Android’s Mindshare Gap

  • Posted: 29 October 2009 11:46 AM

    When comparing the future of Android and iPhone, I’m not impressed about the difference in the number of Apps offered for the two platforms.  Today’s announcement by the NBA is a good example that in the future most valuable applications will be on both platforms roughly at the same time. 

    I’m also not swayed by differences in specs or design.  The differences are becoming small enough that only the nerd niche will care.

    To me, the big difference now is mindshare.  Everyone knows the iPhone.  And while this may come as a shock to all of us who live and breathe consumer electronics, most people have never heard of Android.  Even through this week, the amount of blogging about Android was a small fraction of the amount of blogging about iPhones. 

    Mindshare becomes even more important as we leave the early adopter phase of smartphones.  Most of the people now making smartphone decisions are followers, and they don’t pay attention to specs and apps.  They rely on their friends who are early adopters, and almost all of them have iPhones.

    Verizon gets that, and they are spending millions in the next few months to try to bridge the gap, with many more millions to come in the next year.  And they will be joined by other carriers, the OEMs and perhaps Google itself.  So Android mindshare will definitely grow.

    But mindshare is more than about whether the unwashed masses has heard about something, but rather how clear the message is in their minds.  And here Google, et al, seem to be heading in the wrong direction.  First consumers are going to hear there is a “Droid” phone.  Then consumers are going to hear there are a line of Droid phones, like the Droid Eris.  And then consumers are going to hear that this is just a subset of a larger group of Android phones.  Some of these phones are official Google phones, and some will be less than full Google phones.  I’m confused, and I’m paying close attention.  Not to mention, “Droid” and “Android” are names only the nerd niche can love. 

    Android’s product murkiness is in stark contrast to Apple’s laser precision.  One phone (OK, two versions), one name.  Known around the globe.  This is the iPhone competitive advantage over Android, and its a huge mountain for Android to climb.

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    Posted: 29 October 2009 12:28 PM #1

    Nice post.  Don’t you think Apple’s reputation for high quality hardware and support is on consumer’s minds?  I think hardware is an important differentiation between iPhone and Droid phones made by ‘whoever’.


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    Posted: 29 October 2009 12:43 PM #2

    Ultimately everybody copies everybody in the me too mindshare. As such the only spec that matters is if the iDon’t can deliver the internet for less than $85.00 a month.


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