For someone who is starting your path in the mobile world, I’m very excited about the possibilities that are presented today. We have several “flavors” of devices, operating system and languages to choose from. Although this is very exciting, it is also a nightmare because, even being a hobby for me, I would fell terrible spending time and effort learning/developing for a platform that could disappear in the years to come.
As I said in a previous post, I have no Java background so I have to start everything from scratch: from the platform to the language, and this is a lot of time to spend (or invest?). Nowadays, the major three players in the smartphone development market are iPhone, Android-based phones and Blackberry. I know that Symbian is huge, but I don’t think it is dragging much attention from newcomers like me lately. Android is the fast-growing platform, but I think it will depends on what kind of device it will equip. Terrible devices will shadow Android’s nicest features, for sure.
Also, we have Microsoft knocking the door with its Windows Mobile 7, which could be a serious threat for the three above.
If your perspective is a career move or improvement, probably investing in Java-based smartphones would be the right move, since what you learn would be applicable for Blackberry and Android, although you still need to learn and be good in the platform specifics to build good applications. For me, the big difference between Android and Blackberry is the type of customers they have now. Blackberry has the premium customer type, used to pay for good products, which could be translated in more profitable applications. Android, due to its open source roots has the kind of customer that are used to get everything for free and this only happens because there are tons of developers delivering high quality open source applications. This is not good if you’re trying to make money selling applications, but it is excellent if you’re make your app available free of charge as a vehicle to sell different types of products (in-app sales, services or even promoting yourself!).
iPhone has the “cool” appeal, the same that luxury brands have in different markets. Their customer pays for what they get and are happy doing this, and will buy again when a new product is released.
Although this questions are always popping up in my mind, I’ll keep my efforts learning the Blackberry platform, but I’m tempted to do some iPhone study as well. Since I’m weak, I’ll also do some attempts into iPhone world very soon. Maybe the best to do is a “try-before-buy” approach, isn’t it?