Just last week Micromax launched the Andro A60 backed by a large advertising campaign. And while I haven’t used it as yet it packs in a lot of value with features like a 2.8inch QVGA resistive touch screen, 3.2 megapixel camera with auto- focus, voice assisted GPS navigation, HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth, 600 MHz processor, Swype keyboard and running on Android 2.1 operating system. It is a very tempting buy at Rs. 7000. Even in the Tablet space while the Apple iPad is currently the undisputed leader you have a whole host of Android tablets coming in from $150 onwards with the Samsung Galaxy tab gaining a lot of attention at the high end. With the Android devices available at price points there is no doubt that Android will be the volume leader in the smartphone and tablet market pretty soon.The situation faced by Apple is similar to what it faced in the domination of the desktop market. At that time Intel licensed its x86 technology to AMD and Cyrix. Microsoft licensed MS DOS in very liberal terms to OEM’s resulting in a flood of PC’s at low cost. The competition drove down prices and created a huge momentum that marginalised Apple very quickly. Apple chose not to license its OS to other companies and also was restricted to one chip supplier in the form of Motorola. All this plus other factors marginalised Apple and reduced it to a negligible player in the market.
We see a similar situation with Apple being the only manufacturer of iOs phones and also the App marketplaceis heavily controlled by Apple. While for Android you have a huge host of manufacturer’s jumping on the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) bandwagon and Android apps not being restricted to the Google marketplace alone. Google controls the Android OS development but its Open Source License allows companies to adapt it to their needs.
The phone market is different than the PC market in many aspects and Apple has a few things going in its favour that it didn’t in the Pc v/s Mac battle. To begin with it is an extremely profitable company and with aMarket Capitalization of 291 Billion puts it at the number one slot in the IT arena. Itis the market leader in the smartphone and tablet market and has a well-developed App marketplace with a lot of companies making money in it. Currently the user experience on the Apple platform is far superior and consumers seem to be willing to pay a premium for it.
It will be interesting to see how things pan out in the next year or so. Will it be déjà vu for Apple again or do you think it will be different this time. Do let me know what you think.
Ravishankar V is in the process of creating a 2.0 version of himself. Starting his career in 1993 he has worked on possibly all technology waves that the IT industry keeps showering on the world. In a rare moment of clarity this year he decided to fire himself from his job and promote himself to CEO. He is now in the process of setting up a startup that will be focussed on providing services and building products in the mobile and cloud computing space.
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