Are there too many smartphones on the market?
Microsoft manager at CES talks about iPhone's impact
Computerworld - Are there too many smartphones on the market?
That and other provocative questions were posed during a CES panel discussion Thursday between journalists for the The Verge and managers for Windows Phone at Microsoft and smartphone makers HTC and Samsung.
The question of whether there are too many smartphone variations on the market was partly incited by Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha's comment at CES that the company plans to make fewer phones in 2012.
The HTC and Samsung officials agreed there is a profundity of smartphone choices with little to distinguish some of them, but they also argued that competition and demands from users have led to the proliferation of devices. Add in frequent OS changes and the need to have devices at different prices, and the result is a surfeit of phones on the market, they said.
But Josh Topolsky, editor-in-chief of The Verge, would have none of it, asking: "Is this the kind of [b.s.] we need, with all these products in the market? Are we trying to create demand where there isn't any?"
Topolsky tried to inject humor into the issue, noting that AT&T has put on sale five nearly identical HTC smartphones at the same time. Nilay Patel, managing editor at The Verge, joked he spends two hours a day counting smartphones from various manufacturers.
Ryan Biden, Samsung's director of product management for mobility, said he agreed that there is a "proliferation problem" in the number of models on the market. "There should be a drive toward optimization."
But Biden and Drew Bamford, HTC's executive vice president for user experience, could not say whether their companies plan to reduce the number of smartphones they will release in 2012.
The audience applauded when one person asked whether HTC and Samsung could release more Android phones that are pure Google, without the added "skin," or interface, provided by HTC and Samsung.
Bamford responded that all the makers want to provide a unique experience for customers, and did note that HTC makes phones that can be "rooted" to bring them back to pure the Google OS.
Some of the most poignant remarks came from Microsoft's director of Windows Phone marketing, Aaron Woodman. Questions arose about how a powerful, successful company like Microsoft could be so far behind Apple in building a successful phone and whether Windows Phone was more or less a reaction to Apple's iPhone.
"In our company, we love the industry so we talk about Apple a lot, but the Windows Phone is so different than the iPhone," Woodman said. "I have no desire to be Apple; it's not in our DNA. We feel really proud of our differences."
Still, Woodman added that in designing and even conceiving of a Windows Phone, Microsoft's "time horizon was much longer.... Apple [iPhone] forced a conversation [with Microsoft] to look at the whole consumer who was employed and listened to music [and did other things with technology]. Windows Phone was not a reaction to the [iPhone] product, but a realization of the acceleration of change, and it was kind of faster than we were on pace to do."
Plus, check out our live blog from CES.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
- Is the 'quantified self' movement just a fad?
- Elgan: Voice, gestures dominate CES
- Windows 8 on ARM: You can look but you can't touch
- Google's Marissa Mayer says more women needed in tech
- Hands on: Sony Xperia Ion smartphone
- New Ford Focus Electric comes with smartphone app
- Insecure Android a myth, Motorola exec says
- For $1000, a chance for tech glory in Vegas
- Buyers hang on for cheaper, faster Windows 8 ultrabooks
- CES: Coming soon, drones for home and office
Read more about Smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.
- Top 12 Laptop Bags for Mobile Pros
- Think Deleted Text Messages Are Gone Forever? Think Again
- 7 New Faces of the C-suite
- 5 Ways CIOs Can Rationalize Application Portfolios
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The cloud: inevitable, but not ubiquitous It's an age old question for those considering cloud: where do I start? But with all the hype surrounding the cloud, that's not...
- Integrating security with HP TippingPoint This white paper discusses the components and configuration requirements to implement an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) for CloudSystem Enterprise.
- START small, grow tall: Why cloud now Executives and leaders look forward to the day when IT will be delivered as a pure service throughout the organization. But the reality...
- Five Cloud Security Concerns You Must Address Security for the cloud era should be information centric, built in, adaptive, and proactive. How can you respond to the new threat landscape...
- Leveraging the Cloud for Dev/Test This video discusses some of the key considerations that IT organizations should take into account when moving test and development projects to the...
- A Secure Cloud for Development and Testing Environments This video shows the benefits of hosting your development and testing environments in the Enterprise Cloud Services - Virtual Private Cloud. All Smartphones White Papers | Webcasts