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iPhone vs Android vs WinMobile: 2-1-1

Now that Google is in, the game is on. As I mentioned in my previous post, software is now ruling the mobile industry. As in the PC world, the big contenders are Apple with iPhone, Google with Android, and Microsoft with Windows Mobile.

But the big questions are: which one is better and which one is going to ultimately win?

While it is hard to objectively answer this question, here is my first attempt to create a simple score card. I have created a “4 Ss Scorecard” that I think is quite representative of the mobile market need.

Openness:

The first property is openness, which represents how easy it is for developers to build and deploy applications and users to download and install them.

From a user point of view all three phones allow users to easily install applications over the air (aka OTA) or via cradle. From a developer angle, Microsoft and Apple have a similar approach that requires developers to buy their development tool (e.g., Visual Studio for Windows Mobile) or their OS (Mac for iPhone application).

Google has a much more open approach; their phone is based on an open platform and language (Linux and Java) and provides free tooling on top of an open development IDE (Eclipse)

Openness winner: Android

Marketplace:

This characteristic is about the capacity of creating a strong marketplace around a specific platform.

iPhone has definitely the edge on this one, as they have created a single store which promotes application monetization. However, this is not entirely beneficial for users, as Apple is deciding what application goes in or stays out, and most applications will not be free.

I think that Microsoft was not aggressive enough in creating its own store; and, while Google created one (with $25 developer fee), it might not have the same monetization appeal of the Apple one (at least at the beginning).

In other words, if you want to make money out of your mobile application, choose iPhone.

Marketplace winner: iPhone

Coolness:

This one is easy; Apple iPhone is and probably will stay the winner of this category. Steve Jobs has a gift for making things cool; and, while Google might come close, they will always be trailing behind. Google is actually writing themselves out of this category.

As for Microsoft, well, they have work to do.

Coolness winner: iPhone

Usefulness:

This is where the controversial part comes in.

iPhone is definitely cool and has a lot of good applications; however, Apple is still Apple and their controlling approach limits the full potential of the device. For example, tethering is not available and not even allowed as a third party application. Nevertheless, I was pretty impressed by the iPhone’s native support for Microsoft Exchange.

Google, interestingly, has similar issues as it forces users to utilize Google services (at the end, nothing is free). So, business users wanting to use Exchange are out of luck and should somehow migrate to Google apps.

Consequently, from a functionality point of view Windows Mobile is still the best choice available, at least for business users. Most of the new applications such as Skype, Qik, Google Maps, and obviously Mobile Office and Outlook are readily available on Windows Mobile. So, if you do not care about flying pixels, virtual lighters, and virtual beers, then Windows Mobile is still a smart bet. (disclaimer: I am a happy Treo/WM6 user).

Usefulness winner: Windows Mobile

 

So, I am pleased to announce that the winner is iPhone with a score of 2 against Android with 1 and Windows Mobile with 1.

However, personally, as a business user, usefulness comes first, and tethering and exchange integration are basic requirements. So, for now, I am sticking with Windows Mobile and my Treo 750. I might upgrade to Treo Pro when and if they support Windows Mobile 7.

What phone are you using? And why?

Update:

Read the original blog entry...

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