Android Had It’s Shot

  • Posted: 15 March 2011 11:09 PM

    Apple gave Google a shot to compete in it’s mobile market by originally cutting exclusive deals that prevented the iPhone from being available to the bulk of the US market and many foreign markets.  That window is closing fast, and it looks like Google blew it’s opportunity. 

    You can say, as Horace does often, that the game is far from over, but looking at the tablet market, it’s hard to see how Apple loses it.  And if you thought the iPod had a halo effect, you ain’t seen nothin yet:

    Imagine the relatively satisfied Droid owners (if they exist).  This year they want a tablet, and they go out and buy the iPad (what else?).  Next year, when it’s time to renew with Verizon, are they going to get a new Droid or a new iPhone?  I predict an overwhelming edge to the iPhone.  They will love their iPad, and the iPhone is the logical companion in their pockets.

    Perhaps Google never had much of a window at all, but they might have gotten more traction if they had selected just one manufacturer, with a great design and a great brand name, and a well designed app store.  None of that would have required anything more creative than copying Apple.  But even copying Apple must be easier said than done.

    Oh, and don’t trot out massive continuing Android smartphone sales as an indication of Android’s competitiveness to Apple.  Apple is gunning solely for the billion wallets fat enough to make a profit from.  The fortunate billion is the market Android had a shot at, but not anymore.  Now Google is only competing with Microsoft/Nokia for the many billions you can’t make a profit from.

         
  • Posted: 15 March 2011 11:34 PM #1

    macorange - 16 March 2011 02:09 AM

    Apple gave Google a shot to compete in it’s mobile market by originally cutting exclusive deals that prevented the iPhone from being available to the bulk of the US market and many foreign markets.  That window is closing fast, and it looks like Google blew it’s opportunity. 

    You can say, as Horace does often, that the game is far from over, but looking at the tablet market, it’s hard to see how Apple loses it.  And if you thought the iPod had a halo effect, you ain’t seen nothin yet:

    Imagine the relatively satisfied Droid owners (if they exist).  This year they want a tablet, and they go out and buy the iPad (what else?).  Next year, when it’s time to renew with Verizon, are they going to get a new Droid or a new iPhone?  I predict an overwhelming edge to the iPhone.  They will love their iPad, and the iPhone is the logical companion in their pockets.

    Perhaps Google never had much of a window at all, but they might have gotten more traction if they had selected just one manufacturer, with a great design and a great brand name, and a well designed app store.  None of that would have required anything more creative than copying Apple.  But even copying Apple must be easier said than done.

    Oh, and don’t trot out massive continuing Android smartphone sales as an indication of Android’s competitiveness to Apple.  Apple is gunning solely for the billion wallets fat enough to make a profit from.  The fortunate billion is the market Android had a shot at, but not anymore.  Now Google is only competing with Microsoft/Nokia for the many billions you can’t make a profit from.

    macorange:

    Good insight and powerfully stated.

         
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    Posted: 15 March 2011 11:54 PM #2

    sort of drifting off-topic…

    Apple has 2 kinds of profits from its customers:

    1. the premium market such as the iPhone. 
    2. the long tail of Apps, Tunes, Movies, TV shows, books

    Google has advantages with YouTube and Gmail.  These do not have a wide moat. 

    The iPad, iPhone, iAnvil, the iHammer.  All have wide moats.

    Google has search, the soul of Google.  This moat used to be wide, is wider than it used ot be in some places.  Still, its vulnerable to Bing and others.

    Here’s to opening for good competition in the search industry (cough: North Carolina).

         
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    Posted: 15 March 2011 11:58 PM #3

    Android:  you’ve got a lot of moats to think about before you’re the same league as the iOS super-cluster.

    Honestly, why should I give up iOS in favor of Android.  Oh yeah, and what’s this going to cost me ?  Apple has 5 halos: iPhone, iPad, iPod , Macs and sort of Apple TV.    Need one to firm up that 5th point, Steve.

         
  • Posted: 16 March 2011 12:17 AM #4

    Well, Mac, this is a stimulating post.  And I know you well enough that you did not put it up without giving it serious thought.  So let me give a first reaction.

    A ranking of six participants in the mobile space for current position might go like this:
    1) Apple,
    2) Android,
    3) RIM,
    4) Microsoft
    5) Nokia
    6) HP. 
    Some would argue Android is first, but I am a fanboy.

    Absent game changing events, in a couple of years I see it looking like this:
    1) Apple
    2) HP
    3) Microsoft/Nokia
    4) Android
    5) Samsung
    6) RIM

    It is my belief that the integrated business model is clearly superior.  From nowhere to 2nd is a big jump for HP and is not a sure thing.  But I like webOS and I believe that HP brings a lot of other assets to the party, including distribution, a wide product line, hardware engineering, and enterprise relationships.

    So I not only believe that Android will fail to takeover the world, but that it will fall behind two more of the integrated business model companies.

         
  • Posted: 16 March 2011 02:01 AM #5

    Google’s challenge is that the company went straight to handheld devices before releasing a satisfactory commercial OS for notebooks. Chrome has much more potential to lock customers into the Google eco-system than Android and with Chrome as the start it would have been a foundation for multiple handheld devices exploiting the company’s cloud-based solutions and working in unison with one another.

    Android is like an army moving too far forward without the supplies and infrastructure to economically and strategically support and exploit the advance.

         
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    Posted: 16 March 2011 02:16 AM #6

    Tetrachloride - 16 March 2011 02:54 AM

    Google has search, the soul of Google.  This moat used to be wide, is wider than it used ot be in some places.  Still, its vulnerable to Bing and others.

    Here’s to opening for good competition in the search industry (cough: North Carolina).

    I doubt Apple is interested in search. It’s just not one of their passions.

    I just tested the new Google Search app on my iPod touch. The voice search feature is brilliant! I think Google realizes that trying to reserve special features for the Android version of their apps is a losing proposition. I’m looking forward to the full-featured Google Maps for iOS.

         
  • Posted: 16 March 2011 02:28 AM #7

    I think six contenders is a stretch.  There won’t be more than 4.

    capablanca - 16 March 2011 03:17 AM

    Absent game changing events, in a couple of years I see it looking like this:
    1) Apple
    2) HP
    3) Microsoft/Nokia
    4) Android
    5) Samsung
    6) RIM

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  • Posted: 16 March 2011 02:56 AM #8

    DawnTreader - 16 March 2011 05:01 AM

    Android is like an army moving too far forward without the supplies and infrastructure to economically and strategically support and exploit the advance.

    Lord, how I love a good military analogy.

         
  • Posted: 16 March 2011 10:05 AM #9

    We are moving into the mobile device being a service. It serves as an entry point into an application and services ecosystem. The actual device is table stakes, and many companies are plenty capable of showing up with adequate table stakes.

    For those of you that see Android falling into 4’th place, what is the mechanism that you see that will cause HP and Microsoft to create a competitive ecosystem to Android?  What is going to happen that will cause developers who now treat Android as their number 1 or 2 priority to elevate WebOS or Windows Phone 7 in priority so that a truly competitive ecosystem is created? Without that, the wannabes have little chance of surpassing Android.

         
  • Posted: 16 March 2011 10:06 AM #10

    capablanca - 16 March 2011 03:17 AM

    Absent game changing events, in a couple of years I see it looking like this:
    1) Apple
    2) HP
    3) Microsoft/Nokia
    4) Android
    5) Samsung
    6) RIM


    I agree with you regarding HP’s strengths, and the strengths of the integrated model, but I don’t see how any platform other than iOS or Android gets traction without apps.  Developers have their hands full creating for both iOS and Android already (I have first hand experience on how challenging this is).  We ain’t gonna develop for a third platform unless there is an established market.  Without the apps, these products can’t compete with iOS and Android.

    And that is why, ultimately, Android is the best thing that could have happened to Apple.  If Android had never happened, then the likely competitors are integrated providers:  HP, RIM, or the quasi integrated Microsoft/Nokia.  If any ONE of these emerged as the main competitor it would have been far fiercer than the forked and rag tag army of Android manufacturers.

         
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    Posted: 16 March 2011 11:53 AM #11

    capablanca - 16 March 2011 03:17 AM

    Absent game changing events, in a couple of years I see it looking like this:
    1) Apple
    2) HP
    3) Microsoft/Nokia
    4) Android
    5) Samsung
    6) RIM

    As stated elsewhere I think for all intents and purposes it will just be three or four and “Other”. I’d put my money on Apple, HP, Android, and RIM. I’m seriously doubting that MS/NOKIA will succeed or for that matter that WP7 will grab much traction at all.  RIM OTOH has a solid fotting in the Enterprise and that won’t go away fast.

    macorange - 16 March 2011 02:09 AM

    Imagine the relatively satisfied Droid owners (if they exist).

    Well my brother for one. He has a Droid. He loves it and he’s told me flat out that he will never go to iOS. He’s wanted a tablet for a year but has held off until he could get a Droid version.
    However before you condemn him, he is an Alpha Geek. He’s built computers, and test equipment for fun for years. He’s amazed his bosses by repairing broken components such as power supplies rather than just ordering a new one. His degree is in programming. He still will pull out a soldering iron and “improve” devices he thinks he could have done better. It’s the open access, programmable, geeky-ness that he likes about Android. I think there will always be a segment that will want that. There will also be IT shops that want that so they can customize. Lastly there will be a lot of users that use whatever is on their phone and don’t care as long as their provider will give it to them free with a contract and it matches their couture.  It makes no difference to them if their provider prefers Android so they can customize it and fill it with crapware.

    Don’t see Android as being out of it by any measure.

    [ Edited: 16 March 2011 12:00 PM by geoduck ]

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    Posted: 16 March 2011 12:23 PM #12

    FalKirk - 16 March 2011 05:56 AM
    DawnTreader - 16 March 2011 05:01 AM

    Android is like an army moving too far forward without the supplies and infrastructure to economically and strategically support and exploit the advance.

    Lord, how I love a good military analogy.

    As Napoleon said “Never fight an OS war in Cupertino.”

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  • Posted: 16 March 2011 03:35 PM #13

    Sir Harry Flashman - 16 March 2011 03:23 PM
    FalKirk - 16 March 2011 05:56 AM
    DawnTreader - 16 March 2011 05:01 AM

    Android is like an army moving too far forward without the supplies and infrastructure to economically and strategically support and exploit the advance.

    Lord, how I love a good military analogy.

    As Napoleon said “Never fight an OS war in Cupertino.”

    Funny, and then funnier! Well done.  I think that might be the first time I have laughed out loud at MacObserver!  That second quote ought to become somebody’s byline.  It does sum up the current situation perfectly (as long as you know a bit about European history.)

         
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    Posted: 16 March 2011 03:47 PM #14

    Sir Harry Flashman - 16 March 2011 03:23 PM

    As Napoleon said “Never fight an OS war in Cupertino.”

    Napoleon had some valid insight, sure ? and even more so, what was it Sun Tzu said about tech wars? I know there’s something ? just can’t find it in my copy right now. If you know it offhand, or if you recall it, would you share that with us?

         
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    Posted: 16 March 2011 04:04 PM #15

    cbsofla - 16 March 2011 06:47 PM
    Sir Harry Flashman - 16 March 2011 03:23 PM

    As Napoleon said “Never fight an OS war in Cupertino.”

    Napoleon had some valid insight, sure ? and even more so, what was it Sun Tzu said about tech wars? I know there’s something ? just can’t find it in my copy right now. If you know it offhand, or if you recall it, would you share that with us?

    Hmmm, I may be wrong in attributing that quote to Napoleon, it might have been General MacAurthur and I will need to check on that.  Anyway the point about long supply lines is an important factor.

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