Smartphone makers go to war
(City A.M. (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The big players in the smartphone world are preparing to deploy the latest weapons in their arsenal. At the high-end of the market, the battle between Apple and Samsung is hotting up with today's release of the Galaxy S3. Meanwhile, RIM hopes to reaffirm its role as the "best of the rest" with its first keyboardless device. The smartphone field is now littered with first-class handsets vying for a slender portion of the overall market. A recent report by Juniper Research showed that 60 per cent of all phones shipped to the UK are made by either Samsung or Apple, leaving the likes of HTC, Nokia and Huawei to fight for the scraps. Let the war commence.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S3 RELEASED TODAY Samsung's rise in the smartphone sphere has been nothing short of meteoric, stealing the limelight from HTC as the coolest Android player on the market. Today marks the release of its new flagship device, the Galaxy S3. Expect a lightning-fast quad-core processor, a gigantic HD display and a 12-megapixel camera. The Galaxy S2 slipped behind the iPhone 4S in the last poll, after leading for most of the year. Samsung will hope a new model will help it maintain its crown as the UK's top selling device. The question is, do consumers really want to shell out for that much power - and will the kick come with a sting in the form of less battery life? RIM PREVIEWS NEW BLACKBERRY
A new BlackBerry handset is hardly the event it once was, but the launch of RIM's latest keyboardless phone is still something worth paying attention to (see Geek Speak left). The new device, slated for release later this year, is billed as RIM's first real internet phone. It will run on 1the Canadian firm's new BlackBerry 10 operating system, which borrows heavily from the software in its PlayBook tablet. It sells itself on its ability to multi-task between apps. RIM is fading fast as a serious force in the handset market and it really can't afford for this release to fall flat (as its last "flagship" device, the Torch, did). Based on what we've seen so far, don't get your hopes up.
AMAZON SETS ITS SIGHTS ON SMARTPHONES The Amazon Kindle has bulldozed everything in its path to become the dominant e-reader in an exploding market. Anecdotal evidence suggests its Kindle Fire tablet has also been a hit (in the US - still no UK launch date in sight), luring both Kindle readers who crave colour and tablet users unwilling to fork out $400 for an iPad. Now rumour has it the online shopping giant is in the process of building a smartphone to further entwine its tentacles around our lives. If it follows the blueprint of the Fire, offering a budget device intrinsically linked to its Kindle Store, Amazon could well be onto another winner. So RIM has unveiled…
Well, nothing, really. A rather uninspiring prototype for a phone template its rivals brought to market half a decade ago. An unfinished operating system with no launch date. It is like the Emperor with his new clothes, except people worked out years ago that he was naked. Now they just turn up out of a sense of morbid curiosity. Research firm Gartner expects RIM's market share to fall to just five per cent this year, down from almost nine per cent at the end of 2011. The Canadian firm needed to show it has direction, a golden bucket to bail out the sinking ship. It didn't. RIM made the classic mistake of resting on its laurels during the good years. People loved its Qwerty keyboard and its email system, so that's what it gave them: "There you go, have another BlackBerry Bold - and there's more where that came from, folks". Meanwhile, its rivals were making real internet phones. Its former chief executives eventually shouldered the blame and stepped aside, which left new boss Thorsten Heins as the new Emperor, strutting around the stage this week, totally nude, clutching the as-yet-unnamed handset. The prototype looks like a tiny BlackBerry PlayBook, which wasn't an unattractive tablet. But it's not enough - the Nokia Lumia is a nice looking phone but that didn't convince anyone to buy it. The new operating system, BlackBerry 10, also looks familiar to the half a dozen of us who have used a PlayBook. It's OK. But it doesn't offer anything exciting enough to persuade your average Joe to abandon Android or iOS. RIM rightly thinks there is room in the operating system market for a third serious player but if it thinks it will be BB10 and not Microsoft's WP7 then it's very seriously mistaken.
(c) 2012 City A.M.
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