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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tech Time: The Messy Mobile Market

Android smartphones and tablets occupy the majority of the mobile market.(S) There are only two other major operating systems for mobile devices: Apple and Windows. Blackberry has been, in my opinion, long dead, and their numbers recently confirmed that.(S)  

Apple had a strong grip on the mobile market.  Over the years, Android has taken the lead in the market and more recently at the expense of Apple.  Apple has been trying to find its next big thing since Jobs died.  There are IWatch rumors, Apple TV is attempting to gain more services and an ever growing presence of its Apple Stores.  Apple released a “cheaper” phone to try to increase sales most likely in non-US markets. There is also manufactured trouble.  Their recent phone sold 51 million units where an analyst said they should have sold 55 million units. The shortcoming was in its global market, but Apple has acquired a new Chinese deal that should help that.(
S) But Apples niche is innovation.  They haven't had that next breakthrough.  It will be interesting to see how it develops.

A Windows CEO recently admitted that he had completely missed the mark in the mobile market.(S)  He resigned shortly after his speech.  Windows growing share has come at the expense of Apple as well.  With Microsoft's recent acquisition of Nokia, Xbox One integration and a strong Surface campaign, they are showing signs of taking the mobile market more seriously.(S) But with the latest news on Cortana(Siri like virtual assistant. You might recognize the name from Halo.) being pushed to an “early” 2014 release; it seems like they are once again dropping the ball.(S) A great idea to use such a popular well established icon, but to wait even longer seems foolish.  Especially when your main rivals have such functional existing systems in place.
Google has been busy. They bought their own handset maker, but not to make handsets. They have the Samsung powerhouse churning out phones to compete with the IPhone.  Google bought Motorola back in 2012 and has just sold it to Lenovo.(S) Why would Google buy a company and sell it 2 years later? Patents.  Google had to create growth for its handset makers to develop phones without getting sued over patents.  Lenovo is strong in the Chinese market expect to see the Android growth in the coming years.  Google seems to be taking up the mantle of innovation from Apple. Google has its hands in robotics, wearable tech and home automation. Home automation is the one to watch in the near term.

The mobile market can be somewhat difficult to understand. You might hear about a phone, but your carrier might not offer that phone or it might not have an OS that you are used to.  The biggest compatibility issues with carrier specific phones is Verizon's 4G LTE versus other 4G standards.  Most of the phones even unlocked ones will not work on a Verizon network.  The basic idea is 4G LTE is a more advanced network and offers higher speeds. The problems go much deeper.  

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