back to article Apple 'niche player' in touchscreen phone biz, says analyst

Apple's iPhone may have boosted awareness of touchscreen handsets, prompting a 91 per cent increase in sales between 2007 and 2006, but it's still just a "niche player", one market watcher reckons. ABI Research this week highlighted that leap in demand for touchscreen phones, noting that while the increase is global, handsets …

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Samsung phones

the UI is utterly useless, I used on e the other week and its just dreadful. They may look like iPhones, and have similar functionality, but in the words of Obama, its like putting lipstick on a pig.

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Samsung and Motorola

They may account for 60 odd per cent of the market but they're still shite, it simply means that the Asian market is somewhat delusional.

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Never mind the GUI feel the hardware ...

... no wait, the hardware is just an expensive paperweight when it runs rubbish like Windows Mobile 6.

Sorry but the iphone has the user experience well and truly sewn up.

I'd be happy for Apple to stay niche if it means they spend more time on producing easier to use (and hence more powerful) kit.

I have a draw full of flashy gadgets but rubbish user interfaces. Whereas Apple's touch UI means the kit stays with me all the time ... damn it, yet more fun applications I want to install from AppStore.

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Silver badge

Lipstick on a pig

Shush! Every time someone mentions lipstick on a pig, a Democrat voter dies.

Anyway, as a Mac owner I get the impression that Apple are perfectly able to survive as a niche player. At least as long as that iPod money keeps rolling in.

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Stop

McCain's words first

Do your homework -- McCain said it first, last October -- in reference to HRC's revised health care plan.

Not that any of it has anything to do with touchscreen phones.

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@Never mind the GUI feel the hardware ...

"Sorry but the iphone has the user experience well and truly sewn up."

Yeah, but it's not patented and will be copied. You'll then have lower cost devices and the original high cost version. That said, iPod still has about 75% market share despite lower cost alternatives so Apple may indeed have something other than a few fanboys...

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@ Richard

Apple are good, granted. But they're not the be-all-end-all in mobile devices. I've been using HTC for a few years, and have never had any problems at all. And both the Hermes and the Kaiser have been more capable than the iPhone every step of the way. WM5 and 6 have never crashed on me. Oh, and I'm not restricted to one service provider.

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Ted
Happy

iPhone is highly patented

The iPhone has well over 280 patents, so while you will see some knockoffs, you won't see one that works as well for 15 more years.

The biggest reason: the iPhone is a MULTI-Touch device, not a simple touch screen.

Plus, there are now over 3,000 apps, and that's in less than 60 days. By the end of next year there will be more apps on the iPhone than any other phone. So it's pretty much game over for other phone devices, it's shaping up to be the iPod phenomenon all over again.

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Anonymous Coward

The important factor...

...in all these "debates" is the 'man on the street' or Mr Average factor (product designers and marketers refer to them as mondeo man...). Mondeo man wants an iPhone. There may be better smart phones on the market, but they're not made by Apple and they're not called iPhone. He doesn't care that they're locked to O2. One needs to remember that the majority of people that come to this website - in fact I'd argue all those that comment - are generally tech savy. Mondeo man thinks he is. He isn't. He drives a fcuking mondeo! He likes to think he thinks for himself. He doesn't.

Like it or lump it, Apple products generally just work out of the box – a very important factor for mondeo man. They’re status symbols – even more important, after all, mondeo man wants an M3 or an A4 instead of his mondeo. Apples shops are ‘cool’ and seem relaxed (assistants in jeans and a t-shirt) – compare this to a Vodafone shop or even worse PC World (were mondeo man buys his tech – and largely why Packard Bell and Norton still exist!!!).

As someone that owns the three main smartphone platforms (Blackberry, WM/HTC, and iPhone) I can honestly say that iPhone is the most user friendly. The iPod functionality is good – sure audiophiles revile the sound quality, buy decent headphones then! iPhone Safari kicks ass, really! Sure there are bugs, but the majority are being fixed. WM6 is hardly bug free, and neither is RIMs OS. Best of all apple refuse to let their carriers add their own software, which in my experience fcuks it all up anyway! The Blackberry is an extremely functional device. But that's it, its just functional. WM6, until after the iPhone was released, still use a stylus – however mobile Word and Excel were useful. They’re all great devices, but the software available for the Blackberry and WM6 based devices is limited and generally too expensive. The battery life of the HTC range, in my experience, is woeful too.

If you think I’m a ‘fanboy’ then that’s fine, but before you start flaming – try thinking like Mr Average for a few minutes – Steve and Jonathon do. Bill used to but he stopped and we got Vista…

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iPhone is patented

Apple most certainly does have every patentable aspect of the UI patented. The apparent absence of Omnia in the USA may signal that Samsung doesn't want to go too near those patents.

The basis of the ABI "research" is flawed; "touch screen" is not a phone category or market segment; it's a hardware component. They could equally have said Apple is making no impression on the replaceable battery phone market.

Consumers can only be sold iPhone look-alikes when they still think the UI is just "bling" pasted over a cellphone, so when buying they check for bling plus old phone. But those that get an iPhone soon find themselves in a new place, doing different stuff, and unlikely to return. The rest will soon learn, and not make the same mistake again.

If you like, smart phones are going mainstream. Despite these silly retrospective market share figures, in mobile web browsing, iPhone activity is already 6 times windows mobile activity, and ten times Nokia S60 activity. As with music phones, people may be buying other smartphones with their carrier subsidy; they just don't use them.

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love it love it

damn that got the mactwats foaming at the mouths didnt it

and you yanks keep the election crap to yourselfs, we in the uk dont give a flying f@ck and besides youll still be run from tel aviv whichever candidate you choose

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It's all about UI and polish

I've used most platforms available under WM, Symbian and some proprietary ones. Right now I have a Nokia E90, and recently had an Ameo; I've used UIQ on Motorola and LG's Viewty, and tried the Samsung effort. I've never used a Blackberry though.

Not one of them comes close to the speed and user friendly behaviour of the iPhone.

However, I still don't have an iPhone 3G (I have a cracked original one) - because I will not have a contract with O2. They don't allow tethering regardless of handset (and their internet services are limited, they don't like IM or IRC), they're awful to deal with for customer service, and their international rates are insane.

iPhone is brilliant within the realms of technology and reasonable budgets for development and hardware cost. If it were on T-Mobile, I'd actually pay to get one as an upgrade; as it is I'll probably get an 8GB N95.

HTC's handsets would be a lot better if someone other than HTC developed the software side. They make neat hardware, then run them on a mishmash of software that results in them being buggy and unstable.

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Anonymous Coward

@Ted iPhone is based on myOrigo

Umm, Apple did not invent multitouch or even the basic UI concept.

iPhone is heavily based on prototype created by Finnish company myOrigo in 2000 or so.

As far as I know Apple bought or licenced myOrigo IPR, but even if the key features would be patented, those patents are already 8-10 years old.

So even in the worst case the wait would be 7 not 15 years.

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One percent ...

that's all Steve Jobs said he wanted ... one per cent of the mobile phone market. That's niche and that's good.

Go further and homeless people will have iPhones!

Some of these phones which claim to have touch interfaces count the fact you have to 'touch' the phone to use it!

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