Two pieces of bad news for various tech companies recently. First, Samsung’s quarterly reports show lower quarterly income for the first time in two years.
This should be very concerning if you are invested in the Android ecosystem. Samsung rode the wave of being the “iPhone for people who didn’t want an iPhone”. But, they have never been great at innovation. Their “added” features aren’t valued by consumers.
So, they have to stand out through hardware. But at some point, other manufacturers can catch up with big screens and other specs. Then the only point of differentiation to an end user is the price. And Chinese manufacturers are already out-speccing Samsung and beating them on price.
For the end consumer, this appears to be a good thing. You will get hardware at cheaper. However, for manufacturers this means a race to the bottom. Consumers don’t appreciate small details and will just look for the cheapest phone. So, you use cheaper plastic. You start adding junk ware programs that are sponsored and the makers pay you to include.
All of this happened to the PC market years ago. No manufacturer could differentiate on features after a certain point. Plus, all the Operating Systems were the same, some flavor of Windows, just like all these phones run Android. So the only thing to do is go cheap.
How many of you enjoy using a 299 laptop? Exactly. But very few people justified buying a super expensive Vaio or Lenovo. Which is why both of those parent companies spun off those branches of their companies.
We are going to see more and more cheap devices and some fall out in the Android Phone industry as a result. Certainly, this means more wide adoption of Android devices, but how many of those users will buy apps, which support a flourishing app ecosystem? Its hard to make money giving away your product.
Second, Apple is selling fewer iPads that expected. This is a problem in that for growth, the company needs something to be the next iPhone. There are arguments about whether this is true – in that you can just keep updating iPhones, but for “investment” types growth is sexy.
I have an iPad, but I have also told almost all my friends they do not need one. The limitations are just too great to use it as a laptop replacement. The one-app-at-a-time problem is real. Think about your desktop right now. I bet you have more than one window open. You have your web browser, a mail client, a music player, probably a document/spreadsheet of some sort, and maybe a twitter client open.
Sure, you can have those running on an tablet, but switching between them is tedious compared to a laptop. And having both open to compare or copy/paste between is impossible.
I think many consumers hoped these tablets would be a cheap way to replace their laptop. Upon discovering the limitations, they quickly ran back to the computers, relegating tablets to third device status – behind their computer for productivity and their phone for always accessible updates.