- 5 Billion Mobile Subscribers
- Ultimately all 5 billions of these subscribers will be buying a smartphone. Some people will buy two so it could be more. While I really like my iPhone, in a market of this size a lot of people won’t agree. Some won’t like its price, others its size, , some won’t buy because of a missing feature(s), and the list goes on . I think you will be hard pressed to find a non-niche market (>300 million units) in the tech consumer space where a single product dominates.
- Calling a Game in the 1st Inning
- The smartphone revolution has only started — their are only a few hundred million devices out there. Drawing conclusions on the hardware diversity strategy at this stage is like calling a baseball game in the 1st inning with the score 2-1. The hardware diversity strategy takes many years to fully play out.
- To suggest that the hardware accessory market won’t develop because of hardware diversity seems is wrong. Samsung sold 10M Galaxy Android devices in about six months and the accessory vendors jumped on board.
- Big Bang vs. Constant Drumbeat
- iPhone takes the big bang approach to marketing. A single big launch every year a frenzied build-up. For most people who don’t follow technology that big Apple event quickly fades from memory after a day or two – they simply don’t keep this stuff top of mind. Whereas the marketing power of Android and Windows Phone is a constant drumbeat in TV, web, radio, billboards, etc. The aggregate marketing spend of the hardware vendor, mobile OS provider, and carrier is going to be huge.
- How People Buy Phones
- How techies buy phones is very different then normal people. Head to a Verizon or AT&T store in Waukegan, IL and watch how normal people buy phones. That will give you a sense of how normal people make phone purchasing decisions. If they see a huge and sexy Windows Phone display and the sales guy is talking up the Windows Phones’, normals are going to play around with a few of the Windows Phones and buy one of them.
Additionally, Android and Windows Phone are not using the exact same strategies. Android is taking a hardware AND software diversity strategy – they allow their hardware partners to layer on custom user experiences. This is a dangerous long term strategy as users never mentally develop brand affinity towards a single user experience. Whereas, Microsoft is only employing a hardware diversity strategy, and even there its taking on a slightly different form than Android. Specifically, Windows Phone hardware specs are very strict compared to Android.