These two phone OSes are getting hammered in the iPhone/Android world we live in. Are people making a mistake by overlooking them?
The last four years have seen a major shift away from what are known as feature phones-the basic flip cell phones we all had in the early part of the decade--to the smartphone. Smartphones had been around for some time, with the market dominated by Research in Motion's BlackBerry, Microsoft's Windows Mobile phones, Nokia's Symbian line and some other proprietary models.
And then came Apple’s iPhone, followed by Google's Android.
Like it has done with computers, MP3 players and tablets, Apple wasn't first to the market, but it did popularize the product categories with the masses. I've always said Apple's great talent has been to prove previously failed ideas can work, and the company did it in spades with the iPhone. A few months later, Google announced the release of the Android operating system for smartphones, and it was war between those two.
As Apple drove down the price and Google's free operating system made Android competitive, the smartphone became cheaper and more widely used. Then Apple really shook things up with the introduction of the iPhone SDK for building applications.
Very quickly, America became a smartphone nation. A recent survey from Nielsen found 44 percent of Americans who own a cell phone have a smartphone. Two years ago it was just 18 percent.
Unfortunately, Microsoft and RIM aren't enjoying that success. They are spinning their wheels like they’re on ice. RIM is rapidly falling out of favor even with its traditional user base--business users. Microsoft threw out the ugly Windows Mobile platform and rewrote Windows Phone from scratch, which essentially meant starting over from the beginning.
Just because something is not trendy doesn't mean it's no good. So we're going to take a look at RIM and Microsoft's latest offerings and get the impressions of the younger generation, who are leading the way in smartphones but have until now shunned BlackBerry and Windows Phone. Read on to find out what they had to say.