Next iPhone Contestants BlackBerry Storm and T-Mobile G1

It’s been approximately a year and 3 months since the iPhone was released here in the U.S. During that time, there has been lot of hype for competitor phones like the LG Voyager and the Samsung Instinct, but that’s all it was hype. How many people have you seen carrying one of those phones today? Pretty soon, we will have two new contestants on the market…

The BlackBerry Storm is looking great and I like the sounds of the T-Mobile G1 running Android but both have major weaknesses. It’s too bad we can’t combine the strengths of both and make what I think would be the first real iPhone competitor to put out Apple’s fire. The iPhone is far from perfect, but I don’t think anyone else has yet been able to offer a package close enough to really compete.

Things I like about the BlackBerry Storm: great design, large screen, Verizon network, and 3MP camera.

Major flaws: no multi-touch, no application store, won’t be easy to store/play music and videos.

It’s not that there is anything wrong with the BlackBerry OS (I would take it over Windows Mobile any day), but they still have not announced any plans to offer an open marketplace for third-party apps. It will be more difficult since BlackBerry offers their devices on several carriers, but they need to do whatever they can to figure out a similar app solution quickly. It took them a while, but Google will soon have its own app market with some amazing apps like ShopSavvy, which will allow people to scan bar codes and compare product pricing information from their phones.

BlackBerry has always been very successful at targeting business users. The problem is the iPhone now handles the business functions BlackBerry users need while also providing the storage and features to playback hours of music and video, something BlackBerry needs to start doing. They may not have cared about this when they first started, but they need to suck it up and realize their market share will continue to get smaller if they don’t.

Otherwise, Blackberry clearly stepped up their game for the Storm. Everything from the teaser website to the flyer I got the other day in the mail is well done and actually has me looking forward to being able to play around with it. The fact that it will be available on a more reliable network is a major plus. Here we were talking more about that go to our website home page and get an idea.

Things I like about the T-mobile G1: the open source marketplace, free apps, and the ability to run multiple apps at once.

Major flaws: no desktop syncing app, no multi-touch, no internal storage for media playback, and no headphone jack.

This device looks like it was designed by geeks for geeks. The hardware design and user interface (from the pictures I’ve seen) are where it’s definitely lacking a polished look. An Ex-Google Product Manager even came out and said the design didn’t change in the 2.5 years it took to release the phone.

With a $180 price tag, many people are quick to automatically assume that cheaper will equal more sales, but I disagree. I don’t think I need to go into detail here, just think about why any high-end brand does well. Most people just want a nice-looking phone with cool functions and they will pay more if need be.

I attended an iPhone vs. Android iBreakfast event the other day and the general response was positive on how the mobile industry, in general, is advancing. Allowing developers to be creative has really begun changing the way people are using their mobile phones for things like travel, social networking, and commerce. You can watch the full T-Mobile G1 press event, which will also give you a very good idea of what Android is about. Also, many more great examples of apps can be found. It will be interesting to see how Android evolves on other handsets around the world and if more manufacturers will jump on board to support Google. If that happens, will Symbian and Palm just disappear?

Other Thoughts

It’s important to remember that when Apple announced the iPhone, they started a wave of innovation that has had a huge impact not just on the mobile industry, but also on the marketing and advertising industries. Although there is not enough solid data yet, the responses we are starting to see and hear about from the brands and developers who have gotten on the iPhone early have been better than expected. One developer even made $250,000 in just two months from selling a simple game. Who could have ever predicted that?

I still recall being on the phone with the Verizon rep about a year ago while he was trying to convince me to stay with Verizon and consider the LG Voyager that wasn’t even available yet! I was still locked into a 2-year contract with Verizon at the time, but because I already had my mind set on the iPhone, I did what I needed to do to get out of that contract. If either the Storm of the G1 were as compelling, I would do the same.

I’d love to see just how many people left other carriers to get the iPhone. Now more than ever, I see the full benefit of why Apple keeps their product release details under strict secrecy and I think it really paid off for them more than ever with the iPhone. They gained a huge advantage in the smartphone market here in the U.S. How long do you think it will take before their fire is put out, if ever?

By Pichan

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