Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category

Inspiration for iOS 7’s Color Palette

June 13, 2013

My-little-pony-friendship-is-magic-mlpfim-wallpaper nicki-minaj-popsicle-1 PowerRangersBigBen red bubblegum machine 463 macaroons

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Why Microsoft Will Bounce Back in 2013

January 3, 2013

Tablet/Ultrabook Market

surface_pro2-100015350-large

The Surface Pro will be a game changer. It provides a strong counter to Apple and Google’s software commoditization strategy. It caters to those who are sick of cheap software on mobile, and quality higher price point software will gradually affect the general public’s ideas of what a tablet user experience should be. Apple and Google and the companies that apply downward pressure on software pricepoints will be at a disadvantage – partially because it goes counter to their business model and partially because their mobile OS’s are not equipped to deal with the tech challenges of running complex software suites that require keyboards and mouse pointers.

I also predict One Note will be the surprise killer app that shows how digital note taking should be done. None of this pretend your fat finger with zero precision is a pen nonsense. If you recall the Courier, it was laid out as a portfolio and note taking potential was probably the most intriguing thing about it.

Smartphone Market

Windows8x_red

IMO Windows Phone 8 makes iOS, BB10, and stock Android look old and outdated. Ecosystem is just getting off the ground, but a strong set of building blocks is there. Live Tiles is the killer feature other OS’s will have to react to once WP8 gains more marketshare. An information-centric OS instead of silo’d apps is the other killer feature.

MS has also learned from past fragmentation mistakes. Rather than totally commoditize smartphone hardware and let a ton of OEM’s degrade the user experience, they’ve come up with strict tech specs and limited WP8 manufacturing to Nokia, HTC, and Samsung. Android is currently making all the mistakes MS did on Windows Mobile.

Ecosystem Building

A win in one of the above markets will strengthen the other and create forward momentum across all markets. Office is already industry standard, esp corporate. Those who are vested in Windows software or Office will be drawn to the Surface Pro and Windows 8. Those that have a Pro will want to use Skydrive to sync to Mobile. Similar to how someone who buys an iPhone then wants an iPad then wants a Mac. The forward momentum and might even strengthen the Windows brand enough to save the Surface RT.

XBox 720

Lip service to what might probably be the best engineered console in the 8th console generation (based on the 7th gen track record). They also have a chance to better integrate disruptive Kinect technology. Software sells hardware on consoles, and MS, like Sony and Nintendo, has strong first party IP.

Android Monetization Problems

Google’s Motorola Phone needs to be a hit in order for Android to keep going. They’re giving away too much for free otherwise. Knowing the only way they make money is when an Android user utilizes a Google service from their phone, here are some commonly known monetization problems they’re facing

  1. Letting Amazon hijack Android for the Kindle Fire, removing everything Google related and reskinning the UI to the point it lacked Android features.
  2. Commoditizing hardware to the point Android is the default OS for cheap smartphones. Android phones grow in volume in countries like India, where people don’t have internet access, so Google makes no money. Notice how cheap Android smartphones have become the replacement for stock limited function phones. Basically Android market penetration doesn’t correlate to Google increasing their revenue.
  3. Regardless of the ubiquity of Android, Google draws 2/3rds of mobile revenue from iOS. That’s ass backwards.
  4. They paid a shit load of money for Motorola so if their Google Phone goes nowhere, they will have pissed off third party manufacturers and shareholders while essentially giving Android away to HW mfg’s as a charity. They really need to enter the smartphone hw market strongly. Otherwise with its pitiful return on investment, Android becomes something they spend money to create only to give away for free

Apple’s Stagnancy Issues

While I’m personally waiting for Apple to enter the TV Market and revolutionize it, they’re becoming stagnant on mobile. The freshness of Live Tiles shows that iOS’s 5 year old app centric UI needs an update. Meanwhile they’ve fragmented their mobile devices to the point the release cycle is no longer predictable. Rumors suggest they’re going to be offering their phones in different colors and screen sizes, which is dumb for the simple fact it’s a step in the direction of commoditizing and driving down the value of their own hardware. There’s a reason Steve Jobs only wanted one color initially and it’s a smart money making business reason they’re starting to ignore.

Why Surface Pro = Game Changer

December 1, 2012

Right now here’s your tablet market:

  1. Premium tablets = Original iPad all the other clones priced at >$500
  2. Budget tablets = Kindle Fire, Nook, and Nexuses priced at $200.  From a market standpoint, these tablets are competing with the iPad primarily based on price
  3. Mid-range tablets = iPad Mini with a $350 pricepoint.  Apple is in the process of creating this market through the power of its brand.

The Surface Pro introduces a something new – an ultrapremium market with a $1000 pricepoint.  Why can it do this?  Because it leverages something that the other markets don’t have – the ability to run both mobile and desktop ecosystems on one device.

Up to this point, your mobile devices have either had a mobile ecosystem (iPads with iOS) or a desktop ecosystem (Tablet PC’s running XP Touch or Win 7).  The latter is a big joke – skinning a Touch UI and forcing a tablet to pretend it’s a desktop.  The former works but has drawbacks.

The biggest drawback to the mobile ecosystem is the software on it sucks compared to the software on desktops.  I’m sure a lot of people with iPads have wondered, hmmm I wonder if I can use my iPad to do X application, only to find that either

  1. There’s no app for it
  2. There’s an app for it but it’s crippled compared to its desktop equivalent
  3. There’s an app for it but you have to jump through hoops just to do the simplest things

So a company that attempts to fix this problem has leverage over existing tablet makers.  There are economic reasons for mobile software being so crappy and I’ll get into it in another post but if you want the gist of it, go read my post on why Apple Will Never Kill Nintendo.

By merging both the mobile ecosystem and with the desktop ecosystem, Microsoft is solving this problem and creating something new.   A tablet that can offset the crummy software on mobile with the option to use desktop quality software.

Here are the tablets of the past and present:

  • Tablet PC’s and Win 7 Slates = Desktop ecosystem forced on tablet HW
  • iPad, Fire, Nexus, Nook = Mobile ecosystem on a tablet, but since it’s mobile only, and mobile software has turned into a budget market, you’re stuck with all the limitations of an ecosystem that can produce a million flashlight apps but not one word processor with an equation editor
  • Surface RT = same thing as the iPad without any leverage over it except a crippled version of MS Office, which is why it’s dumb
  • Surface Pro = Mobile and Desktop ecosystems on a tablet for the first time ever, and you can correct the deficiencies of one by switching to the other

The biggest limitation for desktop ecosystem deployment on a tablet is the absence of a keyboard and mouse.  The iPad has you “solve” the keyboard problem by lugging around a bluetooth keyboard (AKA piece-mealing your own tablet hybrid).  Apple was never able to “solve” the mouse problem since it eliminated the pointer from iOS.  So if you run an iOS Word Processing program like Pages, which is based on a desktop UI, you end up having to lift your hand every 10 sec to poke the screen, which is retarded.  That trackpad/keyboard type cover solves this problem rather elegantly I think.  It’s integrated in the system, it doesn’t get in the way, it doesn’t add much bulk but it adds 100% desktop functionality.

So what is the Pro?  People are saying you should be comparing it to ultrabooks, blah blah blah but you really shouldn’t  It’s an entirely new type of product.  There’s nothing out there that’s merged desktop with mobile on a slate form factor and has the marketing power behind it to alter the current market.  This is a first.

Which means if Microsoft is successful, it’ll be creating a brand new product space.   I call it the Ultrapremium submarket but who knows what people will call it.

What is Apple Trying to Do with the iPad Mini?

October 24, 2012

People are saying the iPad Mini is overpriced and can’t compete with the $200 Kindle, $150 Nook, and $200 Nexus.

They’re right.  It can’t compete with those budget tablets.  But what makes you think it’s supposed to compete with them in the first place?

Right now there are two tablet submarkets – the Premium Market, dominated by the iPad, and a budget market, dominated by those $200 tablets.

If you want to know what Apple is trying to do with the iPad Mini, all you gotta do is look at what they did with their other mobile device that had the name Mini.

AKA the iPod Mini

Back then there was a Premium market for MP3 Players, dominated by the iPod Classic and a budget market, dominated by $30-50 MP3 players.  Apple released the iPod Classic first and captured the Premium market.  Then they released the iPod Mini.  The iPod Mini didn’t compete with the budget market.  Instead its purpose was to grow the overall MP3 player market by creating a midrange market.  And that it did.  Only after the market was maximized into 3 submarkets (Premium, Midrange, Budget) did Apple release their budget solution, the Shuffle.

So Apple’s strategy:

  1. Release a Premium Product, blow up an existing market and capture Premium marketshare
  2. Release a Midrange Product, create a Midrange market where none existed, growing the overall market, and capture Midrange marketshare
  3. Release a Budget Product and go after the Budget market

This iPad Mini is step 2.  Everyone who’s complaining thinks it’s step 3