- For FMC and VoIP: I'd nominate the Nokia N95 for its relevance in driving assorted top-end features like WLAN and good-quality Naked SIP support into the mass marketplace - especially from the point of view of Mobile VoIP. And of course the 5MP camera and GPS, and more recently its 8GB version have also been major catalysts driving the initial sale of the device to customers. The E65 has also escaped from its original intended market of the enterprise, and become an important part of the SIP-based FMC landscape, and the 3 Skypephone (made by Amoi) is cool as well.
- For user experience & changing perceptions: The Apple iPhone has lived up to its hype. I have to confess I was a skeptic initially, but having played with a few and listened to lots of owners, I'm pretty impressed. It's certainly forced the rest of the handset industry to sit up and pay attention. And its forced the operators to ask themselves hard questions about whether they can really do cool UIs themselves - and given them another concrete reality check that consumer like hardware rather than services. And above all, it has that ineffable "Oooh I want one of those" quality.
- For driving data services and defining mobile broadband: It's got to be the Huawei family of USB-connected 3G modems. They've facilitated the adoption of mobile data by consumers as well as business users, and illustrated perfectly why 3G-embedded PCs are niche products. Why would you want to have an operator-customised (and possibly locked-down) laptop, when you can get a proper unmolested one and just add a separate plug-and-play connectivity device? Laptops last longer than mobile contracts, so the user wants the ability to switch providers (or rent a local modem when travelling to avoid roaming charges). Lastly, they're better for operators too - they really don't want to put 500 different types of PC through their testing labs, when they can just test 3 external modems instead. And they're (finally) driving 3G data revenues - laptops are the best devices for getting 'the real Internet' when you're mobile. According to a presentation I saw last week, the Huawei devices are the current top-selling 'phones' in Sweden.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
So what has been the 'device of the year' in 2007?
I reckon the three most influential mobile products this year have been: