Brace yourself. Round two of the iPhone hype is coming

Brace yourself. Round two of the iPhone hype is coming

Much to the chagrin of operators and mobile-phone vendors, it appears the hype surrounding the iPhone will be repeating itself this summer. Analysts are expecting Apple CEO Steve Jobs to unveil the 3G iPhone at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, which begins June 9. It will be another summer dominated by Apple and AT&T, which, by the way, reported average iPhone ARPUs are in the mid to upper $90 range.

That means the clock is ticking for all of those iPhone competitors coming to market. Sprint is planning to launch the touchscreen Samsung Instinct in June with a marketing campaign surrounding the launch that will be one of the biggest campaigns the operator has ever had. It's clear Sprint is banking its success in devices on the Instinct, but the device still has a few bugs to work out before the summer and the carrier has yet to announce a price point.

And Nokia has unveiled its answer to the iPhone: a touchscreen handset that is both Java and Flash-enabled and currently code-named Tube. While the handset maker has not disclosed any details about the timing of the launch of the device, reports claim the company plans to launch it before the 3G iPhone drops.

Evidently AT&T is delaying the launch of RIM's long-awaited 3G BlackBerry Curve handset until August because of concerns stemming from a technical glitch. The device was supposed to launch in June.

If this latest rumor is true, and Apple announces the 3G iPhone in early June, then these competitors only have a narrow window of opportunity to get their message out there before all consumers and columnists talk about is the new-and-improved iPhone. Granted, I've said before that iPhone competitors will have a difficult time competing with the iconic device itself, but that doesn't mean these companies aren't creating a market vibrant with competition. However, even that effect and possibly millions in marketing dollars could be washed away if these competitors look to launch their marketing campaigns head-to-head with the second round of the iPhone hype. -Lynnette