More iPhone Killers? Yawn.

Deutsche Telekom's (NYSE: DT  ) T-Mobile wants another run at Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone. This time Motorola (NYSE: MOT  ) wants to join the robot party, too. Good luck with that.

I don't mean to be snarky. Well, OK, yes, I do. Android hasn't dampened enthusiasm for rival smartphones. Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) gobbled more smartphone market share than Apple did last quarter, and Palm (Nasdaq: PALM  ) set a new opening weekend sales record for Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) handsets.

Yet just when it seems as though the iPhone is vulnerable, Apple sells 1 million 3Gs handsets during its first weekend on sale.

Can you hear me now?
T-Mobile plans on releasing at least two Android handsets this year. The first, called myTouch, is a fully functional handset designed by Taiwan's HTC and is expected to hit stores in August. Like the iPhone, the myTouch will come with a touchscreen keyboard but stand apart from its rival with a wide array of customization features. For example, users will be able to rearrange menus, wallpapers, and icons, Computerworld reports.

We know less about Motorola's entry. One possible advantage: tie-ups with both T-Mobile and Verizon's (NYSE: VZ  ) wireless group, which is also pursuing the Pre. The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported that Motorola plans to have an Android handset ready for both networks before the end of the year.

Neither offering looks like an iPhone killer. That's no slight; it's just that RIM has tried and failed. So have others. Palm's Pre is as close to a breakthrough device as we've seen since the iPhone launched, and still consumers and businesses are buying the new iPhone.

Maybe there is no killing the iPhone. Maybe it really is the Next Big Thing. And maybe the truth is that, for as much hype as there is surrounding Android as a smartphone operating system, its best hope is as a netbook OS.

What's your take? Use the comments box below to tell us what you think.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is calling. Won't you pick up?


Read/Post Comments (11) | Recommend This Article (6)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 24, 2009, at 2:05 PM, jfelipe33 wrote:

    More articles like this one, Yawn...

    Good job, you wrote another article about the iphone. Let's be fair now:

    1) iPhone killler: The smartphone market is huge, no need to kill the iPhone. Have you actually looked at the stats of the smartphone market over the next few years??

    2) 1m iPhone sold after 3 days: that number is WORLD wide. Palm sold 150,000 units (after 3 weeks) in the USA alone. Let's compare apples to apples. Now, I know that Apple sold a ton of iPhones in the USA, so let's see this number when comparing against smartphones like the Palm Pre in the USA. In Palm's case, they have not yet moved the Palm Pre to all their distributors around the world, but when they do, they will do a good job at taking market share - they are not looking to kill the iPhone. This is not Palm's first rodeo. My Apple iPhone has now taken a back seat to my Palm Pre.

    The Palm Pre is like what Windows 95 was to Windows 3.1. The Palm Pre multi-tasking feature is really incredible and if you use your iPhone after using the Palm Pre, the iPhone feels like Windows 3.1.

  • Report this Comment On June 24, 2009, at 2:14 PM, tgauchat wrote:

    I'm afraid I'd have to say that the latest iPhone OS "feels like" ... OS X ?

  • Report this Comment On June 24, 2009, at 2:41 PM, misternl wrote:

    It's always about the software. 50,000 available apps and a sdk that is widely available is currently creating an advantage for apple that the others won't be able to match.

    Each of those new million iphone owners last weekend is a potential customer for app developers.

    The Pre sdk isn't even widely available. There are a few apps on the other app stores, but the momentum is totally in apple's favor.

    All these apps are the key for the success of the upcoming mac tablet netbook, too

    the iphone truly is 'the next big thing'.

    imho

    N

  • Report this Comment On June 24, 2009, at 3:12 PM, foolamok wrote:

    Sure the IPhone is the NEXT BIG THING, as long as you don' t need the business functionality of a Blackberry. It IPhone is a media device. The limit of the IPhone is the size of the display, essentially (as well as no keyboard). If you want to do a little more, you need to go to the little Atom proc powered laptop (or simila). Phones are such small devices, you have to decide where you want the emphasis.

    To key or not to key, that is the question. . .

  • Report this Comment On June 24, 2009, at 6:12 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    Thanks for the comments, all.

    Couple of follow-up points:

    First, research suggests that 12% of new iPhone buyers replaced BlackBerrys and planned to use them for business.

    More: http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2009/06/22/why-investo...

    Second, Palm has delayed release of the SDK for webOS till the end of the summer. I recognize this may have been unavoidable but ... sheesh. Who's going to fill the vacuum for developers? The iPhone.

    Source: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewA...

    Thanks for commenting and Foolish best,

    Tim (TMFMileHigh and @milehighfool on Twitter)

  • Report this Comment On June 25, 2009, at 6:03 AM, Melci wrote:

    @ jfelipe33,

    The 1 million iPhones sold in the first 3 days was actually only in 8 countries, not the 80 countries that the earlier 3G is currently available in. Additionally that figure does not include numbers of the cheaper $99 8GB iPhone 3G sold which makes the number all the more astonishing.

    This makes the estimated 50,000 Palm Pres sold in the first three days, particularly depressing for Palm for whom the Pre is a last ditch, bet-the-company proposition.

    Then of course there is the 32 Pre apps vs 50,000+ for the iPhone and you can see why the author is yawning.

    The Pre just hasn't put up the sort of challenge to the iPhone that many had hoped. Hopefully Palm survives to provide that needed challenge.

    @ foolamok

    It seems the Blackberry is not such a good business phone after all:

    http://tech.yahoo.com/news/infoworld/20090526/tc_infoworld/7...

    "For everyone else, the BlackBerry is yesterday's mobile messenger, way past its prime and heading toward retirement. The iPhone is light-years ahead of the BlackBerry on almost every count. RIM should be ashamed."

    -Mart

  • Report this Comment On June 25, 2009, at 9:25 AM, jddubya wrote:

    I got my girlfriend a T-Mobile G1 last month and I gotta say I was extremely impressed - kinda wishing I had gotten it for myself.

    I've never used an iPhone though, so I can't really make any comparisons.

    What I can say is that with the G1 built in GPS receiver it is able to do all kinds of cool stuff.

  • Report this Comment On June 25, 2009, at 1:28 PM, oghowie wrote:

    Palm is probably the best iPhone competitor so far. Google's Android isn't quite there yet and will probably have some branding problems going forward.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2009, at 1:02 AM, superlinkx wrote:

    I think you all are forgetting about android. Yes it was mentioned in the original article, but unfairly. Android is well advanced to the original iPhone when it first came out. It had many features that have been in phones for years that the iPhone had skipped. This new iPhone has little innovation. Faster and video capture and editing is all it has over android as far as the OS and physical device. It finally caught up to the minimum camera on the market and added a compass- stolen from the G1. It still can't multitask and that will be a problem eventually. As for developers, Apple treats theirs like crap. $100 per year to use an sdk that works on one market and only runs on mac osx intel powered machines. They also have in their agreement that if apps get returned they reserve the right to take the developers portion and their portion from the developer, which would mean the developer would lose almost 150% of those profits to Apple. I love Apple products, don't get me wrong, but Apple will not be the only leader in this market. Android has a lot of potential. More devices on more carriers and its extremely developer friendly. Free sdk that runs on almost any system and can have its apps marketed anywhere. $25 registration fee gets you on the Android market and thats a one time payment. Google doesn't even take a share of the profit. The open system means more useful apps then the iPhone can dream of. In all reality, Android is the serious competition for the iPhone and will take a significant role in development. Windows beat Apple long ago because it opened to developers early on. Apple has many developers, but many may migrate. iPhone is not a god nor immortal. I think Apple may be a little scared in all reality.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2009, at 12:37 PM, Melci wrote:

    @ superlinkx

    Free is all well and good, but it hasn't led to Linux winning on the desktop in competition with Windows or Mac OS X.

    Likewise, the massed competition of every major electronics manufacturer, the "open" Plays for Sure ecosystem and non-DRMed MP3 stores like Amazon haven't stopped Apple from capturing 70% of the online music market or 80% of the media player market.

    The iPhone App market is 50,000 apps strong and accelerating and the allure of the iPhone has captured 75% of mobile developers.

    Apple has proved several times over now that making the whole widget and being able to deliver a seamless experience from hardware to software to online store, to hardware peripheral ecosystem, to app development environment, to App store resonates with average consumers and power users weary of the crappy user experience of the competition.

    As such, it is far from a foregone conclusion that Android will be the fabled "iPhone-killer", but it will fragment the competition and be another reason why Microsoft fails to capture the sort of success they managed in the desktop PC market.

    -Mart

  • Report this Comment On July 31, 2009, at 11:27 AM, SimchaStein wrote:

    iPhone Killer?

    OK, you need a catchy headline.

    The iPhone is un-iTouchable. Combining the iPhone and the iPod Touch = 40,000,000 target devices for the 100,000 Cocoa Developers. That creates a monster economic ecosystem.

    Now, back the to the "Killers": No other platform makes it so compelling for ISVs. The ISVs gets:

    1) A complete, mature SDK.

    2) A single fully supported OS and HW platform combo. This saves huge costs vs testing on multiple platform variants, not to mention sustaining costs.

    3) A global retail outlet. Apple's cut is small compared to what Service Providers take (50%).

    No one can "Kill" the iPhone, unless they kill Apple on all three of the above.

    "and another thing": It's a platform, not a smart phone. This platform can scale up and down. Scaling down means expanding market-share, especially in emerging markets with huge growth potential.

    Scaling up.. Who knows. Remember the humble PC with 64K DRAM? It is now powering the data center of the future, i.e. Cloud Computing. Google reportedly has 1,000,000 CPUs in their cloud. I'm not predicting an iPhone cloud. It is just an example of how things can evolve.

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