The iPhone is clever in design and has some nifty capabilities, but the combination mobile phone and digital music player isn't a smartphone, a market researcher said Thursday.
Much of the media has placed Apple's device, unveiled this month at the Macworld conference in San Francisco, in the same category as gadgets like the Palm Treo, the Motorola Q, and Research In Motion's BlackBerry Pearl. But the major difference between those devices and the iPhone is the fact that Apple's gizmo is closed to third-party applications.
"Therefore, we must conclude at this point that, based on our current definition, the iPhone is not a smart phone; it's a very high-end feature phone," says Philip Solis, an analyst for ABI Research.
At $500, the iPhone is considerably more expensive than smartphones, which are priced as low as $200. Many of those phones, however, lack the music capabilities of the iPhone.
Having an open, commercial operating system that supports third-party applications promotes competition in the software space and produces products that add value to the device, Solis says. "Feature phones have third-party applications too, but these are relatively weak and limited to applications that work with the middleware such as Java and Brew."