Smartphone competition: It’s too late for Nokia and Microsoft, but not too late for Palm in USA

Everyone is still talking cell phones. Just visit TechMeme today and you’ll see lots of news from HTC, I’ve already seen some claims that it has a “Palm killer.” Hint: it’s not about the device, it’s about the software you put onto it. Haven’t we learned that yet? Remember when I told you two years ago that the iPhone is a better device than what Nokia had? Remember how many people argued with me? They were wrong. Just like they are wrong to say that Palm doesn’t have a shot here. Heck, when I saw Walt Mossberg last week, the Wall Street Journal’s top tech writer, he said Palm has a shot.

But, sorry, Nokia, Palm caught the last train out of town. They made it to the station 30 seconds before the doors closed.

You didn’t make it and there are no more trains for the USA market.

Why do I say that?

Because in the USA there are only these major carriers:

AT&T.
Verizon.
Sprint.
T-Mobile.

AT&T? Gone. Apple has them sewn up. Verizon? RIM has them sewn up. I met with RIM’s director of marketing at CES and he was smiling. That should give you a hint. Sprint? Palm has them in the Palm of their hands now. T-Mobile? Google’s Android is their key smart phone.

So, what does this mean? All the US carriers now have their SmartPhone choices. All the trains have left the station.

Who is out in this game? Microsoft and Nokia.

So, what do Microsoft and Nokia have to do to get back in the game?

Do something so unbelieveable that it causes everyone in the world to want one.

Hint: I have friends who’ve seen the new Microsoft OS. I’ve seen the new Nokia OS, just a month ago. They don’t have it. The game is afoot and Nokia and Microsoft are left at the station.

Am I wrong? Argue with me.

Please note that I’m only talking about the US market. Nokia and Microsoft will do just fine in other markets because their offerings are better for those markets (lower cost, or have stylus’s which are demanded in China, for instance, or have all-you-can-eat music subscription services which are demanded by Europeans). But in USA? Sorry Nokia and Microsoft, it’s going to be a tough year.

Oh, and Laptop Magazine has some good videos of the Palm Pre in action. I can’t wait to get one of these devices and compare it to my Nokias and my iPhone.

81 thoughts on “Smartphone competition: It’s too late for Nokia and Microsoft, but not too late for Palm in USA

  1. My experience tells me that M$ is made for geeks who argue they have a “wider selection of software”. In fact, significant part of that software is crap.

    What concerns Nokia, well… Despite of all abilities, S60 devices are very seldom purchased as smartphones, far more often as “just cool phones”. Nokia’s huge market share is almost 95% made of people who use like 5-20% of their phones’ functions. ;-)

  2. My experience tells me that M$ is made for geeks who argue they have a “wider selection of software”. In fact, significant part of that software is crap.

    What concerns Nokia, well… Despite of all abilities, S60 devices are very seldom purchased as smartphones, far more often as “just cool phones”. Nokia’s huge market share is almost 95% made of people who use like 5-20% of their phones’ functions. ;-)

  3. When will the US transcend the two year locked in service agreement?

    Europe has gotten to the point where they often give away a popular models that owners use to buy minutes on.

    I’d pay full price for the phone – gladly – if it meant a more competitive wireless market and an end to the two year service agreement.

  4. When will the US transcend the two year locked in service agreement?

    Europe has gotten to the point where they often give away a popular models that owners use to buy minutes on.

    I’d pay full price for the phone – gladly – if it meant a more competitive wireless market and an end to the two year service agreement.

  5. Rob Moir has a good point there: apart from anything else, it’s Americans not Europeans who demand flat-rate services wherever possible! A flat rate subscription for music might be nice, perhaps – like I have now from Safari for books (remind me which country that service is from again?) – but hey, I don’t even have a flat-rate broadband connection at home any more, let alone anything else flat-rate!

  6. Rob Moir has a good point there: apart from anything else, it’s Americans not Europeans who demand flat-rate services wherever possible! A flat rate subscription for music might be nice, perhaps – like I have now from Safari for books (remind me which country that service is from again?) – but hey, I don’t even have a flat-rate broadband connection at home any more, let alone anything else flat-rate!

  7. “or have all-you-can-eat music subscription services which are demanded by Europeans”

    I love hearing about how I’m “demanding” things I’ve never actually asked for and don’t really want. when do I get the chance to demand things that *I* actually want in my phones? More to the point, where’s my pony? I’m sure I read a report that everyone in Europe wants a pony!

  8. “or have all-you-can-eat music subscription services which are demanded by Europeans”

    I love hearing about how I’m “demanding” things I’ve never actually asked for and don’t really want. when do I get the chance to demand things that *I* actually want in my phones? More to the point, where’s my pony? I’m sure I read a report that everyone in Europe wants a pony!

  9. you have to understand that from operator point of view locking themselves into a smartphone operating system with only one manufacturer that fully controls that operating system is dead end road. they might just as well give all their stock outright to the manufacturer.

    therefore, if a carrier chooses and exclusive smartphone platform it can only be android or symbian. iphone / palm exclusivity is just not an option.

  10. you have to understand that from operator point of view locking themselves into a smartphone operating system with only one manufacturer that fully controls that operating system is dead end road. they might just as well give all their stock outright to the manufacturer.

    therefore, if a carrier chooses and exclusive smartphone platform it can only be android or symbian. iphone / palm exclusivity is just not an option.

  11. Dear retard

    Who wrote the rule that says each operator can only sell one kind of Smartphone? All of the networks you mention have been selling varieties of smartphones from different vendors without exclusivity for years.

    iPhone is the only exclusive, and only for another year. G1 is only exclusive to T-Mobile, because no one else wants it.

    By the way, AT&T sells Nokia smartphones such as 6650, N73, and E62, albeit without much success.

  12. Dear retard

    Who wrote the rule that says each operator can only sell one kind of Smartphone? All of the networks you mention have been selling varieties of smartphones from different vendors without exclusivity for years.

    iPhone is the only exclusive, and only for another year. G1 is only exclusive to T-Mobile, because no one else wants it.

    By the way, AT&T sells Nokia smartphones such as 6650, N73, and E62, albeit without much success.

  13. …out just like Palm was for the last X years, dragging Palm OS 5 around?

    No one is ever entirely out, especially not MS or Nokia. I’d certainly take you more seriously if you weren’t making these ridiculous all-or-nothing statements and just gushing over the N97 not two months ago. Didn’t sound like it “wasn’t enough” then. In fact, it sounded (and still sounds) very sweet and functional. Maybe that doesn’t kick in the kind of gadget lust flicking cards around can, but let me know when either Apple or Palm release a high-quality 5MP with flash camera on their phone. That’s what I use the most on mine.

  14. …out just like Palm was for the last X years, dragging Palm OS 5 around?

    No one is ever entirely out, especially not MS or Nokia. I’d certainly take you more seriously if you weren’t making these ridiculous all-or-nothing statements and just gushing over the N97 not two months ago. Didn’t sound like it “wasn’t enough” then. In fact, it sounded (and still sounds) very sweet and functional. Maybe that doesn’t kick in the kind of gadget lust flicking cards around can, but let me know when either Apple or Palm release a high-quality 5MP with flash camera on their phone. That’s what I use the most on mine.

  15. Hi Mr. Scoble,

    I’d like to hear from you about Motorola. Any chances for they compete in this smartphone market? or they are gone !

  16. Hi Mr. Scoble,

    I’d like to hear from you about Motorola. Any chances for they compete in this smartphone market? or they are gone !

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