic, as it will have been developed by companies who plan to use it on a wide range of smartphones, with different screen sizes, input methods, processors, RAM, etc. There's the danger that by trying to be everything to everyone, Android won't be very good at anything.

Of course, companies will be able to modify the generic version to suit their specific needs, but if they have to spend months tinkering with Android, there's not much time savings over starting from scratch. And if all the versions of Android are very different from each other, the OHA loses much of the advantages of it being a cohesive platform.

Between the Two Extremes

I'm using the iPhone and Android to discuss two extremes. Most smartphone companies fall somewhere in between.

That's where I put all the mobile operating systems that are open to licensing. These aren't open-source operating systems, but they are developed in collaboration between the licensor (Microsoft, Symbian Limited, Access) and the the licensees (Nokia, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, etc.) The licensor is responsible for the development of the OS, but the licensees have a great deal of influence on what's in it.

This is a compromise which, like all such, has every disadvantage of both options. That's why many companies are moving to one extreme or the other.

Palm, Inc. is following Apple's lead and is in the process of creating a proprietary Linux-based operating system for its consumer-oriented smartphones. Generally called either Palm OS II or Nova , this will debut next year. Palm is still going to be a Windows Mobile licensee at the same time, though.

Nokia and the whole group of companies that use the Symbian OS are going the opposite direction by taking Google and the OHA's path. Their operating system -- and the S60 and UIQ user interfaces for it -- are going completely open. The Symbian OS will be open to development by anyone, and every company who wants to make a smartphone running it can do so without charge.

There you have it, two polar opposites each trying to accomplish the same thing: make a successful smartphone operating system. It's going to be interesting to see how these very different strategies play out in the coming years.

Android vs. iPhone vs. BlackBerry vs. OS X vs. Windows, brought to you by Namco By Tim Conneally | Published March 11, 2010, 4:37 PM

Namco, one of video gaming's most iconic brands, today announced a new cross-platform game engine called UniteSDK, which will let gamers play with one another irrespective of the platform they're playing their games on.

A user playing a UniteSDK-based game on their iPhone, for example, will be able to play against a PC user, who will be able to play against a Mac user, and so forth.

"Allowing gamers with the option to play anywhere, anytime and on multiple platforms will be a true milestone for Namco Networks -- wanting to play a friend that has an iPhone when someone only has a PC will no longer be a prohibiting factor," Kirby Fong, executive producer of web development and online gaming at Namco Networks said today. "UniteSDK allows Namco and in the near future, external developers, to create games that provide cross platform and cross game social community."

Namco's first title built on UniteSDK is called Pool Pro Online 3 and will launch on PC, iPad, Mac, Android, Java, BREW, RIM and Windows Mobile. All of these platforms will be able to engage one another.

In addition to allowing interoperability, UniteSDK also gives games the ability to support achievements, records, leaderboards, gamer profiles, in-game chat, buddy lists, one-on-one challenges, and tournaments.

It's another move by a game company toward unifying the disparate platforms under a single interoperable umbrella. A similar move was made by Valve Corporation this week when it announced it will sell copies of its games for both Mac and Windows for a single price, and that all its future releases will launch simultaneously on PC, Xbox 360, and Mac.

Namco's strategy however, has much more potential for revolution in that it makes community building considerably easier. When the platform is no longer a factor that separates players from one another, a community of gamers can get together, socialize, and play much more quickly.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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