What’s The Best Mobile Platform/OS For Marketing?

I got to thinking, after reading Microsoft’s bleak forecast for its Windows Mobile division, about what’s the best mobile platform or OS available today in terms of mobile marketing.  Since the days of Windows Mobile and Symbian domination are almost over, I think it’s time to take a closer look at the myriad of options available today and rank them from a mobile advertising point of view.  For all intent and purposes, let’s focus on the US mobile market for now.

To be fair, I’m not saying one is “better” than any other because each has definitive pros and cons, but from a marketing standpoint, some shine more than others.  Let’s start with the options; we have Windows Mobile, Blackberry, iPhone, Android, Palm’s new OS and a variety of the classic Symbian platform, so which one is best?

Let’s start at the bottom; Symbian would be my last choice only because, as it stands right now, they’re a little behind the times in terms of application delivery and web-centric intuitiveness.  With that said, Symbian has made huge strides recently to better align itself with its ever-growing competition.  The launch of the Symbian Foundation in June of last year signaled its intent to simplify its offerings (S60, UIQ, MOAP) into one open-source platform.  This will pave the way to things like LBS (location-based services), a more mobile-web oriented infrastructure, and so on.

Next up the list would have to be Blackberry.  While Blackberry is starting a major push to a more consumer-oriented brand, they’re still more associated with enterprise than anything else.  Blackberry is coming on strong with some serious advancements in terms of user interface, various applications, social media integration, etc., but it will take some time to catch up with the likes of the iPhone, Windows Mobile, or even Android.

Windows Mobile would be next on my list simply because of its history and sheer market share, for the time being that is.  Windows Mobile has long been associated with web-centric devices, even though it’s still a bit limited, and is found on a vast majority of devices.  From a marketing point-of-view, that’s always a good thing.  Beyond that, Windows Mobile is a dieing breed.  They’ve stated that the future holds great things for the platform, but they’ve more or less been left in the dust when compared to others.  Microsoft’s antiquated image seems to be damaging Windows Mobile as much as elsewhere in the company.

Lastly, for first place, I’d have to go with a tie between the iPhone OS and Android.  The simple fact being that while the other platforms/OSs are planning new-age technology, application delivery methods, full-web capabilities, etc., both the iPhone OS and Android are doing it now, and have been since the inception of each platform.  Palm’s new OS will likely fall in this category as well, but it’s a little to early to make any judgements.

While we don’t know what the future holds for each platform, we do know what the past has proven.  The mobile marketing industry is laying out the technology and mobile innovation needed to keep itself prosporous, now it’s all up to the various mobile platforms and the devices they run on.  What do you think is the best mobile platform for mobile marketing?