The mobile web…

Been a terrible blogger lately. Just been too busy to actually blog. I guess that is a good thing in some ways. If this was my job of course I would get an F but it is not. I have a day job and lots of side projects. I wish blogging was more of a focus for me but right now I am the doing mode more than the talking mode. Such is life. If only I could be daringfireball

Been traveling like mad and finally in Singers for a bit to focus on a few things. What I have been noticing lately is the whole world focused on mobile and it makes sense since most of us live life to be untethered. People always complain about Blackberry users and how they are always on their handhelds but I always counter – better to be on the BB than to be at the office. Sure it is a trade-off but one I love dealing with since I can work from anywhere I want. I can travel or sit at the coffee shop and I am still “working”. Such is life. I don’t mind.

I had a person grab my BB the other day and try touching the screen. I almost died laughing – there is this assumption that all phones are touch screen. Now tell me Jobs has not changed the world?

Mobile will be big – but what will it look like? If you subscribe to the valley view of the world – I call this VVOW – phones will all have touchscreens and behave like smartphones. Makes sense but if you look at the emerging markets view of the world the spheres of nexus and iphone are just too expensive. Take a tour of jakarta versus singapore to see this painfully demonstrated. The carriers in singapore all competed to offer the best iphone deals and plans. It worked. iphones are everywhere. Hop on a plane to jakarta and you will see tons of blackberries and nokias – the rare iphone from time to time but not many. In jakarta you don’t ask for a phone number you ask for someone’s BB pin number. Having an iphone makes you look almost out of touch.

Apple seems to do amazingly well where the Apple brand is strong, there is a presence of Apple stores and great carrier deals. Take that away and the iphone is largely invisible. Android is making a dent by giving away developer phones and by working with local carriers but in places like jakarta you don’t see too many nexus ones. Usually people always ask to see mine cause they wonder what the hell it is. This may change but not at the current pricing levels but once the players like Nexian start to adopt Android I think you will see it make some huge waves. Losers will be BB and Nokia. Not sure Apple will ever make a huge dent in Indonesia until the pricing models drastically change.

I was at a lunch the other day with another big phone vendor discussing their new Android phone. I was asking the marketing team what they hoped they could accomplish or who might be the ultimate user of their new phone. They simply said they hoped consumers might trade in their iphone for it. I almost choked on my lunch since we all know that no one trades in their iphone. Palm tried that line of marketing and it seemed to fail – but I guess HP took the bait. Phone makers of the world wanting to have iphone love and getting it are two different things. No Android phone is going to dent iphone – not going to happen. Now possibly you could make a phone that a user of some lame ass phone decides to trade up to and takes your phone over the iphone but my guess is it will be over price and incentives. Knowing they want the iphone more but yet not wanting to spend that kind of money. Note to phone people – simplify your message and your models or you won’t ever get a shot at the champion – Apple. Various layering strategies on top of MSFT, Android and so on won’t get you there. Closed is controlled – deal with it.

I am not sure where things will go but I have some feelings.

  • Apple will carve out the top of the smartphone or computer as handheld market. I don’t see anyone making a dent in that in the neartime. They will have to make a serious mistake or screw up the app ecosystem but for now they are killing it
  • Android. I have a nexus one. It is slick and interesting as a nerd but it won’t replace iphone envy. Not this model anyway. Big problem for me is I love itunes and Google has no real strategy to combat that. However in emerging markets Android might be unstoppable since it is free but the various OS versions running around won’t help the app ecosystem. Let’s see how the carriers deal with it but also come to grips with Google’s growing (competitive) dominance.
  • Nokia. My first mobile phone maker. How could you rollover and die so easily? Nokia may take the middle but this is not a place to be. The low-end from China using Android is going to take over. Smartphones are not interesting coming from Nokia but they could be. They are in trouble and need a serious reboot.
  • Blackberry is still going to have a spot but I think it will wane over time. People want touchscreens and BB has not done well at that. Corporate will keep handing out BB’s like candy but with Apple’s new universal inbox and the Android team working on a BB killer – I think Canada’s finest is in trouble. They should sell to MSFT.
  • MSFT. don’t make me laugh. 3 phone OS’s now? The kin or the ‘da kine or the well… Whatever the new kiddie phone is. Then there is the Zune phone. I thought Zune was dead? Statement of fact – I have never seen a Zune in my life. Serious. Then the old mobile phone OS that guys like LG and Samsung are popping out faster than fields on Farmville. MSFT – can you guys get a strategy, execute and replace Ballmer? Thanks.
  • Palm/HP. I love you both dearly. Put the ipad lust aside for a quarter or 2 and build an amazing phone. Rethink the model, make it sexy, and full of web love. You can do it. Bill and Dave will thank you.

Samsung, LG, Motorola and others. Good luck. You guys seem to only care about volume and this is where you blow it. You product too many me to models and have nothing to differentiate with. Sure I might pick on up on a road trip at the 7/11 to have a local sim but would I actually go phone shopping looking  for your brand? No. Not many of my friends would either. Motoroal already realized that doing Android is the deal with devil and bought some LinuxOS vendor. Yawn. Linux on the phone is for Stalmmanesque folks – not the real world. LG – Samsung – I honestly don’t know what to say other than I guess there is money to be made on the low-end but I think the “brand” players are going to give you a rough time at the top.

Okay. Phone rant over.

Going to go study the Android dev kit some more.

🙂

4 thoughts on “The mobile web…

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