The smartphone goes on sale in more international destinations starting Friday. Also in this App Industry Roundup, we ponder whether the iPad has killed the competition before it even began.
The iPhone 4 is going on the road, again. Starting Friday, the iPhone 4 will be available in 16 more countries. Apple (AAPL) insists in this press release that it's going on sale in 17 more countries, but as we pointed out before, Hong Kong is not a country. As we know, it can take Apple awhile before it admits it may have made an error.
The press release doesn't say whether the iPhone 4 models headed to foreign shores ships with a bumper, either. Wouldn't that be wise and save a lot of postage and handling? Apple's a green company, right? (In case you need a bumper for your iPhone 4, here's a link on how to get one. Apple kicked off the bumper program Friday.)
Is the iPad its own market?
It's a little early to call the tablet market "dead" to competition due to Apple's dominant success with the iPad, but that's what Jonny Evans writes in Computerworld. The reasons include the obvious -- the iPad is category-defining product much like the iPod changed the music-gadget business (and the music business, frankly) -- and the current troubles with shortages in key product supplies, which is creating havoc across many gadget categories.
But Evans also notes that Apple's early advantage and execution in delivering the device despite the shortages pretty much dooms other competitors.
"Because Apple owns the OS and has control over the processor design used in the mobile devices it makes, it can ensure efficiencies, such as power or graphics management and so on," he writes. "Such efficiencies cannot possibly be replicated by any competitor, certainly not by the likes of Android or Windows 7 Phone. Both latter systems are not tooled for specific devices, but for multiple devices from different manufacturers."
"Cannot possibly" is pretty strong language, particularly if you use the smartphone market as an example. The strength of Android is multiple manufacturers creating popular phones that are distributed across all wireless carriers; that's a benefit and will ultimately help companies like Google (GOOG) spread the wealth when its tablets start hitting the market later this year. So since we haven't seen the other tablet products yet, Evans is premature with his notion that the iPad killed the competition before it began. After all, whether you love or hate Android phones, they have outsold Apple phones this year because of those advantages.
What about MSFT?
Microsoft (MSFT), on the other hand, will remain a tough sell. It's recent pulling of the Kin from the market has badly damaged its already suffering phone reputation. But it may have a savior in HTC, the Taiwanese phone maker, who is readying some Windows 7 hardware, according to this report on Engadget. HTC (2498.TW) is my pick for phone-maker of the year, first-half 2010 edition -- an award I just made up! -- because of it's top-notch work with Android phones like the Incredible (Verizon - VZ) and Evo (Sprint - S).
HTC has made Windows phones before, so the fact they are making models for Windows 7 is hardly surprising. Yet with HTC's increased brand recognition and growing reputation as a fun phone maker, maybe they will produce a winner for Microsoft. If I were a Microsoft phone manager, I'd make sure there was a lot of marketing support behind an HTC Windows 7 product.