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Love your analysis.

It is probably true (where is HTC in that chart?) that there's little money in someone else's platform when the differentiator is the software .

One point though: at the end you seem to be suggesting that a sizable R&D budget is required to innovate and that it necessarily has to come from the current profits.

I would argue that Apple innovated on top of BSD with virtually no cash and built a healthy share in the mobile market with no previous exposure to it.

I see why it is improbable but not why it is impossible for Motorola or HTC to embrace Meego or Android as a starting point, fork it and rapidly innovate on top of it.

Kostas


"The economic consequences of the Android approach are also dubious, as Horace Dediu concisely pointed out. It leads to a low-margin, bargain basement culture."  

As Android doesn't generate hardware sales for Google they are focused on market share so the more cheap phones go out there the better as it will drive their search / internet business. Apple doesn't focus on market share but premium market share which is very profitable for them. I really wonder why Motorola would go with android were they so weak ? what are they left with technologically now as main point of their phonese comes from someone else? I can see them becoming 2nd rate forever in mobile a shame as i really liked their Razr and still use one that is 3 years old (and 5 year old design). HTC and LG ... are already 2nd rate so why would they care.

"The economic consequences of the Android approach are also dubious, as Horace Dediu concisely pointed out. It leads to a low-margin, bargain basement culture."  

As Android doesn't generate hardware sales for Google they are focused on market share so the more cheap phones go out there the better as it will drive their search / internet business. Apple doesn't focus on market share but premium market share which is very profitable for them. I really wonder why Motorola would go with android were they so weak ? what are they left with technologically now as main point of their phonese comes from someone else? I can see them becoming 2nd rate forever in mobile a shame as i really liked their Razr and still use one that is 3 years old (and 5 year old design). HTC and LG ... are already 2nd rate so why would they care.

Rostant Ramlochan


For all the obvious reasons, I know why you did not mention WebOS and Palm. However HP does have a history of figuring out the user experience thing (their printer and imaging group). Having a Palm Pre and iPhone 3G, the iOS is still better at the overall UI than WebOS but I find WebOS to be a better OS than Android.

Matthew Morris


Fair point about the omission, Matthew. WebOS is terrific, and the hardware isn't too shabby. But WebOS and Palm are still handicapped by the decision to appoint an exclusive carrier for each territory. Even Apple's dropped that now. So most people never get a chance to see it.


Good read, except for one part:

"I've been actively using S60 for much of the past eight years, and I still had to consult the manual recently (when reviewing the X6<http://www.reghardware.com/2010/02/01/nokia_x6_comeswithmusic/>) to find out where Nokia has stuffed a particular setting this year. I don't think this is something a newcomer to BlackBerry or iPhone has ever had to do. Nokia and Sony Ericsson - the two dauphins of smartphones ten years ago - have cranked out some really impressive hardware over the past decade, which often succeeded in spite of the user experience, not because of it."

As someone actively involved in IT operations and support for my customers, I can safely say that every single model of a RIM device that my organization supports has differences in locations of things (even when the same model is present on multiple carriers, each carrier has made specific modifications to the OS and navigational paths to certain features).  So much different, in fact, that even common things like configuring external mail accounts is no longer included in the PDF version of User Guides available from RIM's site.

Cases in point:

-       I was trying to help a colleague today troubleshoot a POP email account on a Tour (9630).  Downloaded the user guide, and email settings are no longer part of the documentation (they'll tell you how to compose messages, though).

-       Two days ago, I was helping troubleshoot a BES synchronization problem with a new Torch (9800).  The hard reset/factory defaults configuration is accessed than the 9700 that I helped someone else reset a week prior.

-       From the admin side, in the BES/BPS world, every time RIM releases a new device, you have to update the device.xml and vendor.xml files to the BES instruct the server on how to handle the flavor of the week.  I've had to perform this updates on various customer servers in the last few months when my customers have gotten the Bold, Storm 2, and Torch devices.  So much for standardization.

RIM suffers from the same problem that the automaker GM suffers from-product lineup bloat.  There were are so many editions and versions that it's easier just to choose something NOT RIM than to try to sift through the piles of manuals and different menu steps to achieve the same thing from device to device.

[name withheld]

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