iOS and Android are great, clearly. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have room in our hearts for a third platform. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam feels the same way, expecting a third “smartphone ecosystem” to butt in to the current Apple/Google dominated space.
Out of the various options, McAdam said he sees Samsung’s Bada, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5, or RIM’s forthcoming QNX-based BlackBerry platform to fill the spot. “The carriers are beginning to coalesce around the need for a third ecosystem,” said McAdam. “Over the next 12 months I think it will coalesce and you will start to see one emerge as a legitimate third ecosystem.” In my opinion, it’ll be between RIM and Microsoft, and I expect Microsoft to come out victorious.
As far as QNX is concerned, RIM will have to bring something other than messaging to the table. Messaging, whether it be through email or BBM or text, is the BlackBerry’s stand-out feature. Any BlackBerry owner I’ve ever grilled says messaging can’t be beat, but it only takes a couple minutes perusing through Android devices with a physical keyboard to realize that BlackBerry messaging isn’t worth everything you’re missing out on.
That’s not to say that I think Android phones are better messaging devices; RIM still owns the space. All I’m saying is that Android offers up messaging that works just fine, but with a million other features that are no where to be seen on a BlackBerry. And if that’s not enough, messaging in Windows Phone Mango is absolutely killer. Each contact is its own thread, and whether you’re chatting it up on Facebook, in texts, in emails, basically anything, Mango threads it all together into one cohesive conversation. Add to that speech-to-text capabilities and Mango is an easy sell.
Since messaging is the primary activity on most phones, the way it works in this or that OS is incredibly consequential. Even with share prices at a five-year low, BlackBerry users are still around and they’re just as loyal as they’ve ever been. That’s almost always a product of the line’s messaging power.
After giving us a 12-month time frame for this third platform emergence, McAdam also touched on the current legal battle between the Department of Justice and AT&T, reports Fierce Wireless. In all honesty, it not only affects Verizon and McAdam, but it really will make a difference (however minute) in all of our lives.
As far as McAdam is concerned, the most important thing he can do right now is pay very close attention to whether or not the outcome of the AT&T/DOJ suit will have any affect on Verizon. “I think it’s important to be thoughtful about this,” McAdam said.