December 3, 2008

2008 Mobile Experience Year End Review

2008 has been an exciting year for the mobile front. iPhone made its way into its 2nd generation (3G) and have released a dozen or so firmware OSX updates. With each release, more bugs were squashed and new features have been introduced (Location Service, GMAP Streetview, Transit info, App Store, Chinese Input, etc...) All of these features have pushed the smartphone industry to new height. One can see the reaction by Nokia and Research in Motion by introducing their own versions of multimedia touchscreen-based handsets. Most smartphones now have some version of full web browser which was not as prevalent in 2007. 3G is certainly the keyword of the year, as every marketing and ad campaign on TV claims a phone's remarkable 3G speed and they all appear to have the "largest" 3G network. Integrated GPS and WiFi seems to be more of a standard feature this year, which is something I have complaint about lacking in the past. More and more websites are now available in some form of mobile format while smartphones have been capitalizing on advanced RSS capabilities to get useful information to the tiny screen. This is a big year for Google on the mobile front, despite the meager buzz generated around the launch of T-Mobile G1. Google has been silently working on their mobile products for years and with the push of Android OS and G1, they've really stepped up their game. Whats amazing is how cross-platform Google is with their Mobile applications. Goolge Talk, Google Maps, GMail/IMAP, Reader and other popular desktop applications can be accessed in nearly every OS (WinMo, Symbian S60, BlackBerry, Apple OS X).

As for me, I noticed starting 2nd half of 2008, I use my personal computer less at home. Since I spent 8+ hours a day in front of a PC at work, I can rely more on my iPhone in the off hours. Between pictures, media, basic info retrival (Stock quotes, Weather, RSS/News, Mobile Safari), I can do my usual task like checking my orders on Amazon or an auction on eBay through mobile browser or mobile applications.

To me, 2008 marks the beginning of whats to come. Apple, in my opinion, has taken over the leadership in consumer-level mobile experience. Google is inline to overtake if they can convince enough headset makers to commit to Android with more sex appeal to their devices. BlackBerry is taking a serious stab at Consumer level devices and will be coming in strong. Between HTC and Windows Mobile team, if the new OS is as good as promised, we can be seeing some interesting WinMo devices on the horizon.

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