The iPhone and Consumer Philosophy

Right now, the smartphone market is dominated by two platforms: Android and iOS. Despite assertions by some advocates, the devices are remarkably similar under the covers. Both are based on thread-scheduling preemptive multitasking kernels. Both of those operating systems have their roots in UNIX, even if they don’t share the code. They are 64-bit systems that can run on multicore processors, have fairly modern hierarchical filesystems, and are generally conventional in how things work.

Consumers, however, don’t care about these sorts of details. What they know is that the two platforms are similar because they both run apps, both can present other content like music and video, and have similar hardware features like cameras and GPS. But the platforms are also different in consumer’s minds, at least when you look at what they do with these devices, and how they treat them. One is something more of an “investment”, the other appears to be more disposable.

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Quoted in a PC World Article

I provided some comments to PC World about the Nexus 7. They appear in this article. This may be my shortest blog post ever :-).

Is The Nexus 7 Aimed At Amazon?

Some writers have posited that the Nexus 7 is really meant to go head-to-head with the Kindle Fire, and not the iPad. When you look at the specs, and the positioning messages on the Nexus 7 web site, it might seem that way. The thing it, it assumes that Amazon is a “competitor” in the tablet market in the first place. I’m not convinced that Amazon really cares that the Nexus 7 is better than the Kindle Fire, because they aren’t in the hardware game, they are in the content game. A successful Nexus 7 helps Amazon as much (if not more) as it would Google.

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Is the Nexus 7 Really A One-off?

Something occurred to me during an e-mail conversation with a member of the media: the Nexus 7 may just be a one-off device, and not a long-term play for Google. In some ways, it could be an attempt by Google to spur developers to build tablet apps (or make their apps more tablet-friendly), much like the first Nexus phones Google made available through their developer program. I’m not sure that the lack of inexpensive tablets is holding back app development, but this could be a possible motivation. Let’s consider the evidence, such as it is.

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Is Google’s New Tablet A Game Changer?

Today, Google announced the Nexus 7 tablet. Curiously built as a partnership with ASUS, the device is a 7″ tablet with a quad-core processor, a fairly pedestrian screen and otherwise unremarkable specifications. It isn’t being offered with anything but WiFi connectivity (at least for now). Google’s “theme” is that this is a device “built for Google Play”, so it appears to be meant to be a portal to bigger things (much like the Kindle Fire). Like the Fire, the prices start at a fairly low US$199. So, is this thing a game-changer?

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Is Surface Good Or Bad For Google?

While everyone will undoubtedly focus on the impact of the Surface on Apple, I think the impact could be far larger for Google. It could be good for some aspects of Google’s business, but for their Android and tablet business, it could be devastating. All of this depends partly on how well the Surface sells, and partly on how the Windows OEMs react to Microsoft’s intrusion on their turf.

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Nokia Had A Choice

A piece on Forbes tries to outline why Nokia “had to choose Windows”, the argument being that choosing Android wouldn’t allow them to be a leader or differentiate themselves enough. What worries me, though, is that I’m not sure the author really understands the mobile space. The author closes their piece by implying that Windows 8 should help Nokia with their phones, even though Windows 8 isn’t meant for phones. Microsoft has made it clear how the two operating systems are to be used: Windows Phone 7 is for phones and phone-like devices, Windows 8 is for desktops, servers, notebooks and tablets. If Nokia has a Windows 8 product coming, it will be a tablet. Microsoft doesn’t want Windows 8 on phones.

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