It Just Works

For close to six years now, I have been using Android phones. Because the iPhone was late to join Verizon, my current wireless carrier (VZW has the best coverage where I live although I am very tempted to try T-Mobile…but I digress), I went with Android early on and then stuck with it through some of the lean early years of that platform. So when my wireless contract ended in March and I became a wireless phone/carrier free agent, I started to debate what phone I should get?

During the past 3 years or so, I have also been migrating a lot of my house to the Apple iOS/OSX ecosystem – iPads, Apple TV, iMacs, MacBook Airs, AirPorts – but during that time I was sticking with Android for my mobile phone. Yet I was starting to waver with my mobile device – do I stick with Android and go for a Samsung Galaxy 4 or do I make the move that seemed inevitable with the migration of the rest of my digital life – and go over to Apple’s iPhone.

And so a few weeks ago, I took the plunge and picked up the new Apple iPhone 5S. There was no specific attribute or feature that drove me into Apple’s hands, but more of a growing frustration with the Motorola/Android devices that I have used the past few years. With my Android phones, it always seemed that they slowed to a miserable computer processing crawl after about 10-12 months. Whenever I tried to do the most basic of mobile computing tasks – opening apps, sending messages, making a phone call (novel concept), etc. – it became an ordeal. And the real kicker was when I tried to take a photo with my Android phones – oh, the countless photos that have been missed waiting for the photo app to load. To sum it up with my Android devices, whenever I *really* needed it to work – to capture a photo, to make a phone call quickly, to find an address/location – it failed me. When I didn’t need it in a crunch, oh, it worked fine.

My initial impression of iOS on an iPhone is much different (in a good way) compared to what I have been exposed to on the iPad. The processor and the apps are really snappy. The software and iOS experience is so solid and tightly integrated. So far, my experience with my first iPhone has been great and for now, I’m not looking back.

Strong Quarter For Android

Another huge growth quarter for Google’s Android mobile OS. According to a recent market share release from the research firm IDC, Android’s market share in Q2 grew to 68% while Apple’s iOS grew 26% to capture 17% of the market. On the other side of the spectrum, Blackberry’s installed base fell a massive 41% to under 5% of the market, while Nokia’s one’s eponymous Symbian OS dropped 60% to 4.4% of the market. Sadly, Windows Phone OS begged for the scraps and was bundled in the “Other” category that represented 6% of the market.

Now it should be noted that these numbers represent the installed base and do not reflect revenue or any financial numbers. When you look at it by that metric, which in my mind is the real number that needs to be highlighted, then Apple is clearly crushing everyone including Android. And I have to say that it feels like the iPhone has a much larger share/footprint and social impact on the market than what these numbers indicate.

via CNN Money

Eating Android’s Dust

Some new numbers have been released showing that Android has picked up a staggering 7% absolute points (26% market share in November 2010 and 33% share in February 2011) of market share in the past 3 months. That’s a whopping 27% increase. If I was a brand manager, I would take a 27% share growth any day, thank you very much.

As I’ve mentioned before, Apple and its iPhone get all the hype from the fan boys, however Apple once again is fighting and losing the exact same battle as it did in the 1980’s and 1990’s

Apple is fighting a very similar war to the one it fought–and lost–in the 1990s. It is trying to build the best integrated products, hardware and software, and maintain complete control over the ecosystem around them. This end-to-end control makes it easier for Apple to build products that are “better,” but it makes it much harder for the company to compete against a software platform that is standard across many hardware manufacturers Windows in the 1990s, Android now. 

As the SAI article I’ve quoted notes, I would have to agree that Apple and the others in the mobile space (RIM, Windows) need to really consider the implications here.

My mobile contract on Verizon is up in July and while Verizon now has the iPhone, and I have recently acquired other Apple products like iPad and iPad 2, I have to say that I am pretty reticent to switch over to iPhone for my mobile device. The flexibility of the Android phone is something that I’m not ready to give up yet, and I get the sense from these numbers that others are feeling the same way.

via SAI.

Droid Still Does?

There has been a lot of talk about the iPhone’s arrival in Verizon stores and how it will be a game changer relative to Verizon’s investment in Android phones (via their “Droid Does” campaigns). But as Dan Lyons (of Fake Steve Jobs fame) openly questions, is iPhone too late to the Verizon game here?  A clear benefit of Android is its flexibility and the ability for the user to have more control of the experience, while Apple’s iPhone is a very rigid and controlling experience, where Apple (or Steve Jobs) is almost dictating what the user wants and needs:

The iPhone is like omakase, the style of sushi where the chef chooses what you’re going to eat, and might even tell you how to eat it, no wasabi allowed on this, no soy sauce allowed on that. Definitely no California rolls.

That’s the way Apple has always been. One of Apple’s big failures 15-20 years ago in the PC “wars” was the fact that it would not cede control over its licensing and distribution…and on that war, it got its ass kicked by Microsoft from a market share perspective (Yes, Apple’s products are more profitable per user but that’s a story for another post). We’re actually seeing signs of this scenario repeat itself with Android surpassing iOS in terms of installed devices and market share .

The game is much different now with Applications, Mobile, Social Networks and, most importantly, the clear shift of power and conversation to the customer through the Internet and self publishing tools. You could argue that Apple’s “rigid” approach is a metaphor for the old school marketing approach, where the “brand” talked to the customer as opposed to talking with the customer.

No doubt that Android has its flaws, while Apple has some amazing features and benefits. And there is no way to avoid the fact of their recent success and valuation in the marketplace. But to me, it will be very interesting to see if people will be willing to let Apple dictate the experience so rigidly with something so personal as your personal mobile device. Combine this with Apple’s recent announcement that they will be taking 30% of all subscription revenues and its impact on publishers’ iOS content and service offerings, and you really have to step back and wonder how this will all play out

Android Share Rises

In the continued battle for mobile dominance, it appears that Android is taking the route of Windows when there was the OS battle between Apple and Windows back in the day:

About 26 percent of U.S. smartphone users said an Android device was their primary phone in the three months ending in November, compared with 25 percent using Apple Inc.’s iPhones, comScore said. BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. still held the first-place spot, but its share of users declined to 33.5 percent from 37.6% in August.

It will be interesting to see if this will now influence developers to release Android apps at the same time as iOS/Apple apps, or shift to release Android first and then iOS/Apple.

via All Things D.

RIM Caught Flat Footed

So it turns out that RIM was completely, utterly caught off guard when the original Apple iPhone was released in 2007:

RIM had a complete internal panic when Apple unveiled the iPhone in 2007, a former employee revealed this weekend. The BlackBerry maker is now known to have held multiple all-hands meetings on January 10 that year, a day after the iPhone was on stage, and to have made outlandish claims about its features. Apple was effectively accused of lying as it was supposedly impossible that a device could have such a large touchscreen but still get a usable lifespan away from a power outlet.

RIM’s reaction? The equivalent of a panic pick when the time is running out during the 3rd round of your Fantasy Football draft: The RIM Storm, which hit the market two years later and clearly not started until after the iPhone release.

Convergance and the QR Code

Here’s an interesting item from of all places, The Weather Channel. It appears that TWC is putting QR Codes on the TV screen during weather broadcasts, inviting Android users to scan the code to get their Android app. I’ve heard of people using the codes on outdoor advertising but having a broadcast network using them is a pretty interesting move for networks and for advertisers. Next step is obviously a TV spot with the QR code that delivers a coupon for that item to the user’s mobile device.

Google Goggles

So yesterday I downloaded onto my wonderful new Googomotozion Android phone Google Goggles. No, its not an application to optimize drunken hookups. It is visual search. Basically, you fire up the application, take a photo with your phone’s camera, and Google will scan the photo and look up information on that item. I gave it a quick test run yesterday and I have to say I was blown away. But its Google, I would expect as much. I took a quick photo of my work Laptop, which is a Lenovo, and ran it through Goggles. Not only did it spit out information on lap top computers, it actually delivered results specific to Lenovo!! Impressive to say the least. So similar to the Barcode Scanning applications for Android and iPhone, this app has a wide variety of possibilities from commerce and product comparison, to just looking up something that you encounter in your travels. I look forward to trying this out on other things to see how it performs.

Three straight posts on Google, but they appear to be in product release mode these days.