The Competition: Palm webOS 1.2, Android Donut 1.6, BlackBerry 5.0, Windows Mobile 6.5
While TiPb is still waiting for an iPhone 3.1.1 bug-fix update, not to mention iPhone 3.2 betas to start dropping, it looks like the competition is getting their OS on this week:
- Palm webOS 1.2 didn't re-enable the iTunes hack (kudos Palm!) but did bring some nifty new features including Amazon MP3 downloads over 3G, the foundations for paid apps in the App Catalog, improved cut and paste, and much more.
- Android 1.6 Donut is expected to hit now'ish as well. A new Android Market is coming with it, but not multi-touch -- at least not yet.
- BlackBerry OS 5.0 still doesn't seem to be official, but is leaking out all over the place (would that Apple had such porous pipes!). It'll make your Berry more Berry, though it doesn't seem to integrate a real browser yet, despite what the commercials say...
- Windows Mobile 6.5 might be on 30 Windows Phones by 2010, though even Ballmer is finally admitting Windows Mobile 7 should have been out this year. Bottom-line, it's a skin-job, and even though it looks hawt'er than a old style centurion, it's still a machine on the inside.
What does that mean for the iPhone? Even if RIM looks locked in stasis, Palm and Microsoft appear to have up-hill battles re-gaining their traction, and Android is still slowly ramping up, Apple can't afford to coast. A new OS from RIM, a Palm-style rebirth from Microsoft, and webOS and Android gaining marketshare are all possibilities. Many of these updates have interesting new features that hopefully Apple is looking at and working their own magic on.
So, let's get on with the 3.2... and 4.0. March is only 6 months away, after all, and Apple needs something else to wow Smartphone buyers with at the next SDK event...