The 5 pillars of the mobile industry are either gone, going, or struggling

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Pillars

Matthew Miller has been around in the mobile space. He is the guy who switches phones more often than he change socks. That’s far more than I can lay claim to. Darn! Anyway, he has a very insightful piece that provides quite some history of the mobile phone industry. In that article is titled Crash of the mobile titans: What happened to Palm, BlackBerry, Nokia, and HTC?, and there he explores how founding companies in this space are down and out, He lists Palm, BlackBerry, Nokia, and HTC as the 4 pillars of the mobile industry. Every mobile enthusiast should read the article.

However, I would add Motorola to that list and say “5 pillars” instead.

Gone

Palm is dead and out of the race. First pushing Palm OS, later Windows Mobile, and finally WebOS, Palm attempted to evolve, but failed. Gone.

Going

Nokia is going – on the way out to be subsumed by Microsoft. Perhaps some years down the road we might see a new Nokia mobile pushing Android or a fork of Android. For now, if the terms of the deal that have been made public stand, in the next one year, you’d be hard pressed to find a Nokia-branded smartphone being sold in the market. Nokia once ruled the smartphone space with Symbian OS. They also pushed Maemo/MeeGo for a while, and have been the darling boy of Windows Phone OS. Still, going, going… Say hello to Microsoft, who will mostly fly the Windows Phone OS flag by themselves from now.


Struggling

I pondered a bit whether to place BlackBerry under Going or Struggling. I think that to the extent that the BlackBerry brand is going to be retained in the proposed buyout, it is okay to classify BlackBerry as struggling. Struggling badly, yes. BlackBerry has always pushed only one mobile OS – BlackBerry OS. In different iterations, but they have been true blue.

Then there is HTC. Not a lot of people are talking about HTC’s struggles, but the Taiwanese company has had it rough for years and are in real danger of ending up dead. HTC rode the waves of Windows Phone to stardom. HTC was behind a huge chunk of Windows Mobile smartphones and Pocket PCs ever made. Of course, Windows Mobile is dead now. The odd thing is that HTC makes many good phones running the world’s most powerful OS, yet continues to struggle. Witches and wizards? You will also find a handful of HTC phones running Windows Phone. A very tiny fistful.

Motorola was also once the world’s largest mobile manufacturer. They ended up in a steep decline and were eventually acquired by Google in 2011. Motorola used to be a member of the Symbian Consortium and later switched to Android OS. That however has not resulted in a change of fortunes. Motorola keeps struggling till today, though having access to Google’s deep pockets shields them from any immediate threats of giving up the ghost.

4 comments

  1. Whenever I think of this I feel deeply pained that these companies have to end this way, especially Blackberry, NOKIA. And HTC Bcos they have big history and are pioneers of some sort.

  2. That’s the way of the world. The mobile space and every other sector where competition exists is just like that, the survival of the fittest and that’s really nothing to be sad about because it guarantees that the strong and the best remain in the system serving the consumers. Yeah, for nostalgic reasons, it may feel bad but we don’t really want outdated technologies hanging around. Oh, actually we do, but there rightful place are always the museum for history, sight seeing and things like that.

  3. Truly witches and wizards. How is it that you produce android and windows phone yet you are still going extinct. hmmnnn

  4. Already planning to ditch BlackBerry totally…it’s an OS that has stopped growing. For that alone, it’s lost it’s appeal

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