Is there an end to the iPhone clones?

Is there an end to the iPhone clones?

Ever since Apple launched its game-changing iPhone last summer, every handset vendor has been desperately trying to come up with its own iPhone clone. At the recent CTIA Wireless 2008 show in Las Vegas we saw the latest iPhone clone, the Samsung Instinct. Sprint plans to introduce the phone to consumers in June. The Instinct features full touch-screen functionality and allows consumers to access their most-used applications with a single finger tap.

But the Instinct is just one of many clones. Nokia has its "Tube" which it previewed earlier this month but hasn't released yet. Last spring, some analysts predicted that LG's Prada phone--offered by Verizon Wireless--would be that carrier's answer to the iPhone. Do you think any of these handsets are comparable to the iPhone? You can weigh in by answering this week's poll question. Click here vote.

While these phones have great features, I don't think any of them have the power to overtake the iPhone. Why? Because the handset manufacturers and the carriers are not taking into account the whole distribution channel and marketing push that Apple instigated with its iPhone launch. It wasn't just a great phone with a lot of interesting features. It was a distribution channel that included Apple stores across the country. Those stores are known for their customer service and hands-on user experience.

Plus, who can forget Apple's eye-catching advertisements that were all over the TV in anticipation of the launch? The buzz that was created by Apple prior to the iPhone launch was unlike anything I have ever seen for a wireless handset.

Andy Seybold, founder Andrew Seybold Inc., likes to call these iPhone clones "iPhone killers" and in his column earlier this week Andy talked about how IPKs lack the ecosystem that made the iPhone so popular and I agree with him.

It's time to stop comparing every new handset to the iPhone. Let's acknowledge that the iPhone was a game-changing event and one that won't be replicated over and over again. Let's get over our love affair with the iPhone. -Sue

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