What happens when all smartphones start looking the same? (Video)

One thing I noticed in traveling the past couple of weeks is that you can’t necessarily judge a smartphone by its user interface. Looking over someone’s shoulder on an airplane or in a meeting, it’s not always clear exactly which smartphone they’re using, especially if they are deep in a calendar or email app, for example.

Chances are the person is swiping to a new screen or tapping on a virtual keyboard, whether it be an Apple iPhone, one of the many Droid phones or an HTC-enriched Windows mobile phone.

One wonders what will make a customer not caught in the daily sturm and drang of our industry choose one phone over another. The answer, of course, is marketing.

That’s why this video of the commercial launching the new Motorola Milestone Android phone in the U.K. caught my eye. It’s really hard to separate its features apart from those of any other smartphone these days (this blog post from Phandroid.com does a great job of driving this point home).

Indeed, compared to Verizon’s “There’s a Map For That” and Motorola’s “Droid” marketing campaigns, the Milestone ad has nothing at all to make it stand out.

Which means two things: one, smart phone capabilities are becoming mainstream; and two, breaking out of the pack will be a major marketing challenge moving forward for device makers and mobile operators alike.

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