The past decade for Apple, HTC and RIM has been fruitful! While Nokia has moved the greatest volume of mobile phones; these three companies sold numerous ARPU generating Smartphones in the past decade. By participating in the advancement in technology, they have enjoyed significant profit growth (as the margins in Smartphones are generally better). Whether these companies can continue to achieve greatness depends on the abilities of their leaders to dream and create.
RIM, Research In Motion, a Canadian company has successfully introduced QWERTY keyboard smartphones to the business world. Top executives were able to read their emails when they were out of office because they have a Blackberry. They were able to get hold of the latest information and respond to their emails quickly, even if they were at lunch, in the gym or on the beach. More and more staff began to receive a Blackberry from their boss as "presents". It has create such a professional image that even Mr. Barack Obama was willing to admit to be a Blackberry addict. The Blackberry was so successful that people called every QWERTY mobile phone a Blackberry device.
Microsoft's Windows Mobile tried to steal the Business Exchange email market from RIM's Blackberry. They had some but little success. It took the introduction of Apple's iPhone and the advancement in the Android OS to slowly steal the glory from Blackberry. On the other hand, RIM has also started to lose focus since 2008. Unless RIM can develop the next iconic phone, their market share will soon be consumed by iPhone and Android phones.
Apple, a company that brought earthquakes to the mobile phone industry, is not a telecommunications company. Ever since the introduction of iPhone, traditional leaders in the industry tried to create their own iconic product that will defeat iPhone. None of the iPhone-killers have succeeded so far.
You can probably still remember that iPhone 2G has created some interests but most users stuck with their iPods instead. The iPhone 3G sold so well, despite of the economic tsunami. When iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 were introduced, die-hard iPhone friends were able to brag about the "new" features on their iPhones (features that other smartphones had since the very beginning). There has never been a phone that received so many criticisms and yet sold so many units. You might have heard your friends and colleagues complained about the iPhone, they are also the people who either bought an iPhone or will soon purchase their iPhone.
The key dreamer behind this great invention, Mr. Steve Jobs, was on sick-leave for six months in 2009. This has exposed an key problem within Apple. When the demanding boss was away, the sexy inventions disappeared and technical issues began to grow. Furthermore, some (the people who bought an iPhone) argue that iPhone 4 did not have enough wow factors. Apple will lose their fans to Android unless the next iPhone is another revolutionary device. However, I am certain that Mr. Jobs has something up in his sleeves.
The other mobile phone manufacturer that is currently enjoying success is HTC (also known as High Tech Computer Corporation or Hong-Ta Corporation). This Taiwanese manufacturer first entered the smartphone market with Palm and Windows Mobile devices. They have made themselves known for giving birth to G1, the first Android smartphone. Since then, they have created the award winning HTC Hero, manufactured the "Google phone" Nexus One, and many other great Android smartphones. HTC is still producing iconic Android products today. They are also heavily involved in the development of Windows Phone 7 products that will soon be release.
Unlike the iPhone and the iPhone OS, the market share of Android smartphones are shared amongst several manufacturers. In addition, HTC's close relationship with Google seemed to have changed over the past year. Furthermore, HTC have to face the fierce competition from manufacturer that aims to produce entry-level Android phone at a much cheaper price. How well can HTC defend their market share by producing cost-effective phones and yet continue to release iconic devices will determine its future.
Related blog posts:
The Past Decade for Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola
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