As smartphones sales push out dumb phones, consumers offer an increasingly powerful mini-computer inside their pockets — shifting the main focus from hardware to software and apps, much like PCs shifted decades ago. There comes a point where hardware is “fast enough,” where consumers need not ponder whether their smartphones can run the apps they really want. Once that time hits, people won’t care about the constituents. Instead, they’ll care about the brand, along with the apps and services available.
5yrs ago, the range of smartphones was wide. Not merely did buyers have to go with a carrier, and also power, features, camera, Ipod, everything. Phone makers touted amazing features, largely in the way of hardware improvements — including better cameras, better screens, slimmer designs.
Then Apple and Google got into the picture. Smartphones got faster, and suddenly there are platforms for developers to make third-party apps. Consumers started caring that iOS stood a better browser or iTunes, or Android had Google Apps and futuristic augmented reality glasses.
Software to square Out
As smartphones advance, fragmentation is converging. And that is learning to be a problem for hardware makers. The truth is companies think it is harder to stand out of the crowd. Their phones all run a similar platform, albeit several minor tweaks. So what’s the difference?Android makers, like LG, HTC and Samsung, faced a dilemma — once you all run Android, how can you stick out? Some companies have resorted to hardware gimmicks like 3D screens, 3D cameras and 3D sound. But you know what? Consumers didn’t care, and those products flopped.
Perennial successes know that system — does it run Android 4.0 or 2.3? — and the brand — the Galaxy vs. the Droid — draw in customers. Maybe some still value the heart, yet it’s under a several years ago. As long as the hardware is “fast enough,” consumers care less regarding the variety of colors on the watch’s screen, or megapixels on the camera — as long as it runs Angry Birds.
Consumers choose their phones depending on the platform along with the apps available — which is the heart from the Apple/Google battle. Control of your computer in your pocket, comparable to Microsoft dominates laptop in your desk.
If you’re accustomed to Apple’s interface, otherwise you require that iPhone-only app, you will end up more unlikely to get Android. And vice versa.
Apps Drive Smartphone Success
This is exactly why Apple and Google dominate, and why HP and RIM tried so desperately, without success, to penetrate the smartphone market with WebOS along with the PlayBook. It isn’t really that their hardware was bad — actually, they sported one of the most advanced components during the time.
The problem was much deeper. Consumers didn’t purchase for them because their platforms did not have as numerous apps as Apple and Google. And developers weren’t creating apps for the children concerning were very few users. It’s actually a software Catch-22 that ultimately forced both companies to shut down their mobile operations — not hardware.
As further evidence, Android makers concern yourself with Google entering the smartphone market featuring its own Google phone. Google has repeatedly said it is not going to play favorites, but that hasn’t stopped them from beefing up their services. Android makers understand they’re linked with Google’s hip, for better or worse, then one move can doom them — because Google wants something play, integrating Google Search, Gmail and Google Maps, while tracking that you better target advertising.
The Google Phone
Frankly, if Google makes a unique phones, it’ll contract to a person like Foxconn, a company many electronics giants user to create its products. However, not everyone integrate services just how Google can.
This happened to PCs decades ago. Remember when you employed to build your own systems? That new video card mattered. That new Intel chip mattered. That new sound card mattered. Then, as hardware got “fast enough,” somewhere over the line, you stopped caring concerning the parts. The large choice became, “Do I need a Mac or PC?” And when you’re looking at PC, “Do I would like HP? Or Dell?”
Windows and Mac fought out. And Microsoft’s “open” approach — anyone who would like to develop for Windows, can — ultimately won. Apple’s “closed” approach — we want to control the design, feel and experience — hindered the number of programs around. Circumstance? It must, because history is repeating itself.
The gap now could be Google has replaced Microsoft, nevertheless the shift in consumer taste is the same — hardware didn’t matter for PCs. And it won’t matter for smartphones. (Allen Tsai)
Does hardware really matter, or can it boil down to the OS and apps? Show what you consider.