Is Smartphone Innovation Lost In The Rush To Copy The iPhone?

…a lithograph of the Mona Lisa is never going to be worth more than the original even if the lithograph is nominally  “better” because it uses archival quality pigments and has brighter colors. People will always value the real thing more than a high quality copy.

Interesting argument by Chris Seibold that claims the iPhone has stifled innovation because competitors are focusing only on making a knock-off, not on innovating to make something better. This isn’t the iPhone’s or Apple’s fault, and Seibold doesn’t say it is, but there’s some merit to his overall point.

Look at the competition’s ads aimed at the iPhone. They’d have you believe their “innovation” is, for example, using a hardware keyboard. Yet a hardware keyboard runs counter to a hand-held touch device. I wonder how many are used not because it’s a Good Thing, but because they can’t wait for a decent software keyboard to be completed before shipping the product. The Palm Pre sure feels like this.

For another example, look at Android’s fragmenting market of phones with different screens, hardware keyboards, software keyboards, varying UI experiences from handset makers, etc. Google doesn’t have the power (or desire) to prevent this, so it’s touted as a “feature” of the platform being “open”. Yet a fragmented market will limit Android’s overall appeal and success. See Windows Mobile for an example of that. Millions of WinMo units sold, but all so different there’s no UI consistency, and no cohesive entity — like iTunes and the App Store — to make a complete system that breeds customer satisfaction, loyalty, and a disincentive to go elsewhere.

In short, the only “innovation” from iPhone competitors so far has been to copy as much as they can, and then spin what they couldn’t copy as a “feature”.

Posted via web from The Small Wave.

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3 thoughts on “Is Smartphone Innovation Lost In The Rush To Copy The iPhone?

  1. The copying just confirms what Apple users have been saying all these years. Apple shows the way and all the rest bluster to follow.

  2. The ideas In the student/workers revolt of May 1968 in Paris were written in the walls of the city as graffittis. (Sorry, I know 95% of readers were not yet born in that year!)

    The best I always remember is; “Action must be a creation, not a reaction,”

    I think this is what had happen to the iPhone: Apple’s actions were creations, other’s,,, just reactions,

    Another graffitti speaks on Steve Jobs’ way of doing things: “Be real, ask the impossible!”

  3. Lest anyone forget, the cellphone guys had been doling out pieces of junk with horrific interfaces and zero innovation for YEARS before the iPhone came along. That they are now cranking out iPhone clones with zero innovation is not the fault of the iPhone, it’s simply a new side to the “we have no clue what people would ever want in a cellphone” issue that they all seem to have.

    It’s not new. And it’s not the iPhone’s fault. The real issue is, none of these guys has a clue about user experience or even really gives a crap about their customers. They’ll never come up with anything new, because just like those of us who bought their junk before the iPhone comes out, they don’t know any other way.

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