Is It Now Or Never For The iPhone Nano?

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iPhoneNanoConcept

Like two sharks fighting over the carcass of a dying whale, Apple and Android want a piece of Nokia’s huge (but shrinking) market share. To do so, some suggest the tech giant needs to unveil an inexpensive handset…. the iPhone Nano.

The time to unveil an inexpensive iPhone – one without a data plan or carrier contract – is now. Analyst firms, such as Gartner, believe Nokia could turn around its market share decline when the company fully moves from Symbian to Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. Also pressing is Android’s growing market share – now at nearly one-third of all mobile devices.

Apple is already receptive to the idea of a less expensive iPhone. Although the company has one of the highest revenue pictures in the industry, Chief Operating Officer Time Cook earlier this year told Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi he wants to change Apple’s image of being “just for the rich.”

We recently wrote about Avian Securities’ belief the iPhone nano will appear in 2012. The device was described as “streaming-only.” This fits in with Apple’s recent moves to solidify its iCloud service, since the iPhone Nano would be devoid of memory, relying almost totally on cloud-based storage and streaming. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal, financial news service Bloomberg and tech blog TechCrunch all reported the iPhone Nano was in the works.

The idea reinforces Apple’s desire to promote a mobile ecosystem where various App Stores link a growing web of mobile devices. Gartner already supports such a vision as replacing the mobile landscape. An iPhone nano costing about the same as an iPod touch and free of carrier restrictions would operate like the iPad Wi-Fi, intimately tied to Apple’s core software distribution.

However, there is not limitless time to consider the notion. Google undoubtedly is considering the same path from its Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. Such a step would further cement its vision as the Apple alternative.