I’m counting them out anyway!

Don’t count out the iPad competitors

According to Adam Ostrow at CNN, we should not be counting out the iPad competitors.  On some level, I agree.  It’s good to have competitors, otherwise things would get boring.  However, let’s put things into a little perspective, shall we?

To quote Adam:

Fast forward to today and Android smartphones are outselling iPhones, thanks to the multitude of manufacturers now offering devices at a variety of price points — all the way down to free.

If Android outsells, it’s only because it does many BOGO promotions (buy one, get one), or they offer very cheap models that run yesterday’s Android (1.x – < 2.2) – with no ability to upgrade the OS.

The same option does not exist in the Apple world. You can get an iPhone 4 starting at $199 or you can get the 3Gs model for $49. The 3Gs is still a highly capable model, with a halfway decent camera and multi-tasking without stuttering.

So, all that said, why am I counting out the competitors? Let’s list them, shall we?

  1. So far, all true tablet-capable (Honeycomb) Android tablets are non-existent in the market.
  2. Verizon, the big pusher of Android, is now pushing the iPhone 4. Yesterday they allowed pre-orders of the iPhone 4 from current customers and already sold out. In fact, it was “the most successful first day sales in the history of the company.” Really? All those models of fantastic Android phones and not one has ever caused this kind of successful sales day? It’s because Android is for the settlers – you know, the ones who didn’t want to switch to AT&T or figured a touch screen phone was good enough.
    Android is great for techies and tinkerers.
    iPhone is great for REGULAR people, techies, and tinkerers.
  3. According to market research, On Day One, 26 Percent of AT &T Customers Plan to Switch to Verizon for iPhone; Half of Verizon’s BlackBerry, Android Users Plan to PickApple, Toss Existing Devices – Yes, I know. Market research isn’t an exact science, but it’s usually fairly accurate.
  4. Are tablets also going to do BOGOs? Is the only option for a cheap tablet to get a data plan for 2 years? Awesome. Some people will blindly get a data plan they don’t need regularly and then pay data rates for a tablet AND a phone. I suspect this won’t do well, but it’s too early to truly tell.
  5. This isn’t <insert manufacturer here>’s $300 Windows box vs $999+ Mac happening this time around. Apple priced the low-end iPad and caught EVERYONE off guard. Giving the OS away may be advantageous to Google, but giving away the tablets won’t be to Motorola, LG, etc.

I’m not saying some of the competitors won’t do well. I am wondering what the compelling features will be. Android is not as refined as iOS. Sure, it’s “open.” It’s open in the same sense as a bad neighborhood in a city is open. You can put anything you want in that part of the city. Strip clubs, pawn shops, check cashing places. You won’t find those types of things in the better part (or neighboring) of town. iOS is the same way. You have a town watch. Occasionally things get in, but you get rid of those bad elements quickly. Pawn shops are not allowed. That’s just that. We don’t want those stores here.

Rant aside. Let’s see how everything plays out. Adam could be right, but if the Verizon pre-sales and market research study are any indication, people couldn’t wait to get rid of their GoBots (Androids and Blackberries) and get Transformers (iPhone).

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4 Responses to I’m counting them out anyway!

  1. Joe says:

    I think you need to take a look at Honeycomb, it is not vaporware as the Xoom is coming on in just a couple weeks. And people have hands on with it. The innovation is decent, the widgets with live snipits of the most important information from the apps of my choosing is a good idea, the notification system for apps that have processes running in the background is also good. Sorry but having all notifications as pop ups that stop me from what i am doing and force me to address them is not a good notification system.

    Also, the use of the extra screen space to introduce a conextual menu bar is good idea aswell, might as well use the space. Apple needs to split development, many advances make sense for a tablet and not on a phone. To continue to force them to parallel each other is silly and lazy!

  2. RJVC says:

    In the choice is between a Soviet-style monopoly and an open-source device the open source will inevitably win. Apple has its cache, but its market in PC’s & laptops is tiny because of the closed OS. The i-phone was a pioneer built on the i-pod platform, but android will swamp it. Same with the i-pad. Apple (under Jobs leadership) has always been an innovator and leader, but his my-way-or-the-highway approach limits the market. When you demand that all sales go through your store you are using your proprietary hardware to boost a monopoly: in the long run you run into anti-trust laws, as Microsoft, IBM and Intel can all attest.

    In order to preserve market share the $700 i-pad will have to compete with $300 android pads with the same functionality. Just as Apple had to go to Verizon it will have to defend its current monopoly against android, BlackBerry and MS.

    I’m not predicting the loss of its leadership position for Apple, but before any of these completing platforms enter the market it is premature to predict about any platform’s dominance.

    Apple is currently scrambling to fend off competitors who are not even in the market. Maybe they will win, but more likely they will lose. After all Apple has no monopoly on innovation, and price is always a critical selling point when the offered features are similar.

  3. Take To Task says:

    @RJVC — I disagree with many of your statements and it’s ok that we agree to disagree.

    After all Apple has no monopoly on innovation

    Perhaps not, but they are the only ones to employ it in the computer world. Nothing innovative comes out of the other camps. Sure, they copy Apple and then make swivel/fold screens on laptops and call that innovative. Where were the innovative minds at Google making a secret tablet? That’s right — they weren’t. At best, Google was COPYING Blackberry until Apple showed the world what a smart phone should really be.

    In the choice is between a Soviet-style monopoly and an open-source device the open source will inevitably win.

    So… who is the soviet-style monopoly? Oh. You mean Microsoft, where your only “choice” is Microsoft. When you choose Apple, you’re choosing to not be Microsoft. There’s your choice — Apple or Microsoft (and now Google, HP, and others). As for the comparison of open source to others where the end result is open source being the winner, let me know how that has worked out for EVERY variant of Linux compared to Apple or Microsoft. Right… it still hasn’t.

    Open source guys saying they’re stuff is better and will win is like the guy who insults your car and, while his car may be faster, it’s on his driveway, with cinder blocks where tires should be (…and as soon as he gets it running…)

    In order to preserve market share the $700 i-pad will have to compete with $300 android pads with the same functionality. Just as Apple had to go to Verizon it will have to defend its current monopoly against android, BlackBerry and MS.

    Nothing like spinning some numbers. The iPad starts at $500, so using $700 to just to make a case really doesn’t help yours any. The Androids may have the same functionality, but that doesn’t mean it’s just as easy to use. Open source guys LOVE specs and don’t understand why regular people can’t figure out how to use them. The iPad actually crosses all boundaries. Works for the common person — can be hacked by the geeks. Oh, and are you still counting those Chinese variants of Android that have taken everything to do with “Android” out of the equation? Not sure you can count those, but hey, don’t let me stop you from comparing $1999 iPads to $49 Chinese android tabs.

    Apple’s philosophy is simple — KISS — Keep It Simple Stupid. The iPad should just work without having to mod it, hack it, etc… and it does. Are there people who want extra functionality? Sure, and they know how to do it.

    Lastly, payments through ONE store is the brilliance. How many *REGULAR* people are good at keeping track of usernames and passwords… and what credit cards they have stored at what online stores? I’m a tech guy and even I’m uncomfortable with that. So, having my purchase info in ONE place — that’s good for me.

    P.S. I notice you keep using the term monopoly, but you’re using it incorrectly. Apple has no monopoly on anything. That’s like saying Toyota has a monopoly on all their Toyota vehicles.

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