iPhone UI challenges handset vendors

The iPhone probably attracted more press comment in 2007 than all the many other handset launches combined. While this device is not revolutionary and has some shortcomings, its user interface has reset the agenda and challenged other handset developers to do better.

While the likes of Nokia and LG are ramping up their efforts, what they must fear is Apple's ability to evolve a world-class product, for example the iPod becoming a device that other music player vendors both didn't see coming and failed to replicate.

While Apple will remain a bit-part player in the worldwide handset business, its influence will force the pace of UI development. Nokia's N800 range of devices with their large screens and 'mini-tablet' approach to usability will gain attention from the business segment. At least that's what's planned.

However, to indicate the difficulty of business or consumer product positioning, Blackberry is now attracting more non-business users with over 50 percent of sales reportedly going to consumers.

This again raises the old, and unanswered, question of an individual carrying one mobile device against several. Perhaps there is no simple answer even after numerous attempts by many developers to solve this with the weird and wonderful.