The latest development with Nokia deciding to partner with Microsoft to integrate Windows 7 Mobile in their phones is something everyone needs to watch. This article pre-announcement from the Economist LINK shows market share and profits of the various hardware manufacturers. Here are two other articles on the announcement. One I find interesting is with Nokia in financial straits Microsoft is pretty much buying their way in: LINK LINK
We all know competition is good and healthy. It will ensure the best products and services come to market. But does this really mean we will always have the choice? I don't know if that is true. I have a Droid2 which I love even though it is buggy, poor battery life, freezes up, and requires plenty of reboots. Most of the Apps are universal so if I get an IPhone for my next phone I just re-load an App and it works seamlessly.
But what about the Apps I had to pay for? Do you really think Apple is going to just give them to me for free from the App Store? Definitely not. Nor would the eventual Windows App Store, Blackberry, or Android Stores when people switch.
Nokia sells a lot of phones. If they can pull this off and make yet another platform relevant this creates a quandary for Brands, Developers, Tech Companies, Cellular Networks, and Consumers. It is possible that a first time buyer might not realize that decision could be one that corners them with the chosen platform should they invest in Apps and Content that winds up unique to that Phone or Platform.
This gets even more complicated when Handset Manufacturers make customized Applications themselves. Verizon backs up my contacts on their cloud so when I get a new phone it downloads to the phone. But don't think Apple, Samsung, Motorola will make it as seamless for anything that is unique to the phone itself.
There is one group who are extremely excited about this new development: Mobile Agencies and 3rd Party APP Developers who do integration work for clients. When a Brand decides they have to have their content or APPs work on every platform they have to pay for this.
The groups that will have tough decisions are any Brands without deep pockets and independent APP developers who might have to choose which platform to develop for.