When Apple unveiled the iPhone in January, some insiders suggested that the company had tipped its hand a bit early, since the devices aren't expected to hit the stores until mid-year in the United States, late 2007 in Europe and next year in Asia.
Those warnings may be proving prophetic as more devices aimed at this market appear. For instance, this PC World piece looks at the Samsung UpStage (the renamed m620), which will be available from Sprint Nextel this Sunday. The piece offers a positive review of the phone, which will sell for a hefty $300 -- but half that with a two-year contract.
The UpStage isn't the only iPhone-like device out there. Indeed, this MobileWack feature describes nine current or planned touchpad phones -- many from lesser known companies -- that it claims will give the iPhone a run for its money. There are a lot of devices, such as the Palm Treo and Research in Motion's BlackBerry family, which have high profiles and good chunks of the market.
Apple may have done all these competitors a favor. Clearly, giving the industry a half-year warning that it is coming to market with a major product -- and providing so many details -- is unusual. Perhaps it was a bit of arrogance. Some could argue that the industry essentially knew what was coming and that Steve Jobs' Jan. 9 presentation didn't break new ground for those in the know. That may or may not be so, but the buzz the announcement created could do nothing but focus the attention of its competitors.
This class of device clearly has significant business applications. Some devices will be business-oriented while some -- including the iPhone itself -- will lean more toward consumers. Hopefully, companies are well along in the process of researching options as iPhone's June debut slowly approaches.