27th December 2009
the most innovative smartphone maker of 2009, HTC expanded from
their Windows-only policy to embrace the world of Android. To this
end, the HTC Hero
is certainly one of the most impressive Android devices on the market,
but Windows fans also have the HTC
HD2 which is even more impressive when it comes to raw hardware
HTC do more than produce hardware, they also add
their own unique software and user interface to the handsets, something
that is of a particular benefit to Windows Mobile devices.
Although HTC are still a relatively small company,
it's hard to see where they can go wrong with their current strategy
of "bigger, better, faster, more". As ever, we think that
HTC would make a juicy acquisition target if anybody has that sort
of money at the moment.
/ Windows Mobile
2009 hasn't been exactly a disaster for Microsoft, they have
been losing market share to Android and the Apple iPhone. Windows
Mobile 6.5 gave the operating system a boost late in the year,
but the long anticipated Windows Mobile 7 looks to be a long way
off, due at the end of 2010.
This means that there's a big gap between the current
stopgap version of Windows and the version that is meant to be truly
competitive with the best that the opposition has to offer, and
this will be an opportunity for rivals to permanently take share
away from Microsoft.
There was bad news on the manufacturer front during
2009 - HTC switched some of its efforts to Android, although it
remains a key partner for Microsoft. Motorola appears to have ditched
Windows Mobile completely, and there are persistent rumours that
Samsung may do the same.
Microsoft's achingly slow development cycles and
inability to keep up with the opposition mean that it will continue
to be under pressure in 2010 and beyond, although Microsoft are
unlikely to give up this potentially important market.
one to watch during 2010, Android still has a few rough edges but
with version 2 now released (and version 2.1 in development) it
is getting better all the time. One problem that Android has is
a fragmented approach from vendors, manufacturers can't resist tinkering
with the operating system and making it inconsistent.
We know that Google have their own smartphone up
their sleeves, called the "Nexus One" which appears to
have been manufactured by HTC. Whether or not this is aimed at Google
staff and developers, or is aimed at general consumers is not yet
Symbian platform was spun off from Nokia in 2009 to the Symbian
Foundation, and made open source. Theoretically, this looked like
good news for Symbian.. but when Nokia showed off their first non-Symbian
smartphone, the N900,
then alarm bells started to ring. But are Nokia actually moving
away from Symbian? It seems that perhaps they just want to use the
operating system in more mass-market devices, so this could actually
be good news.
More worryingly, longtime Symbian partners Sony
Ericsson and Motorola seem to have stopped making Symbian-based
handsets altogether, and there are strong rumours that Samsung will
drop the operating system too. Apart from Nokia and FOMA of Japan,
very few handsets use this platform.
There's life in Symbian yet, but smartphone makers
are increasingly looking elsewhere and it is hard to see a way for
Symbian to compete with the likes of Android, Maemo and the iPhone.
companies to watch in 2010
Israeli company Emblaze Mobile made a splash
with the First
Else, a powerful LiMo-based device with a unique interface and
great potential. Our guess is that Emblaze is too small to be able
to give this technology the push it needs.. as a result it looks
like an interesting acquisition target. Toshiba scored modest
success with the TG01
smartphone, but we suspect that this may be their last attempt to
carve a niche in the European market, and they may follow the likes
of fellow Japanese firms Sharp, Panasonic and NEC who no longer
compete in Europe. INQ Mobile is a subsidiary of Hutchison
Whampoa, who also own the 3 network, but expect to see INQ break
out into other markets with the likes of their Chat
3G handset. Acer, Garmin-Asus and ZTE are
companies that have shown promise in 2009, and are likely to make
more of an impact in 2010.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank
all of our readers and YouTube
viewers, and we wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2010!