Android’s ways to win over users

November 7, 2009 by
Filed under: Technology 

Android - Apple As well anticipated, and (may I even say) masterfully the Motorola Droid lunched yesterday. Besides its impressive spec it is really one of the first devices that can truly be considered smart, unfortunately it is mostly thanks to Google (author of the Android OS in which it is based) than Motorola, and the name Droid is really Verizon’s (it will launch in Europe with the lame – not a typo I did mean lame with an “l” – Milestone) . Other bloggers have said it falls short of a true “iPhone killer”. I don’t think it is really about that (in spite of the fact that it looks to be better than the iPhone – i happen to be an iPhone user myself- and on a better network – at least in the US). Of course, Motorola and others want to take away a piece of the Apple pie (I hate puns) but the Droid is really taking advantage of the growing pie. Smartphones is the only category of mobile devices that grew this year and it it expected (according to ABI Research) to triple by 2013 to (are you ready?) 650 million phones per year worldwide!! Thankfully in part to the variety in the marketplace. Each contender in this battle will appeal customers in a different way and their cultures are a clue to their methods and target markets.

As I have pointed out in prior posts, Research in Motion, is really the inventor of the category, although Palm came up with the PDA prior to that but Nokia has the largest market share worldwide by far, according to Gartner, more than 50%. Apple revolutionized the category by adding close to real web browsing and its superior iPod experience. Interestingly enough multiple companies (including Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and others) have Windows Mobile phones out there, but Microsoft has been trying to keep being a fast follower (like they are in the PC market). But you can’t really be a fast follower in a market that moves faster than you can follow; do you follow?

Anyway, Android is now adding true multitask capabilities, a better than ever PND (personal navigation device) performance – with accessories and all – as well as a notification panel that keeps you in control of what you want to be notified about, when, and how. Personalization – which is really tough to do on the iPhone – is what’s new! Of course most contenders will catch up with features, but one has to analyze the cultures behind each device to understand what’s really the key and what markets they will appeal to.

Apple, of course is the “I control everything” culture. I have the best designers in the world, and I have apps, music, and all, so the end-to-end experience is Applesque all the time. Things usually work seamlessly well and when problems arise, they usually get fixed before the people get unrest. I call that the Emperor culture.

RIM, on the other hand is also end-to-end, but it is clearly a messaging centric company. Email is their roots and will never compromise the ability to input text the way God intended it, with a real keypad feel. Its OS is solid, secure, light, and simple to use. A true “Executive” style culture.

Nokia is a mass marketer. A phone for every liking is their strength. How can they have 50% market share otherwise? They have keyboards, touch screens, small, big, medium all colors, etc. This is a bit confusing for power users and it does limit their ability to have a comprehensive set of apps that can cover all those phones. They are a true mass pleaser and not too enthusiastic with the powers; a socialist if you will.

Microsoft, well, what can we say about our friends from Redmond? Are you a PC? then you know what i mean. There are probably more applications written and running for Windows Mobile than any other OS out there (the majority of them are quite nichy – for warehouses, UPS drivers, etc.), since a big number of developers is familiar with the .net framework and the mobile version called Compact Framework (CF) is similar enough in style. When more than one app is running at the same time they tend to step on each other. Unfortunately, most don’t work well, the OS has to be rebooted a couple of times a week, and it takes forever to start, especially if you have lots of apps. True Anarchy!

Android is different because Google is different. Each manufacturer that uses Android will have the ability to tailor the phones to their brand and service provider. Google will provide some common elements and APIs to minimize chaos. They will manage the app store which in a way will help apps run across products in a slightly more organized fashion. Of course, not every device will be perfect, but they will all live in harmony. Users will perceive commonalities giving them the “Googlesque” identity but each with its own personality. Just like a democracy.

Of course, Democracies have prevailed throughout the course of history and some lucky monarchies have survived if nothing else for the amusement of the tourists.




4 Comments on Android’s ways to win over users

  1. Marshanskiy on Fri, 18th Dec 2009 3:42 pm
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  5. lfllmg on Mon, 4th Jan 2010 6:45 pm
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  7. lfllmg on Mon, 4th Jan 2010 6:46 pm
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