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Why iOS is King and How the King might Fall

As a start-up owner focusing on mobile game development, I’ve been staring at all of the platforms and trying to identify why Apple has been so successful and why others, including Android might struggle against them. I have a theory and want to share it.

Apple has three devices. The iPod Touch, the iPhone, and the iPad. They cover different segments of ownership. The iPod Touch has a fairly wide demographic, all the way from elementary school kids to adults. The iPhone is more of an adult toy, but parents probably share the device with their kids for the apps (Doodle Jump, Angry Birds). The iPad also has a wide range of users, but probably leans a bit towards the younger age group. No matter what though, Apple has a set of devices that covers all demographics.

This cannot be said for Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7, WebOS or any other device stratgey. However there are signs that the competition understands the problem.

Samsung has introduced the GalaxyTab, Microsoft has the Zune, and Archos has some smaller footprint tablets.

I think what any given vendor needs to do is focus on a set of devices similar to the Touch, iPhone, and iPad and make them seamlessly work exactly the same.

Take Microsoft. If they were to adapt the Zune to use the WP7 OS sans the phone capabilities and sell it competitively, this could be seen as a counter to the iPod Touch. If they were to also adapt a tablet to use the WP7 OS, this could counter the iPad. Microsoft could very quickly have the same device strategy as Apple and be able to compete on developer base. C# and Silverlight vs. Objective C and Cocoa? Interesting battle.

On the Android side, it seems the audience for their devices are different than Apple. They aren’t buying devices to play Doodle Jump or Angry Birds, but to locate restaurants and surf the web. I wonder if anyone will create an iPod Touch-like device that runs Android. Could be a winning stratgey. An iPod Touch for $79 instead of $149? Might be interesting.

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