Previous year was a shock in terms of hardware. Samsung ended up on top of the mobile handset sales, Sony’s Vita portable device failed to get the projected mileage, new video game consoles were not announced when they should have been and, possibly the biggest, Hewlett-Packard (or HP as we know it), has decided to shut shop on the Personal Computer market and go the IBM way.One question on my mind was, what happened? The game console market has become a three-tiered affair between Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft, mobile handset makers are all trying for iPhone killers rather than something unique and let’s not even get started on Tablets, Processors and Graphic cards. Is the dearth of manufacturers so low that we are confined in our choices? Today, someone has to choose either Blackberry, iPhone, Android or Windows in the mobile scene, but how many manufacturers are there for the pieces? RIM and Apple both count one and Windows mobile and Android have numbers that you can count on one hand. In the tablet race, HP and RIM lost out a long time ago, whereas Samsung and a few others are still limping on trying to match pace with Apple’s new Ipad.
The reason why I think that Apple has such a huge share in the market is due to the fact that the guys and gals who work on the hardware work in the (logically) same building as the software engineers. That way, they are able to collaborate better and not just “leave things to the other team”. This belief fuels my urging for more people to get into the hardware business simply because, with more options, software development teams can choose better correlations with a manufacturer and bring about better products. That way, a company like HTC, rather than coming out with mediocre stuff from 5 different companies, can focus on 2 and bring a real challenge to the market.
Now, you may think that this kind of thinking is impractical, that the costs of hardware manufacture, the slowdown inspite ofMoore’s Law and the infeasbility of working with a single developer will lead to financial ruin for the company. But, as time and again many companies such as Twitter and Blogger have shown that adding that extra competitor to the market has never been futile and was well worth the risk. Apple as a case point is a pretty obvious one.
Thus, what the world needs for the future of electronic economy is, a company that can offer a new type of mobile, a company that redesigns the tablet PC, a company that redefines the way games are played via hardware and a company that proves that while software is always a good option, hardware is here to stay.
What do you think?
- Varun Agrawal