James Rosewell writes:
It seems to be accepted that the Apple iPhone will be the top selling mobile phone this Christmas now it’s available on almost every UK network. The more interesting question is which handsets will hold the number 2 to 5 positions - and what operating system will they be running when the smartphone scores are announced in the new year?
Microsoft announced Windows Phone last week and I commented on the importance of persuading their heartland fans to move from iPhone and other platforms to Windows Phone. Disappointingly, finding a mobile retailer willing to sell a Windows Phone is not easy at the moment. Orange tell me they’ve withdrawn the one model they were going to offer from Toshiba. Vodafone didn’t even know what a Windows Phone was.
On the other hand, Android based devices in the form of the HTC Hero and Motorola DEXT among others are available on the streets today - and they're running an operating system that’s been commercially available for 18 months. As anyone who bought a G1 or even an HTC Magic will testify, Android handsets have not been without their problems. However, many of those early bugs have been resolved and both new devices appear very capable; packed full of “App Store” value, adding downloads, out of the box functions, hi-res touch screens and - in the case of the DEXT - a lovely slide-out keyboard. They won’t knock Apple off the top spot but if the competition can exploit Apple’s premium pricing and poor battery performance I’d be willing to bet an Android phone will feature alongside a Symbian-based device in the top five. I’d even go as far as to suggest the DEXT may herald the return of Motorola.
Conversely, Microsoft and its partners will have to work very hard in 2010 to rectify what could be a very bad Christmas if they don’t get high-quality Windows Phone based handsets into the channel quickly. Ultimately they could lose out to Android as well as to Apple.