When I read yesterday that Nokia had set up a site to attack the iPhone, my first thought was: Big mistake. When I read this morning that it had created a video making fun of Antenna – gate – a problem that came to light almost two years ago — I thought: Wrong direction and just another case of tone deaf marketing.
See, most iPhone users, and there are a lot them, don’t care about the antenna problem. In fact, most people never encountered it and surveys find people love their iPhones in spite of it — as a recent JD Powers survey showed.
When it came to overall satisfaction, Apple blew away the field with a rating of 839. HTC came in next at 798. Apple was the only smartphone manufacturer to get five circles.
If you doubt consumer surveys, then look at the actual sales numbers that Nokia must fight as it enters the US market in earnest this month. All Things Digital reported this week that according to analysts at Genuity, the iPhone is the best selling phone at AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile for the last 4 months running.
That means when given the choice of iPhone or any other smart phone, the vast majority of consumers are choosing the iPhone and that’s got to be discouraging to every other manufacturer, but especially to Nokia, which has staked the company on Windows Phone 7 smart phones.
But mobile loyalty tends to be weak right? People can be lured by the next big thing, can’t they? — or at least that’s the conventional wisdom. Unfortunately, for Nokia, that’s just not the case with iPhone.
Digital Trends reported last November on a customer loyalty survey conducted by GfK where 84 percent of respondents reported they would replace their current iPhone with another.
The numbers are remarkably redundant, aren’t they?
So when faced with a market where people are appear to be ecstatically happy with what they have, how are you supposed to compete? If you’re Nokia, apparently you create a video that makes your potential customer base look like they are stupid for the phone choice they made.
And I hate to break it Nokia, but it’s not just the iPhone. People love their iPads too. Fortune reported (via CNN Money) that a recent survey by ChangeWave found that a whopping 82 percent of iPad users reported being “Very Satisfied.’
That means making fun of Apple customers is probably not the best way to deal with the problem. There are lots of them and they are delighted with their products, and see no reason to switch.
My advice is stop trying to fight iPhone and go after Blackberry and individual pockets of the Android market. That same GfK survey found that just 48 percent of Blackberry owners reported they would buy another.
And while you’re at it, attack the soft parts of the Android market where quality and price vary dramatically.
Most iPhone users are not going to use their upgrade to move to Nokia phone running Windows Phone 7, not when they are so satisfied with what they have. Don’t go after the happy market. Try to exploit the one that’s miserable. You’re far more likely to succeed.]]>
According to a CNet article, Google announced at its Google Music launch last week that there were 200 million activated Android devices in the world today. What’s more, Google claims another 550,000 are activated every single day.
If these numbers are accurate — and don’t forget, the late Steve Jobs accused Google of inflating its activation numbers, a charge Google later denied — it’s truly astonishing. That means more than a million new Android devices are being activated every two days, 22,916 are being activated every hour, 381 every minute.
Anyway, it’s a big number.
Apple isn’t exactly an also-ran here though. At its October press event, it announced that 250 million iOS devices had been sold since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007. That’s an impressive number until you look at the fact that Neowin.net reported that in May Google claimed 100 million active devices, and in just 6 months it activated 100 million more.
What’s more, Amazon wants to boost that figure a bit more this holiday season, announcing that every non-iPhone on Amazon is available for just a penny with a two-year activation contract.
So with all these Android devices flying out the door, that has to mean big profits for developers creating apps, right? Not so fast. Fortune blogger Phillip Elmer-Dewitt reported on a study by Piper Jaffrey analyst Gene Munster which found that Google had generated just 7 percent of the income of the Apple App Store.
While some people such as Todd Ogasawara at Inside Mobile Apps have questioned the basis for these numbers, it’s hard to argue with one data point in the Fortune post:
“Apple developers have made more than $3.4 billion since 2011, compared with less than $240 million for Google developers.”
And Ogasawara even acknowledges that the spirit of the report is true, even if he quibbles with some of the details. No matter how you count the income, the bottom line is Apple developers are making way more.
And Munster say that he expects Apple to maintain this kind of dominance for at least another 3-4 years.
If you’re a developer, you have to be looking at these numbers and shaking your head. You have this incredibly large market with an open environment and that has to be a lot more attractive to many in the technical community than Apple and its controlling, closed environment — but it’s hard to ignore the bottom line.
Let’s face it, the number of Android devices in the world is only going to continue to increase in leaps in bounds. That’s because there are multiple vendors selling Android devices of varying quality and price points around the world from high-end to very cheap low-end phones and tablets. There’s only one Apple selling iOS devices.
All things being equal, it seems most developers would go Android, but they aren’t equal as Munster’s report clearly indicates, and it creates a conundrum for developers on which platforms they should place their bets. For now, it’s clearly Apple, but Android’s shear size is hard to ignore.
Photo by Jemimus on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License. ]]>
By now, you probably know that Steve Jobs died tonight. I was going to write about something mundane like the differences in Microsoft and Adobe’s mobile-cloud strategies, but that can wait for another day. Tonight we come to celebrate Jobs’ undeniable influence on mobile computing.
If you think about it for a minute, he changed everything, first with the iPhone and later with the iPad. If you want to be technical about it, it all really started with iPod a decade ago, but the iPhone started a shift in the way we interact with one another and the Internet on cell phones.
It was the first touch screen mobile device with the perfectly wonderful awful idea of an App Store, a place where developers could sell small, distinct applications designed specifically to complete a simple task while taking advantage of the fact you were on a touch screen mobile device. It’s still a remarkable idea, and every phone that came after it that uses a touch screen including Android owes a deep debt of gratitude to the vision that Steve Jobs brought to the modern smart phone. And of course, the App Store phenomenon has spread rapidly and far.
Yet even surpassing the iPhone, was the iPad, which in many ways altered the entire computing landscape. To me, it’s still difficult to believe that this device which we take for granted now, was only released in April, 2010. Yet within months it started a trend called the consumerization of IT. People wanted their work applications to work as well and as smoothly as the iPad. You started to see devices like scanners with touch screens. It really did change everything.
And within months, you were starting to see its influence everywhere. Of course, there would be the parade of wannabes from Samsung, Motorola, Asus, Dell, RIM and HP (for about a month) and the Kindle Fire is on its way as well, but as with every touch screen that came after the iPhone, every tablet has to live up to the beauty and elegance of the iPad.
When I was at the SharePoint Conference this week, I saw a marketing rep trying to give away tickets for a raffle for an iPad 2 outside the convention center. A hard-core Microsoftee sneered at her with derision and spit out the words, “Why would I want that toy.”
As I walked toward the door I turned around and grinned at the guy and said, “Seriously?!” And he said, “Yes, it’s a toy. You ever try typing an email on there?” Well, it’s not really great for generating content because of the touch keyboard, but this man clearly missed the point of the iPad, and for that matter any tablet that comes down the Pike from here on out.
It is about media consumption, not media creation, and for that, there has never been a better device created in terms of size, weigh, screen quality, touch screen, applications and so forth that has come together as well as the iPad has up to this point.
We don’t really know what will happen to Apple in a post-Jobs world (or to any of us that cover and use mobile devices on a daily basis), but one thing is certain, he left a legacy that will never be matched.
And I don’t say that as post-death hyperbole. It is simply a fact. Jobs changed the world and not many of us can say that. Perhaps someone will come along some day with the intelligence, vision and spirit of Steve Jobs, but I fear when they made Mr. Jobs, they broke the mold and we won’t see the likes of him ever again.
It’s sad day for the world, but for those of us who cover mobile and cloud computing, it’s like the day the music died. And it really makes me wonder where we go from here.
Photo by Danny Novo on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License. ]]>
I have a couple of problems with a pure numbers-driven approach. First of all, Android is a free operating system, that means that Google is giving it away as a means of promoting use of its other services with the ultimate goal of putting eyeballs on its ads where it makes the bulk of its money.
As a free OS, anyone can take it and put on a phone, customize it and deliver it to the market. It’s fair enough, but since there is really no pure Android OS option, is it really fair to say that it’s all a single OS? Further, if you look at the numbers in the graph in this piece on Search Engine Land by by analyst Greg Sterling, you’ll see results from a Nielsen study that the shows most popular Android phones by manufacturer in the US.
Looking at this measurement, the most popular Android phones from HTC have half the marketshare of Apple with 14 percent for HTC compared to 28 percent for Apple
But that doesn’t tell the story either because a study by Canalys found amazing worldwide growth for Android phones with ridiculous penetration of 83 percent in South Korea and 71 percent in Taiwan. Those numbers are impossible to ignore
Yet because Android is a free OS, it doesn’t really make any money for Google. So is it really the most successful phone? If you think of phone sales in terms of profits, it’s certainly not. In that case, Apple is the clear winner and even Windows Phone 7, which is still selling modestly throughout the world comes out on top of Android.
So there are lots of ways to parse these numbers. Any way you slice it, however, Android is a tremendously successful phone across a variety of markets and price points. iPhone is also tremendously successful for Apple, generating huge sales and profits.
It seems like the two companies have distinctly different market approaches, so maybe it doesn’t even make sense to compare them, but the tendency is to see everything from politics to phone sales as a horse race. It’s a simple way to break it down and the simplest way to do that, is to look at pure percentages, but remember it’s not always as clear as it might seem and success is in the eyes of the beholder. And how you choose to break down the numbers.
Photo by tim geers on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License. ]]>
But if rumors are true, and I believe they are, that could be changing very soon.
Up to this point, Apple’s cloud attempts have been on the lame side. Mobile Me is a start, but long ago (back in 2008) I lamented that Apple had no business charging its loyal customers $99 a year for the privilege of accessing their data wherever and whenever they want. Mobile Me has been for the most part, a half-assed attempt at providing a cloud service to its users, while trying desperately to keep us tied to iTunes.
iTunes is a great place for Apple because it provides a direct link to the iTunes Store and to the App Store — two places that Apple wants its users to live, but iTunes certainly doesn’t work from a business user perspective and it’s not much better for consumers.
While it provides a way to organize your music, videos, podcasts and so forth, it lacks the beauty and elegance we typically see in Apple software. In fact, I’ve found iTunes to be slow, clunky and a huge resource hog.
When Amazon launched its Cloud Player storage and music playing service recently, it demonstrated just how powerful it was to have your music (and other files) at your finger tips all conveniently stored on Amazon’s storage service in the cloud. When it launched, Cloud Player supported Android, but not iOS. In recent days, however, there have been reports that you can finally access Cloud Player in the browser on iOS, but there is still no iOS app for it. It’s a weakness just waiting for Apple to exploit.
Word is Google is also working on a similar service and all this seems on its face to be forcing Apple’s hand, although it appears they were preparing for such an inevitability anyway. Apple recently opened a billion dollar data center in North Carolina. It also bought the rights to the name iCloud. It’s all coming together and pointing to some type of cloud service — and it’s about time.
In fact, in my view, for IT Pros to take iOS seriously as an enterprise mobile operating system, Apple has to simplify the entire process of launching apps, backing up mobile data to the cloud automatically and updating the operating system on the fly without having to connect to iTunes. Currently, you have to plug your iPhone or iPad into your PC, and access iTunes just to upgrade iOS and that isn’t going to fly in the enterprise over the long term.
All enterprise concerns aside however, it’s time for Apple to close the loop and make that cloud-mobile connection a seamless experience regardless of whether you’re a consumer or an enterprise user. The days of being tied to a dekstop application are over and it’s seems Apple could be finally ready to acknowledge that.
Photo by phil dokas on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License. ]]>
Probably to nobody’s surprise, Android was the biggest winner for the period with a 7 point gain. The other winner was Apple with a more modest, 0.2 percentage point change. What was more interesting are the two companies that lost market share: RIM and Microsoft, which lost 4.6 and 1.3 percent respectively.
You can see the data for yourself below:
|Share (%) of Smartphone Subscribers|
|Total Smartphone Subscribers||100.0%||100.0%||N/A|
These are supposed to be the enterprise-friendly devices, the ones that IT pros can feel reasonably good about giving out to employees, and that in many cases tie nicely into the IT infrastructure. The RIM’s Blackberry remains a staple device at many firms, and should you travel at all, you still see many of them in the hands of users in the airport waiting areas. So how to account for a whopping 4.6 percent market share loss in such a short period of time?
Perhaps it has to do with fewer companies buying new devices for employees. That could be because of a trend, one I’ve discussed here before, the consumerization of IT. As part of this trend, users would prefer to use the devices they want to use, not the ones that IT dictate they use. This isn’t true in every company of course because plenty are still using Blackberries, but it must be true in enough that it’s having a serious impact on the sale of new units.
That brings us to Microsoft, which after all introduced Windows Phone 7 during this time period, yet still lost market share. Sure it was a less precipitous drop than that of RIM, but Microsoft also owned far less of the market when it started, and it was a time period in which Microsoft was pushing their new phone OS hard.
When I commented about this on Twitter Saturday afternoon, veteran technology journalist Charles Arthur from The Guardian suggested it was probably due to the sunsetting of the old Windows Mobile OS, rather than any reflection on the new one, which he suggested had been released too recently to judge fairly at this point.
Instead, Arthur believes in order to truly measure the impact of the Windows Phone 7 OS, we have to wait until Nokia begins selling phones equipped with the Microsoft OS in earnest, perhaps toward the end of this year. But I wonder what would have happened had that deal never gone through. Would that mean that Windows Phone 7 would have continued to languish? Did it take the Nokia deal to make it relevant?
It’s hard to know, but one thing is clear. Enterprise-friendly cell phones seem to be in decline and that means you better be prepared to support Android and iOS because if the numbers are to be believed, it appears that they are coming soon to an enterprise near you, whether you’re ready or not.
Photo by judy_breck on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.