For the last three years, the tech world has been agog with mobile, mobile, mobile. Apple with the release of the iPhone kicked a hole in the market and then occupied that hole. While many pundits point to Nokia shipping more smartphones and the upstart Android gaining market share, these pundits ignore the rampant fragmentation in both the Nokia- and pre-Nokia Symbian operating system market and the growing fragmentation in the Android market. Nokia needs to kill off the notion they are doing well in this market – there’s no great success in being the master of a dying market of consumers who don’t buy anything. Symbian was economically inactive in apps beforehand and it’s just floundering now. They need to set better standards – look to their N900 handheld as the future. And Google needs to focus on Android fragmentation as a priority – we’ve seen this on Linux before but the differences in hardware, software versions and carrier ‘additions’ is creating a mess of a single unified idea.
Sadly though for both of these companies, Apple is not competing fairly. While Nokia and Google among others scramble to regain mindshare in the smartphone market, Apple has surreptitiously started to hack out a niche for themselves in the portable gaming market. The console gaming market is wholly owned by Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo but until recently the portable market was solely occupied by Nintendo and Sony. While Microsoft will be releasing a compelling product linked to their Windows Phone products, Apple has already carved a niche in the portable gaming market – see this report from Flurry.
You can see that Apple now commands more portable gaming market share than Sony (and anecdotal evidence suggests that games with other handhelds are just carrying their iPhones for the quick portable gaming fix).
And in two weeks, iPad will cause another bloodbath.