The challenge that HTC, Samsung, Nokia and others will now have is that they will compete against two Silicon Valley giants, Apple and Google, who can design great hardware and sell it at low margins. Apple will recoup its costs with apps and content and Google with ads and apps. Instead, all other hardware makers will have to think of how to monetize after the hardware is sold or they will have a hard time competing. A proof of this is that nobody has come up with a product that competes with the iPad at $499 yet. No hardware makers can turn their hardware into a post-sales cash machine as Apple can. Now Motorola will be able to make Android/Honeycomb tablets at low margins because Google will milk them with post-sale profits from ads, apps and probably soon content as paid versions of Youtube and music services get going.
A few weeks ago I wrote that Google had to buy a smartphone maker.
I am very glad they bought Motorola. Google has very little to lose buying Moto and a lot to gain. Motorola is affordable, has good IP, is in USA, and even though they clearly don’t make the best Android phones now Andy Rubin will make sure they do.
And $9.5bn is what Google could afford (Moto has $3bn in cash). HTC is a much better company but $50bn is tough even for a $150bn Google. Samsung impossible.
Now the challenge is to make sure that the level playing field continues that Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericsson and others don’t feel discriminated and if GoogleMoto wins is because they just make the best hardware/software experience.
Of course there is a risk that Android partners will try to help promote Windows Phone but for that they are late after Nokia and in any case mobile operating systems can hardly be pushed. Microsoft has so much cash and resources and with all their might WP is selling 15K units per day while Android sells 550K. A mobile OS is like a social network of geeks where the people are the apps developers. And in a mobile OS as in many other things in life, money can’t buy you love. It helps, but it doesn’t buy it.
Ok, I am obsessed with Smartphones and connectivity, but probably so are you.
My announced day without Blackberry produced an undesirable outcome. I did not abandoned Blackberry but ended up trading back from the Torch(ure) to the BB 9700. My BB9700 is a liberated T Mobile USA model so I can use it both in Europe and in USA (few phones work like that cause T Mobile has their own 3G flavor). But I still carry my iPhone 4 and HTC HD.
I could not drop the BB for one main reason, INPUT. I can’t type super fast on the iPhone no matter how hard I try. And I have tried since 2008. I envy people who say they can. I find the symbols in a second screen and the globe to change languages a real impediment. Android is better. I can type faster on the HTC HD with Swiftkey (amazing app) but not as fast as in a BB with a vertical raised keyboard made for thumbs and a trackpad. My daughters agree, they say typing on glass with long nails is too difficult. The Blackberry Bold is my main communication, messaging, email and blogging machine. The Bold BB is my “lean forward” device. The Android and iPhone are my “lean back” alternatives. My spectator smartphones. In the BB I create, in the Android or especially the iPhone, I enjoy what others have created. Many times I end up paying for it as well. The Bold BB is crucial in my life because my wife, my 3 older kids all use Blackberries and I BBM with them. Many think Blackberries are for old people but at Columbia University, NYU and Spanish high schools, Blackberries are still very big. Blackberry is also the only service that gives me global roaming via Movistar for only an extra 20 euros a month. With the Android and iPhone if I don’t find Fon or other WiFi I am roaming toast.
So I continue to walk around with 3 smartphones. I know it’s crazy.
I use the iPhone and Android for different collections of apps because as we know, apps suck on the BB.
I use both because neither phone has enough juice to get me through the day so I use the Android and iPhone at different times. I think that people in California don’t have that problem because they live in their cars, so workers at Apple and Google never notice how much battery their software/cpu and other chips need. They charge their smartphones stuck in traffic jams. In the rest of the world either smartphones will get better batteries or buses and subways will have plugs.
Now I don’t just use smartphones, I abuse them. I make use of all of them intensely. I mountain bike practically every day using sports apps like Endomondo, music apps like Spotify, I use RadioMe in Android, Twitter, Facebook, G+ on Android and iPhone (I want it in BB). I also use Seesmic to multipost. Dropbox to send files to myself and others.
I frequently give the iPhone to my 4 year old who abuses it even more. He plays up to 20 different games, watches videos, pictures. If what people mean that iPhones are for young people is that they are for 4 year olds then I am with them. Little kids find iPhones their device of choice. Before language acquisition they are unbeatable. I also sometimes play games such as Chopper, Angry Birds with him or alone and the iPhone is the king of gaming.
When I am in grown up mode, I use Navionics when I sail (amazing app), I use photo apps like Instagram (iPhone) or Picplz (Android). I also turn my Android and iPhone into hotspots for my MacBook Air or iPad. I use BBM a lot, PINs, Google Maps, Latitude, Whatsapp, Rebtel on BB (amazing integration to save money on international calls), Skype on iPhone and Android, Gmail everywhere of course, WordPress apps to blog in all three platforms but best in BB cause of input same with Tumblr. Sonos controller is available for Android and iPhone not BB. I love AirPlay in my iPhone and through Airport Express I can play Spotify or iTunes on my stereo. I use Fon apps to connect automatically to Fon WiFi on Android. I also enjoy other music apps like Rdio, Grooveshark, for me music apps are like radio stations, none is good for everything. And of course, I use cameras and video and for that the iPhone is the best. And then there is the issue of back ups. Because apps fail, like sports apps, I sometimes go cycling with two different smartphones collecting data, say Endomondo in the Android and Runkeeper in the iPhone, so I have back up. The ultimate back up tool? Dropbox, works everywhere 🙂
Now what I almost never do, with any of these smartphones is to send a txt and I very rarely make a phone call.