To cut through the hype and hero worship surrounding the release on July 11 of the Apple iPhone 2.0 3G, JackMyers Media Business Report decided to take the pulse across the industry, speaking with players across the gaming and virtual world landscape as well as those creating solutions for mobile technology. Before a moratorium on all things iPhone is declared, there's more than anecdotal evidence that Apple's App Store is a gamechanger. Internet radio pioneer Pandora, for example, released an app that works seamlessly on the smartphone. Founder Tim Westergren attests that "it has doubled our new registered listener growth," but he's even more bullish that "suddenly there's a new conversation about the implications for broadcast radio." Bigger picture? Just as last year's spring release of the Facebook Platform redrew the landscape in social networking, Apple's mobile platform stands to be not only the driver for gaming, but for virtual worlds.
"It's still early" is a frequent refrain when discussing the maturity of all things technology, but in the case of the mobile platform -- July 11 -- the release of the iPhone 2.0/3G, can truly be said to be the Big Bang. As Netscape founder Marc Andreessen (now head of Ning) told Newsweek back in June, "The iPhone... is the first real, fully formed computer that you can put in your hand. It has all the requirements it needs to be a viable platform." Blogger Mark Sigal of The Network Garden was even more smitten: "[It's] is a game changer on par with the advent of the PC."
But first, the financial incentives: Apart from having an installed based of 6M users, the iPhone has the backing of venture firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, whose $100M iFund has encouraged more than 200,000 developers to download applications of Apple's software developer kit (SDK). Looming closely is Google, which launched its Open Handset Alliance with thirty-four members -- a Who's Who in carriers and handset manufacturers, with the visible absence of Apple. While there have been delays bumping the release of Android, its open source platform, to Q4, it, too, has a slush fund to incent developers - not as flush - but it's distributing its $10M largess among 50 teams of developers.
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