Mobile 'time of turmoil': Where do the students stand?

Mobile 'time of turmoil': Where do the students stand?

Summary: With the mobile market in turmoil, the new developments are still not holding back. Will students be recognised no more as a niche market?


The mobile market is in a mess at the moment. Apple is suing HTC, Nokia and Apple are slapping each other with lawsuits and Microsoft is always being shafted by somebody. It's all getting very messy as they bring out competing devices with no major differentiating factors. The mobile industry is in turmoil, yet it carries on ticking over somehow.

Business users are not happy as Microsoft has broken backwards compatibility between Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile 6.5, meaning the applications for 6.5 will not work on 7. Yet with this, 7 will open up a whole range of other technologies such as Silverlight and XNA, meaning these new phones could well be more appealing to the younger demographic.

Silverlight, being the main competitor to Flash, is at least making an appearance on mobile devices. Flash won't be installed as per default on the iPad but Adobe is working hard to try and support it. Meanwhile, the iPhone still doesn't support Flash (but might soon) but Microsoft is trying to get Silverlight on there, even though Ballmer says "don't bet on it".

Yet, on the other hand, Microsoft said Flash will not be on Windows Phone 7 devices, as the two competitors continue to spit the dummy at each other. Apple at the moment is being stubborn as a mule, whereas Research in Motion, the BlackBerry manufacturer, is bumbling along ignorant of everybody else while it tries to snap up both Flash and Silverlight for its handsets.

It's all very confusing. All the aforementioned companies are engaging in fistycuffs while Research in Motion is in the corner crying, overwhelmed with all the commotion yet feeling equally left out.

Where do the students stand in all of this? Apple loves that the iPhone has been so popular with students, but had no idea it was going to be. Microsoft is aiming their new "Pink" phone in students' direction but the software capabilities aren't hugely clear yet. And Research in Motion is pleased but surprised at the shift in demographics as students increasingly want and buy BlackBerry handsets.

Students want very few things in a mobile device. Aesthetics aren't as important as they used to be but messaging is more important than anything else out there. BlackBerry Messenger seems to be the killer feature for the device which is why so many students are going BlackBerry.

Application support made the iPhone immensely popular, but also seems to be unique (or relatively affluent) with the iPhone. As BlackBerry and Windows Mobile (including Phone 7) devices either have a lacking or no marketplace to download free applications, this drags them way behind Apple.

Forget the Android. I have one friend who has an Android phone and he threw it against the wall in a fit of anger after a week of owning it. And this man, rest assured, is the most laid back, calm and non-violent gentleman I have ever known.

The QWERTY keyboard is one of the main things that grabs the attention of the student nowadays. As Microsoft's Pink phone seems to have this, it could well make it a popular choice once it decides to show the light of day.

But frankly, I'm banging my head against a brick wall because Microsoft, RIM, Apple, and all the other major mobile corporations just don't make it clear that they even care what students think. But with this wave of new design prototypes and detail focused on multiple communications, I'm starting to think otherwise.

Topics: Operating Systems, Apple, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility, BlackBerry, Software, Software Development, Windows

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  • Zack, you said yourself ...

    ... "Research in Motion is pleased but surprised at the shift in demographics as students increasingly want and buy BlackBerry handsets ... but messaging is more important than anything else out there. BlackBerry Messenger seems to be the killer feature for the device which is why so many students are going BlackBerry."

    The fact that RIM doesn't charge over and above the cost of a data plan for using BBM (while traditional texting charges are outrageous) is what makes RIM so attractive.

    RIMs success speaks for itself. I certainly would trade my Blackberry on an iPhone (or any touch-screen device).
    M Wagner
    • Correction needed?

      Sure you didn't mean "wouldn't trade"?
  • RE: Mobile 'time of turmoil': Where do the students stand?

    Forget Android???

    If you've used the Droid, Nexus One, or some of the HTC devices (which Nexus one is) -- then your statement makes no sense. (Just look at product reviews on CNet if you like.)

    Android phones are the fastest growing in terms of market share -- everyone I know who has one, loves it.

    Just do a search on Google (or Bing if that makes you happy). IPhone is losing market share to Android.

    Blackberry admittedly has the most market share when comparing these devices (right now) - but at the end of the day, iPhone and Android are all that will matter long term.

    The windows phone is kind of a so what...
    IT Exec 2020
    • Not surprising

      ussually the new technology has nowhere else to go but up.

      Initial sales don't necessarilly validate the success of a product over it's lifetime, nor a metric for continuing sales.

      When WinMobile 7 phones hit the market, they'll be the fastest selling phones, then whatever comes out next will top that.

      And I've heard complaints about Android phones as well. That's the great thing about "initial sales data": it shows people are looking for something in a product, it doesn't show whether they found it or not.
      John Zern
  • Sorry Zack

    Your article is pure conjecture and basically...tripe. I know, I
    know...writing something meaningful would actually take
    some research. There are plenty of mobile initiatives, studies
    and pilots happening in schools around the world. At least
    make an effort...sheesh.

    Kids need to learn how to think critically, but also to be
    accountable for what they put forward in actions as well as in
    words. So should you guys.
  • android?

    really? because... i mean... that was the most opinionated comment, maybe he had a defective phone? like thats never happened before? come on...
  • Keyboards are so... yesterday!

    Any phone with a QWERTY keyboard is going to be lots bulkier than it otherwise would have been. The alternatives are the virtual keyboard, or better still, voice recognition, like Google is doing with Android.
  • My Comment Was Removed

    Interesting. Apparently some in the world don't like
    it when you tell them they have no idea what they're
    talking about. I did just that in a comment earlier. I
    simply stated that the author of this subjective
    pseudo journalistic garbage has no idea what he's
    talking about.

    Why did I say that? Firstly, he has dismissed Android
    entirely simply because his friend threw his phone
    against the wall. This indicates to us that the author
    has never used an Android device. One of the
    individuals that left a comment (whose comment was not
    removed) noted that there are many quality Android
    devices such as the Nexus One, Droid, etc. If the
    author had taken the time to actually use one of these
    devices, he would certainly change his opinion instead
    of relying solely on his friend.

    Therefore, I chose to comment on the story. I can
    understand if you don't like when someone writes
    something negative about your own writing. It's
    another thing to run away from the fact that your post
    was incomplete and based more on hearsay than actual
    fact. You will undoubtedly delete this post as well.
    Perhaps someone will notice your petty effort to cover
    up poor work.