IPhone Rivals Are Not “Answers”

As the launch of the iPhone draws near the stories on it haven’t let up. The Wall Street Journal has a piece on mobile phones that are (or will be) seen as competitors to the iPhone and makes the common mistake of calling them “answers” to the iPhone, as if the manufacturers whipped up a high-end phone in a matter of months. All of these phones were in development before the iPhone was demo’d, even the touch-screen phones, and would have hit the market anyway — although they may not have garnered as much attention. The examples given in the story are the HTC Touch, the LG Prada, the Nokia N95 and the Samsung UpStage. Verizon’s got the right idea in not going up against the iPhone with a single handset — they won’t match the brand.

Not the gadget: One of the better comments I’ve heard on the iPhone came from Yankee Group analyst John Jackson: “The device is only part of the solution to compete with the iPhone…Any handset maker is more than capable of making clever devices. But it’s really about business models. That’s where Apple maintains its business advantage.” That includes content sales as well as deals with carriers to promote the phone and sell it through their stores. The “answer” to the iPhone is not really going to come from manufacturers, it’s going to come from carriers and the way they market their products and services.

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