Tag Archives: HTC

Songs in the key of Technology

Yesterday saw an article in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/03/pixel-2-google-apple-iphone-htc-pixel-2-xl), with ‘what does Google need to do if it wants to beat Apple’s iPhone?‘ which is one way of looking away from what is actually happening. You see, with the opening part on how Google ‘could become big player in smartphone-making with acquisition of part of HTC and forthcoming Pixel 2 launch’ is merely the front for something a lot bigger. You see, for a year Huawei had an optional advantage towards Google whilst the one advantageous player (read: Apple) wasted their time on iteration and presentation, perhaps only partially on innovation and marketing the hell out of an event that will happen in December (read: the iMac pro). Now the gap is closing and with the HTC part Google has stepped into the space where it can compete with Huawei on an upcoming £30-45 billion market. A new market that is about to happen. Whilst everyone is playing with themselves on how some of these people are ‘rulers of the universe‘, or so they think, Google now is moving on the inside track to take that market and at least three niche markets, which will give them a long term advantage. You see, Apple might be number one, the largest and the richest, but the danger of the number one is that you need to make sure you comprehend what numbers 2, 3 and optionally the player in position 4 is doing and Apple seems to have lost track of that part. Now they are in a place where they lose one edge and as such they might remain number one, but the players in position 2 and optionally the one in the third position will be closing the advantage gap that Apple had and had been making them complacent in their actions. Now, we will wait, living on conjecture and gossip as we will get to live with 15 months of movement below the surface of the waters. For those on the sidelines, it will be like watching a submarine race, a real spectator sport (read: not really). Now we get to the accusation in regards to what Samuel Gibbs is writing about. With: “it can pull off the one thing other Android smartphone manufacturers have struggled with: differentiation” it is staging that Google is not differentiated, which might be true to some respect, but in another regard he fails to see what truly matters to the millions of users. It is actually very simple: “To give the people, the users what they desire”, so basically something pretty amazing at an affordable price. We see his claim of ‘homogenous sea of sameness‘ (it does sound cool though) whilst these same styled writers seemed to price Apple for consistency for the longest of times. What he fails to see is that this homogenous ocean creates users, users that know what they are getting and they know the value of Android (well many seem to do that). So after the age of VHS, MSDOS and MP3, where it was to get as many people as possible to adapt a standard, it suddenly becomes about ‘being different‘? No, that is not the way it is played! You see, the market Tata lost, the market Apple ignored and that same market that Huawei is waking up to, is the one that is now almost within the grasp of Google and it can potentially grow the value of Google not overnight mind you) up towards a growth of 40%-70%, that is almost unheard of and we have not seen such spectacular growth since Windows 95 was introduced. That is the key of technology that we are about to face and ballads will be composed to those creators when it hits us all.

In this I equally oppose Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight. With “The Achilles heel of Android at the moment is that software updates take forever. Unlike Apple where it controls everything, you’ve got to go through the device manufacturer, and be approved by the network operator, which means it takes ages to get services and experiences out there.” He knows that he is (as I personally see it) misinforming you. All the Android hardware makers have used Android and then tweaked it for their optimisation. So when the new versions came, we all had to wait, because these makers preferred to sell new phones, not update old ones. In addition the workforce needed to truly test new android versions and test and update all the elements were not in place either. As I see it, Samsung, Motorola, Huawei and other Android facilitators should all be regarded the same and as I see it, people like Ben Wood know that, they literally can’t ‘not know’ it. So as we see the hidden Apple tweet in their story, they are missing on the fact that Android, or perhaps we would soon call it Cyborg (or Android plus) will potentially crush Apple as it goes past the stratosphere. In this, how do I know it? Well, to be honest I cannot say that for certain, yet the lull in the patent registration department is a little less loud. So it might still come, but with the time lap we see under those conditions, I would speculate that Apple is already slow, too slow to that punch, which gives the larger players (Google and Huawei) now an edge they have not had before.

So as I see the end of the article with “In doing so the Pixel could also be Google’s stake in the ground. A demonstration of what the best of Google can really do that is as much a statement as a product”, it seem like a filtered version of what we might be seeing after the Pixel 2 comes. The grounds are already starting to shift, the question becomes who will attend the changed surface and which of these players are ready to show what the other players were too slow or even worse nowhere near to address. There will not be any ‘defection’ or people dropping there IOS device, yet the growth that comes is almost a certainty, which will vocally set another motion. That changed motion would be: “Every IOS user has an Android device, but not every Android user has an IOS device”. The moment that happens, and it is a realistic shift, it is at that point that the people in the higher echelons start realising that believing ones marketing and moving the borders of true innovation are not the same thing. Going for a market with a Pro device priced at 40% more whilst not giving the people that much more power is not innovation, it is iteration, an expensive lesson that Apple might end up learning the hard way. I wonder if I end up being proven wrong. We are less than 18 months away from that moment.

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Trolls are real

No, this is not an episode of Grimm, where we see the Hässlich as they collect their fee. This is not the case of David Giuntoli, beheading reapers and taking care of the trolls. This is today, the trolls are real and the fee goes up by hundreds of millions. This is the case of SMARTFLASH LLC, et al. v. APPLE, INC., et al. The article was from Cnet, but I got wind of it through EpicTimes. All this got to blows not because of the amount, but because this issue has been allowed to fester for well over two decades. The issue takes a legal leap into the unknown, which is still unmanaged at present. The questions that we have to pose is in two parts.

  1. Is this a festering scene?

You see, it is nice for Apple to cry wolf, but is it a valid scene of the crying?  The fact is that Smartflash LLC has 7 patents, the first one filed Oct 25, 2000, with a Foreign Application Priority date (UK) of Nov 25th 1999, and this makes it a patent that was filed before the initial release of Apple’s iTunes, which was January 9th, 2001.

The Apple response we see (at http://www.cnet.com/news/apple-ordered-to-pay-533-million-over-alleged-itunes-patent-infringement/)

“Smartflash makes no products, has no employees, creates no jobs, has no U.S. presence, and is exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented. We refused to pay off this company for the ideas our employees spent years innovating and unfortunately we have been left with no choice but to take this fight up through the court system”, so let’s take a look at the slightly empty response as I see it:

Makes no products‘, is not a prerequisite for a patent;

Has no employees‘, is also not an issue, someone filed for this case and someone filed for a patent. Whether this is an employee is not an issue;

Exploiting our patent system to seek royalties for technology Apple invented‘, is slightly moot. The patent was filed before iTunes existed, hence, we could argue that Apple did not invent what they did, the latter statement is an incorrect one, but I will return to this.

Now let me rephrase the Apple statement in a very unflattering way: “Smartflash had an original idea, the idea was not novel because this is the direction the world was moving to”. This notion was a clear given ever since day two that Napster got active. The people understanding these technologies would innovate and come up with ideas. Unlike me, who  was a Patent Virgin in 1999 (and unaware of the power they hold) would see that the future is all about IP, so some of these people would file the ideas and they would stick. Now we see that Apple might have reinvented the wheel, but reinvention is no invention at all. It becomes a license and Smartflash LLC only had to wait for their chooks to grow and grow. Now pay day has arrived.

So as we go back to the initial part, questions come to mind. Questions many (including Apple) might not want an answer to, because the answer might be a lot scarier than we all imagine. You see, in previous blogs I discussed the dangers of a faltering and collapsing economy, because those in charge remained too flaccid to actually act on issues. The consequence is that if a monetary system collapses, what will replace it? In my view, the new currency for any corporation and government is Intellectual Property. If that is true, than those who own the property will become the new true wealth.

This makes Patrick Racz a visionary of massive fortune, if we see the first fee that Apple will end up paying, what will happen to the next step? What will the Samsung invoice become? Beyond that, Apple now has a choice to make, the entire DRM future is now no longer in the hands of the large industrials, so that coin will be making massive waves soon enough.

So where is the festering part? Well, Patent Trolls are not a new group. This ‘valid’ group has existed since the early 90’s. So over the last two decades, this groups had not been dealt with. The valid question becomes, should Patent Trolls be dealt with? You see, patents get bought all the time, someone goes bankrupt, the patent is bought, perhaps sold by a bank trying to limit its losses. This market evolved, because the issue as is, is that corporate ‘losses’ due to patent trolling has been exceeding 20 billion a year from 2010 onwards. So, why not act against trolling?

The question becomes is it wrong to be a troll? The Hässlich might disagree if we say yes. The fact is that those with the novel idea, might not have the means to pursue the real deal. So they might want to file their original idea. To give you an example, which you might not believe, is that I came up with the idea around 1994. Now, it could be seen as a DPod (Data Pod), my idea was not in that direction, you see. In my past I was confronted with the ‘joke’, that was known as a tape streamer. It was a backup solution that never properly worked in households. So I had the idea to make the Minidisc a backup device. To connect it to computers, so that we could copy files, the Minidisc looked like a 3.5″ floppy, but could hold hundreds of megabytes. It could have evolved the need for diskettes and it would have propelled data halve a decade earlier. I would have been decently wealthy. So, I should have patented the idea (although, in those days I did not realise I could). So as such, Patrick Racz was the clever one. Yet, in view of all this, did Apple lag? That becomes the cornerstone in all this. Does it matter? Is a more apt question. A patent was filed, Apple did not do its homework as I see it a cost comes into play.

So now we get a new issue, will Apple et al ‘force’ a change in patenting? Will capping be imposed? All decent questions that are for tomorrow. For today, Apple gets to admire its own armour, which is not as shiny as it was yesterday. I must however state, that I personally do not think that Apple did anything wrong. Now I return to the initial exploiting part I promised to revisit. They came up with an idea and they designed it. In 1370, a Dutchman named Laurens Janszoon Coster came up with an idea, it was the printing press. He came up with the idea around the same time Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg came up with the same idea. They both had similar (not identical) ideas in a time when the need for a cheaper solution was needed. The Dutch and the Germans all state that their citizen discovered the idea, which is fair enough. I think that this is a similar situation. In all fairness it seems to me that the patent system did not allow for such a situation, it does not make it right or wrong, the situation just is. In a land (US) where it is all about number one, it must now bite that this patent is in hands of a non-American. So as we realise that any system is flawed, is it flawed enough? If patents are about innovation, are the little people the solution? I have always believed that true innovation will survive, big companies will need to consider the age old situation, having the person with the ‘nice’ PowerPoint, does not mean that they have the innovation.

  1. Is it unmanaged?

Like any legal system, the Patent system is good, but is it good enough? This one case is calling for visibility, but one case does not a change make. If we go back to 2013 we see the following in Forbes (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddhixon/2013/10/04/for-most-small-companies-patents-are-just-about-worthless/). “But, TechCo will need to use a lot of other technology to build and deliver a complete product, e.g., the product design might be protected by a patent, but the manufacturing process might be subject to another company’s “blocking” patent“. Here is the kicker, there has been a lot of noise on how large corporations have the ability to block others. If we accept Business Insider (at http://www.businessinsider.com.au/chart-of-the-day-the-totally-useless-patent-wars-2014-10) “In other words, based on patent cases brought to court by Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia, Motorola, and a host of others, litigation is, more often than not, a serious waste of time and money for all parties involved“. The question is, should the system change? Because these big boys are in disagreement, does not mean that the system should just fall away. Are these patent cases valid to begin with? If we look at the quote “As it turns out, only 20 or the 222 patent assertions (9%) were able to establish liability, but even in that small sample, only 10 of those 20 cases resulted in “lasting injunctive relief.” Mueller says that number would be even smaller if “the patents underlying Nokia’s German injunctions against HTC had come to judgment in the Federal Patent Court.”“. My question is that if the numbers are this skewed, why take it to court in the first place? What was the tactic behind it? Delay? A mere pissing contest or was this about satisfying the need for additional costs? I have no idea, but the result data speaks for itself. Is the score so impressive that pursuing a 10% chance is essential, worth the effort or it is something else?

I do not proclaim to have the answer, but the questions are not getting asked, moreover, the press at large have all quoted Apple on their ‘indignation’, but answer me this, how many papers gave any view, brought any decent quotes from Brad Caldwell apart from the one liner victory? In addition, when we see Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/25/us-ip-apple-verdict-idUSKBN0LT0E720150225), the quote “Apple, which said it would appeal, said the outcome was another reason reform was needed in the patent system to curb litigation by companies that don’t make products themselves“, that sounds nice in theory, but that leaves only the large companies in charge of it all, it takes out the small innovators whilst large corporations are left choking those small innovators for a mere tuppence to get complete control. Patents were never designed to give power to the manufacturers, they were an exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention. However, as the world became all about shore term goals and iterative exploitation, in that regard patents are a massive impropriety to the need of large corporations.

Time will tell what direction the legal industry makes, for now, as Apple and Google are so about non tax accountability, the danger of actual change remains not too large (only for now).

 

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Exploiting mobile users

Is it not amazing that in an age, where we all move into areas where things getting cheaper and cheaper, we see that mobile phones is the one article that remains into the top priced push. Yes, when you move to the post office, or to some ‘budget’ place, the only ‘cheap’ phones are the ones that are the ones that are basically in the bottom part of functionality, phones that have less than 6 months of decent quality usage before Google pushes for more updates, more android and the applications will add towards the maximum RAM.

This is my situation, I got a new phone in 2012, I needed a new one, and the one I bought was ‘decently’ priced at $299. I never regretted buying it. It still has a good screen, I have one game and a few applications, yet over the last two months the push has shown that when I have more than 2 apps running (including the dialler) the lag, the jittery screen, it all starts getting slightly wobbly, so I lock the phone, unlock it, remove all apps except the one I need and it all works fine again. Yet, my phone needs replacing not due to the hardware, but purely due to software. Looking around has been quite the revelation.

Looking at those options, I see that the $99 phones are less and less useful (specifically the smartphones). So as I started to dig, I am seeing a new change. If you want to find the price of a phone, it is often harder and harder to get clear pricing, more important, we can find less and less about how prices were and how the prices devolve.

Is it not strange that there is such an abundance of buy now places, but less and less information on the devices, the price and how long these articles are set to be for? The mobile is the new field for the technological armistice race and there are too many parties willing to make certain that the people cannot be properly informed. You see, this field has evolved for control. In the 90’s and the decade after that, it was relatively simple to get information on what graphic card one needed, which soundcard would be best. But not unlike the gaming industry, the information places are given less and less information. Is it not strange that Ubisoft (a gaming company) did not give a testing sample of Assassins Creed Unity weeks in advance? Especially when literally billions are riding on it? This is at the core of the issue, at the core of some ‘technology’ pages that are less and less information, more and more ‘typed’ marketing, not for their readers, but for the prospective buyers of the product. The media has been changing more and more and many readers remained asleep whilst reading. I must admit that the last description might not be accurate. Many will not realise this faltering until they are confronted with the fact of change (not unlike me).

If you’re looking for a console you can Google ‘PS4 price console’ and you will get pricing information on the very first page, even price drops, all localised. For mobiles it is a jungle out there and no matter how many ‘suddenly’ appear, when you want to look for that actual good deal (like the ZTE ZMAX) you will suddenly find that no one has such a good deal in stock (finding a decent site is also a challenge). They have cheaper (ad therefor useless) smartphones (I will dwell on that shortly) and of course the really ‘up to date ones’ which are not that much better than a ZTE, but will cost you 275% – 450% more. It is all about the money in the end!

You see those who choose Android (like me), will now learn what the cost of alleged abandonment is. (at http://www.zdnet.com/article/google-stops-providing-patches-for-pre-kitkat-webview-abandons-930m-users/), we saw early this week that Google is now stopping the update of the older versions. This means that as we see the headline ‘Google stops providing patches for pre-KitKat WebView, abandons 930 million users‘. This includes the bulk of the people who bought their mobile before Q4 2013. What a fine android web we weave!

You would think that it is a simple matter for updating, don’t you. Well that is not entirely correct. In my case Motorola was pretty decent in giving the information, however, when I press system update, it tells me that I am up to date, so I cannot get beyond 4.1.2 Android. This is now at the heart of several problems.

Who knows what version they are on and more important, when we consider the following text from ZDNet “In other words, the next time a researcher or hacker finds a way to exploit WebView on pre-KitKat Android, Google won’t create a patch for the vulnerability itself. However, if anyone else builds one, Google will incorporate those patches into the Android Open Source Project code“, more important, as long as this is not fixed, an increasing population will be at the mercy of forced upgrades through buying new phones outright, or chaining themselves to a new contract.

There are two sides. In fairness, should Google keep on fixing their ‘flaws’ ad infinitum? Yet on the other side, if my 2 year old mobile is now a security risk, what on earth am I paying for? More important, in this economy we would keep on paying premium just to be connected? The math does not balance out towards the need of the user. So are we witnessing a start from smartphone, back to normal phones? Let’s face it if smartphones are charged to your account and after that abandoned to this extent, what should we do?

Some will push for Apple, but there to some extent, the danger is changed, not necessarily removed. A normal phone will less likely have these issues, or change to the new player. Even though the brand leaves (from past events) a bitter taste in my month, Samsung has taken a new direction with their mobiles called Tizen OS. The following parts are known at present “It is Linux-based platform built from Nokia and Intel’s ditched MeeGo“, open source means many views, so perhaps better patches. The fact that it is Linux based is not bad either. The fact that Tizen is using HTML5, it means that we will get a wave of content that is state of the art, slim and memory efficient (no flash needed). You can look for yourself to some results (at http://www.creativebloq.com/web-design/examples-of-html-1233547), so it seems that the new road that Samsung is taking is also changing the perception that they are getting. From these upgrades, Samsung could evolve from ‘player’ to ‘top contender’. It will definitely bring the fire to the ankles of Apple, which is never a bad idea.

Tizen is not new or just a gimmick, it had been announced before and more important, it has been in development for years, yet with the Google decisions and with the issues that mobile users might be facing sooner rather than later, the timing for Tizen is pretty good and Samsung could benefit greatly, they will get additional benefit as people realise that patches are no longer coming for their less new mobiles, which will hurt consumer confidence.

If you have any doubts then the clarity from Greenbot.com should help. “Google drops Lollipop on November 3rd 2014,  if you have the right device“, which makes us wonder, do I have the right device? “Maybe you don’t have a Nexus phone or tablet. Well, then the situation gets a little murky. If you have a phone purchased in the last year, odds are good that you’ll get an upgrade to Lollipop…eventually“, which gets us, what if your phone is older than one year? Then what? Which gets us the last part “Manufacturers like Samsung, LG, HTC, and Motorola have promised swift updates (typically within 90 days of release) for top devices, but those have to go to carriers to be tested before release, too“, knowing I am ‘up to date’ with my version ‘4.1.2.’ does not inspire confidence! How many people asked questions about versions of Android when they bought their phone? I am a technologist and I never gave it too much thought (other than that I wanted an Android phone). Now, it seems that my Motorola is will remain on Jelly Beans (4.1.2) and now, we have ourselves a ball game, because as this unbalanced approach is pushed from both the desire to remain free (not chained to a provider) and as the life cycle of a mobile phone is now in danger of staying under two years due to the Google changes, we now see the need to not just chastise Google, but to make it clear (actually demand) that consumers are properly informed on the limitations that they are buying at $300, if we regard that patching is done to undue the lacking security of a product sold, we get a new game where the consumer must be informed clearly in a shop regarding the purchase they make.

A costly jump that might not have been needed! This year will bring changes to the mobiles and the shops selling them, I wonder if Google considered that, or perhaps they never cared. Especially when the people get told that they will not face any issues, if they had a Nexus phone (Google’s mobile). Samsung is not without options either, as they progress towards ownership of Blackberry, they might drill into a new mobile market that revolves around data and communication security, which is another mobile hot potato, and it instantly gets them huge chunks of the financial sector for reasons not here speculated! Tactically both Google and Samsung have made brilliant moves, for the consumers not the worst move but likely a costly one this year!

Will you remain in a Google mind or move to Tizen?

Will Eva choose to try the Apple in the end?

Time will tell!

 

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Billion dollar blame

Some do it quick, some do it with conviction, some take a life time and some don’t experience it at all. You might want to guess on what naughtiness I am talking about. It is simple negative profit in a firm. Some seem clear, some are to be expected and some are just plain ignorant.

We could rephrase them as the alphabet, like A is for Airline that’s lost in the queue; B is for banks, who lost more than a few. But then, that nursery rhyme would get boring real quick. The issue is not Tesco, not as we read in Bloomberg: ‘Bank of America Lost $2.7 Billion in a Maze of Accounting‘, it is simple overreaching. First the car industry, now the mobile industry is getting hammered. It would be fine to just blame Apple, who does have a stake in this, but in the end the true culprit is what I call ‘lack of vision‘.

Sony is downgrading its profits to far below zero. It is projecting a loss of 2,140,000,000 at the end of the current financial year. So we are talking about a loss so big, I personally believe is that those ‘idea-illogicals’ are still with their heads in the pre-recession era, they keep on believing that the old ways still work. Guess what! That time is gone, the financial institutions and banks changed that game forever.

The electronics empire initially forecast a $466 million net loss by the end of the current financial year, but has now informed investors that the projected loss has been revised to $2.14 billion. That is the budget for a small nation, so how is Sony still around? Well, that is not about that part of the equation, but it is an interesting question to consider for the future. The biggest issue is with their mobiles and we should wonder how they are currently surviving. I have nothing against Sony mobiles, I have had Nokia mobiles, I have Sony mobiles and mobiles from Ericsson and currently I use a Motorola. The entire mobile market is plummeting, Apple is doing fine, but overall they are likely to see a peaking of profits too.

Why?

Well, like those in the car industry, the people behind them are just not too clued in. They listen to ‘experts’, ‘analysts’ and from there they think that they comprehend their customers. They get market research, get 1000-2000 responses, weigh the hell out of the data and they consider that they have the knowledge.

Guess what, it does not work that way!

True investigation takes more, takes longer and takes actual preparation. Some half-baked set-up, which is quickly designed on Monday, live on Tuesday, data collected up to Thursday and reporting on Friday can work for some parts to get a general idea, but in the end, you will not get the ACTUAL wisdom you need. And guess what, it is not just Sony doing this; there are a few other larger players. Apple, Alcatel, BenQ, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Siemens and Sony Ericsson et all. All of them have several models; most of them are not that cheap.

To this I add two facts. The first one is the economy. It has been 10 years when the 2004 crash came, that hit many people, then the 2008 crash that turned a massive amount of people over the brink of poverty. In that decade the consumer lost close to 21% of purchasing powers. In that decade, the bulk of all people lost a job, or was retrenched at least once, was forced to live on a frozen income, whilst prices of food and housing kept rising and many are not dealing with their debt, so that part is also hanging round their necks as an anchor. The consumer markets ignored that part and now they see the fallout, a fallout that could have been clear to them for at least 3 years, so the writing is not just on the wall, it is a massive neon billboard that was ignored by those who should not have done this (at http://www.cnet.com/au/news/sony-forecasts-2-1-billion-loss-this-year-due-to-its-smartphone-business/)

There is additional ‘evidence’, which is seen here in the quote “The Company blamed the ‘competitive environment of the mobile business.’ Sony has been hammered by competition and an inability to find distributors in key markets such as the US“, I consider that to be a statement of falsehood. Why?

Well, that is always the real question. Consider the list I gave earlier. Siemens has lost a large share, Ericsson lost it as it united with Sony (the company in question), Alcatel was never the largest party in this and neither is Siemens. Huawei is relatively new and several smaller ones do not make the list any more (like NEC), so overall Sony should have consolidated its visibility, but it did not and neither did Nokia. Apple, Samsung and HTC grew, yet overall Sony should not have lost THAT amount, which means that there is more. I blame the over flooding and iterative consumer model as one reason, such a model cannot be sustained if you cannot grow the customer base and that part is currently diminishing and will keep on diminishing for another 2 years. We can no longer afford a new mobile or car every year, in all honesty, we never could, but that part is mainly the result from the pushed idea of ‘ego’ and peer pressure.

The second quote that gives the ‘frying pan’ and ‘the fire’ expression is: “While its Xperia Z3 flagship is making its way into the US through T-Mobile“, many consumers have had enough of being held over a barrel by telecom providers, the ‘new’ mobile is less and less an incentive to hold on to a solution, that side only works for business customers and they too are shopping in the margins. The final quote is “companies such as Google and Microsoft are laying out plans to broaden their reach into the emerging markets with more affordable smartphones“, that group is now targeting the ACTUAL consumers that are available. Huawei had an advantage there, but they are quickly losing that advantage as they emulate Samsung and HTC more and more.

You see, in this day and age, mobile makers have been pressing the ‘exclusivity’ option just a little too long and now the towers break down. You do not have to believe it, but not unlike the car industry, we do not need 7 models with 22 configurations. That image is created by advertisers, finding people telling you that ‘choice’ is all about ‘individuality’ whilst they try to sell that same package to millions; it is a fake concept as I see it. Yes, we want some choice, but the consumer driven industry took that way over the top. That same issue we have seen in mobiles for some time now and the bigger players, coming with half a dozen models are now finding that they are selling ‘hot’ cakes from a fridge in a place where there is no electricity. So why the ridiculous amounts of ‘add-ons’?

Apple avoided most of the issues by having one phone in 3-4 options, where memory was the choice. We do not need 8-12 models, having one phone, which does most, would suffice. Then we get the issue with price, smaller models cost some, or need a ‘contract’, in my eyes it is an interaction of pimping and harlotry for customers, but who is who is not clear to the consumer. Consider that many do not have $800 for a phone, yes we get options for cheaper, but many providers offer a lot less at that point, whilst a generic cheaper phone would be the solution to many, brands are ego pushing the more expensive models at any given opportunity. Although Huawei seemed to have nailed the market, they seem to slowly start making the same error the others are making. Consider that Huawei offered a 4G phone for less than half the price (unlocked and free of contract) than many other providers, so why would we pay twice the price?

Let’s not forget that many providers are no longer delivering a reliable mobile. If it has android than it is likely that the phone is forcing Google search down our throats, whilst forcing people to store all data on a Google account, so that they can copy the data. Apparently there is a way to switch that off, but the result is implied to be so disgustingly customer unfriendly, that we are starting to wonder whether criminal charges are in order. Now, my Motorola suddenly got ‘enhanced’ buttons at the bottom, where it seems that there is a software overlaid button that FORCES me to Google search. How was that MY choice?

So, in the age of data, the market will soon belong to the mobile maker that will respect the customer and BY DEFAULT, let the person choose what they want to do with their data, photos and other smart phone parts. This is all linked, because where confidence dwindles, people are less likely to choose a smart phone and more likely to go back to the old days of the Nokia 1100 (with silver LCD screen, offering voice and SMS only, oh and it avoided bank security for a little while).

It is my firm believe that if big boys like Sony, Nokia and others want to turn their market around, they will need to take time to ACTUALLY learn their customers’ needs and not force corporate choice as customer wishes down the throats of these consumers. For example, instead of 19 Nokia Lumia models make 4 with one extra landscape option. If you only need 5 models, you can simplify the process, down production costs, distribution complications and get a better return. It is just a crazy thought, but what do I know. I thought that the Lumia was gorgeous, but I am not paying $935 for a phone, not in this age of theft and pickpockets, especially as phone insurances are getting less and less affordable. Sony should consider that same idea. Do you think Apple was lazy? 2 phone models, each with three memory options, which means two models each with three memory chip options. NO! Apple foresaw the complicated BS that others face and as such they have more than a small corner in the market. This is odd as the main component for a phone is its battery and Sony has always had superior battery technology, so Sony should have been the number one choice, but alas, that is not the case, so why do we see a contender with a superior key part run a market at minus 2000 million? Beats me, but someone is clearly asleep at the wheel.

Of course, I admit that I am oversimplifying the entire issue, but am I so wrong? I do not think so. I will admit that I missed a few issues in this, but as Sony is at minus a lot and others have a dwindling market, I feel that I am onto something. I am also certain that people have had enough of data collection and these mobile players to use their consumers as off the books revenue piggy banks, the first one to change the wheel on that process might end up owning the market. For those who would ‘ignore’ that path, remember that no matter how ‘valuable’ that data seems to be, once the customers walk away, you end up without data and without people using your product. Sony has the option to bounce back, but that window of opportunity is small and quickly getting smaller as Google and Microsoft are tapping into their own worlds. Sony might have not have that many options left and they forgot the one lesson Miyamoto Musashi instilled upon them almost 450 years ago: “If you do not control the enemy, the enemy will control you”, they forgot this lesson as well as the fact that ego is as much an enemy as an actual opponent, especially as ego is not regarded as an enemy until it strikes after which it gets named Hinan!

 

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