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Latest Smartphones Set to Unsettle The Market



Smartphone wars have commenced with the recent launch of the BlackBerry Torch 9800 and the Windows Phone 7 and the Nokia N8 due to be released this fall.

All three phones are designed to eat into the dominance of and Google's Android platform, as part of a fierce battle to gain market share in the highly lucrative handheld devices market. Whilst in the consumer space handheld devices are becoming commoditised, in the business sector there is still money to be made with all the key players jostling for position by preparing to introduce new features - all aimed at luring people away from Apple and Android devices.

The Windows Phone 7 , which will allow users to edit SharePoint (Microsoft's web portal technology) documents on the move, is an attractive handset for people who need access to documents whilst they work on the go. However, most of the new features of this phone are based around consumer multimedia capabilities and consumer software applications linking the phone with Microsoft Live, Microsoft's consumer web platform.

Following the recent CEO change, Nokia is widely being viewed as a rising star in the market, with many experts believing that its aggressive pricing will help deliver considerable market share. The new Nokia N8 is powered by the Symbian 3 operating system and has unified communications software pre-installed - a boon for businesses wanting to use Microsoft's Unified Communications Technology. It also has improved multi-tasking (another business feature); however, many of the new capabilities are targeted at the consumer such as improved graphics, multi-point touch and multiple home screens.

The BlackBerry Torch 9800, meanwhile, runs the new OS6 and again has many improved consumer features - such as an improved 5MP camera and integrated social networking - and although it features a slide out QWERTY keyboard, the touch screen interface features heavily.

Despite such consumer-focused innovations, Mark Seemann, CTO for Outsourcery, believes such features will enable the new phones to compete with Apple on a large market scale, including the lucrative business-user sector. "From a business perspective, both Microsoft and Nokia have been historically strong but their market shares have weakened lately. RIM's BlackBerry devices have seen continued success within the business market, and with the imminent launch of the BlackBerry Torch its success could continue into the next year."

Smartphones are not the only market that RIM is looking to compete in, with the announcement of the launch of their tablet device (Playbook) at the 2010 BlackBerry Developer Conference at the end of September. Like its rival, Apple, BlackBerry is determined to ride on the back of the wave. "The key driver for smartphones is the growing demand for people wanting to work remotely, and it is this flexibility that has fuelled the growth in sales of Apple's iPad - which is effectively a hybrid PC/smartphone," says Seemann. "BlackBerry is determined to capitalise on this market with the imminent launch of its own Playbook."

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