The iPhone 3G is Game-Changing; Game-Ending for Google Android, Blackberry?


I'm likely not stating anything revolutionary here, but it is worth noting that what Jobs and Apple have built with the iPhone 3G is revolutionary. I traded my Blackberry in for the iPhone two days ago now (reactions are here) and the phone itself isn't the revolutionary aspect - it's the platform. I continue to be blown away by the Application platform and store that Apple released. The quality of content and innovation being put out by developers is remarkable (and we've just scratched the surface) - and both the developers and Apple's iPhone SDK / Dev Center are to thank for that. The available libraries are rich and developers are putting them to use effectively and rapidly.

And Apple's ability to leverage iTunes as a distribution lever for the App Store is immensely powerful. How can Google Android and Blackberry compete? Assume that their platform is equally robust and useful... there is a significant first mover advantage here and neither has the distribution platform that iTunes has. Will developers with already-hot iPhone apps choose to build on a new platform / library, or will they find ways to take advantage of their iPhone success with new versions and apps? And, considering their business focus, Blackberry will struggle with consumer applications... which happen to account for a large percentage of iPhone's current top paid and free apps. Meanwhile, it is yet to be seen what time of user Android will appeal to... and I don't expect that developers will dedicate resources without first understanding Android's size and type of userbase.

On a different note, I am not convinced consumers fully appreciate what Apple and the developers have put together... just two weeks after launch. Let's use the New York Times application as an example. It's a glossy, good-looking front-door to the New York Times that dynamically updates itself and allows readers to access news by category, popularity, photos, etc. And on the 3G network - it makes reading a (fast) joy.

It's the #1 'news' application and the 21st most popular free application. Oh yeah - it's 100% free. It has 239 reviews. The average rating is 2.5 stars.

Wait a second... The New York Times is giving away their newspaper in a gorgeous, routinely-updated application that sits on your phone's 'desktop' and is 100% free? And it can be downloaded over the AT&T network in a matter of seconds? And people are rating this a 2.5? Sure - the app can be improved and there are tweaks that should (and will) be made... but think about what was available two weeks ago. To read the NYT, you had to buy the paper, check your email or visit www.newyorktimes.com. Remarkable stuff is going on and the levels of innovation are eye-opening.