Does Mobile Device Ecosystem Matter?

While syncing my Zune with a bunch of video podcasts, I began thinking about the fact that my iPod is usually what travels with me because of all the eco-system infrastructure I have to support it: FM transceiver dock for the car, battery powered docking speaker, belt cases, etc. The Zune 2 firmware transformed my 1st generation Zune into a very nice dedicated video podcast device with its 30GB hard disk and large bright screen. Comparing the 1st generation Zune to my iPod touch, I’d say the Zune’s screen is about 80% the size of the touch. That surprised me when I first noticed it.

But, does the mobile device eco-system matter to most other people? I was amazed how many people were dumping their Windows Mobile smartphone or Palm-OS based Treo’s the day the iPhone was released. I couldn’t figure out how to function without Office Mobile, OneNote Mobile, eWallet, NewsBreak, HanDBase, and a bunch of other WiMo applications. I was even more surprised when one of my neighbors switched over to a Blackberry Pearl after having using Windows Mobile Pocket PCs and Phone Editions for many years. He was really impressed by the Blackberry’s overall speed of function after having used a T-Mobile MDA Pocket PC Phone Edition for a couple of years (lots of hour glasses on that device).

I don’t think I fit the profile for a Blackberry user (I’m fine answering email when it is convenient). And, having had my iPod touch for a while, I know there is no way I could use the iPhone’s keyboard to do much information entry with any kind of speed. But, if Microsoft is going to abandon end-users like me to placate the carriers, I wonder if I could leave behind the relative comfort of the Windows Mobile application ecosystem for one of the Google Android phones. The Windows Mobile email, browser, and media player technology have aged especially badly over the last few releases. Heck, Media Player even lost the ability to build playlists on the device. It is like watching the slow Palm OS “we know better than our customers” train wreck all over again.

This could all change again shortly after the iPhone SDK emerges. I’m sure iPhone applications will start showing up shortly after it gets into the hands of the very talented developers out there. There is, of course, that keyboard issue. But, I can’t believe that thrre isn’t an iPhone prototype lying around a lab in Cupertino with a QWERTY thumb keyboard. iPhone Pro, perhaps?