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Why the iPhone might not be the future of mobile

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 17th February 2010

Mobile World Congress kicked off in style on Monday with Microsoft unveiling their latest mobile operating system – Windows 7. The OS looks really slick with some really nice features including contact syncing with social networks and Xbox integration.

But is this all too little too late? The new iPhone (4.0) is set to hit in the summer and Microsoft don’t expect any Windows 7 phones to reach consumers until the end of the year.

It’s all about the apps

I’m a big iPhone fan, but I really like the Windows 7 UI – enough to make me consider moving, but there is one thing holding me back – the apps.

And this neatly brings me to one of the other big MWC announcements; a number of the leading mobile manufacturers have teamed together to try and bring about the standardisation of mobile applications.

This seems to be a movement that is gaining momentum. The BBC today announced that it is going to be launching mobile apps for parts of its website in the next few month, but launched an attack on mobile manufacturers who are making life too hard for publishers keen to get their content on mobile devices, by forcing them to create separate versions for different operating systems.

Are apps just a stop gap?

Apple leads the way at the moment with the sheer number of apps that are available for the iPhone. And for an iPhone user, this means the temptation to move to another handset manufacturer is fairly low. Sure UIs are great, but in a world where mobile handsets are now more like mini-computers, applications really do make the difference.

But the standardisation of apps could really shake things up. And it would make a lot of sense for the consumer, if not for Apple.

Of course, standalone applications themselves could soon be a thing of the past themselves – how will HTML5 change this space? I had a good tweet-chat with Matt Hopkins on Friday evening about how HTML5 web apps could in fact overtake – take the new mobile web app for Google Buzz as an example of HTML5 at work. This would render the whole compatibility issue a moot point.

So for now, I’ll be sticking with the iPhone, but I’ve still got my eye on Microsoft et al., as the mobile landscape could soon be very different…

Danny Whatmough