11 oct. 2010

Android: not one app store but many. Here's why

Since its launch, Google Android has been compared with iOS, the mobile operating system by Apple. This comparison makes sense, but they are two completely different initiatives. And one of the points where there are more differences is precisely the app stores, something weird to many people: Why Apple has only one app store and everyday there are more for Android?

It is important not to forget that Google is a company that gets 96% of their income through advertising, and Apple is a hardware company that obtains over 90% of their income by selling different devices.

The Apple AppStore is not intended primarily as a tool to generate revenue for Apple, but as a natural extension of the hardware. What worries Apple is controlling the user experience of their customers to ensure their satisfaction and, consequently, to sell more devices so that they complete their "collection". What is important is cross-selling hardware and its continuous updating. In case they get AppStore revenue, it will be just a little extra. It currently represents a percentage in the income similar to what Apple gets from the sale of software or peripherals. See link above.

In Google's case, the important thing is advertising. In this particular economic field it is the leader in web by far. And Android is a bid to extend Google's advertising kingdom towards the mobile domain. That´s why its CEO said recently that his rival is Microsoft´s Bing, not Apple. The company wants to dominate the mobile ecosystem via its OS to dominate advertising.

With this in mind, you now understand Apple may only allow one exclusive shop. But Google not only is not worried about the proliferation of Android app stores by carriers (Verizon, Vodafone, etc.) or retailers (Amazon, GetJar, etc.); Google think it very likely will help to expand Android market share in mobile, which is their true goal. No matter where a person buys their Android applications: what matters is that they have installed the operating system Android.

So we shall see more and more Android app stores. And Google will be happy because they will help them to achieve its target.

2 oct. 2010

Tablets: success via comfort and convergence at home

Tablets are just beginning to be born, but probably this winter we will see a big bang that is not going to come to an end.

Their mainstream context of use is clear: sitting on a sofa, quietly. When you are at home, you want to enjoy your leisure in a relaxed place to forget everything and be comfortable. Hence the triumph of television, which keeps you on the sofa with no problems. To use a computer, even a laptop, you should use an office-type table. It is true that laptops or smartphones can be comfortable on a sofa, but tablets are much more comfortable in this use. And that is the point. Comfort at home. What people need.

The other one is that they involve a certain convergence with main cultural activities. The trend is that devices are accumulating features, as new Swiss Army knives. Evolution has been:
1.- MP3 devices made CDs obsoletes.
2 .- MP3s have been replaced by mobile phones. Why having two devices if you may have just one?
3 .- Handhelds (PSP or DS, basically) are also gradually being replaced by Smartphones. Or they will become phones soon.
4 .- Paper books are being replaced by electronic books.
5 .- News papers are losing readers on a regular basis, while its online versions are growing steadily.
6.- TVs are not anymore a device to be watched with a big family, but alone or in couples.
7.- DVDs, Blue-Rays and even multimedia HD drives are going to disappear: streaming from an Internet service or from your personal home computer will be the winner.

Well, tablets answer to all these trends in an unified way when you are at home. So we think that these new gadgets are big and very important news. If you have one, you do not need to buy the media on paper, have a portable game player, CDs, MP3, books, an electronic book reader or even a TV, DVD or Blue-Ray.

It is true that tablets have been around for over ten years. But till now they were just a "strange computer" and therefore have not worked in sales.

The winning combination: 3G smartphone outdoors, WiFi tablet at home. And a lot of devices, even very new ones, as museum items soon. It is just a question of time.

Let us insist that this is an opinion for people´s choices for personal uses of the Internet. When at work, desktop is the king. It is interesting this new trend already detected: mobile searches peak when people are at home (nights and weekends) while desktop searches do it in the morning mon-fri. See here the report.