Interesting post here methinks. Should manufacturers stick to what they know best and keep their market share or do they have to branch out with different form factors to try and grab a bigger slice of the pie and risk losing what they already hold?
It must be difficult for them at times, seeing how well the iPhone has done and thus needing to retaliate with a look-alike phone f their own. But, is the success of the iPhone down to the form factor or just the fact that it is so easy to use? I'm not so sure it is all down the former although the big screen is obviously a factor, there are plenty of people out there after all who just do not get on with the onscreen keyboard and would prefer a physical qwerty kepyad.
Nope, I think it has done well because it works well, is easy to use, has a simple method of adding apps to it, syncs easily with iTunes and thus a user can get all their photos, songs and videos across simply without having to resort to unreliable 3rd party software. These are the main things people want in a phone and is something other platforms have yet to master.
So, your RIMS and Nokias and HTC's can mimic the physical size, shape and screen layout but that is not enough, the mating of the o/s and software has to be up to scratch too from the majority of end-users perspective. Apple has a very definite plan for the iPhone, they aimed at a certain sector of the marketplace and ignored the look-at-me shouts of the smaller, power-user sector…leave these guys for HTC….and have gone for the jugular and wallets of the majority-Joe sector. I just don't think the likes of HTC and RIM as yet have a device that these people will walk into a phone shop, pick it up and think 'this looks a cinch to use" in comparison. They know that too, hence the impending releases of onboard app stores and improvements to syncing.
My Nokia E71 is the easiest Nokia phone I have used to date but it still involved a steepish learning curve and I am still tinkering with settings and adding apps (some of which are not added because they are adding something new but rather because they are easier/more fully featured than the native version). One of the girls at my work got herself an E71 just before Xmas and loves it but she has left it stock as-is, has added no 3rd party apps and has not even worked out how to add or even indeed change the theme. It is a fantastic little device but it is not easy to use for the majority of the buying public yet it can do far far more out of the box than the iPhone.
I seem to have gone off a tangent here and I'm now not so sure what sort of point I am trying to make anymore.