It’s been months since Google laid it’s loving eyes on Motorola and asked them to be theirs and now it’s finally official. As of today the two companies are one, Motorola being one of the first companies to release a Google Android smart phone, creatively named “Droid”, back in 2009. They had a special bond back then, especially since Motorola was, to some, on the brink of total collapse. the Android OS saved the spry cell phone company and now it’s part of one of the largest companies in the world.
The average time someone has their cell phone, be it a smart phone or feature phone, is about 18 months. Which is surprising as most cell phone plans end at 24 months, giving you the usual discounts that come with renewing your plans. More and more people are buying used and refurbished phones that others trade in to receive cutting edge smart phones as soon as they are released. For example, we saw a big increase of Droid Razr cell phones for trade in’s. And when I say “increase”, I mean from zero trade in’s to actually getting that phone in trade in’s. I mention that because that phone was only two months old when we started getting trade in requests, which is typically unheard of for any cell phone so early in it’s life. This was mostly blamed on the recent release of the Droid Razr MAXX which made many folks immediately trade in their two month old smart phone.
Years ago Blackberry used to be “the Cadillac of smart phones”. The iPhone and Android didn’t exist in a time when CEO’s and VPs all owned Blackberrys. Smart phone was synonymous with wealth and business. Though times have changed, and the smart phone market is more mainstream, Blackberry still holds the wealthy mantel. According to a survey done by Prosper Mobile Insights, Blackberry is favored among the wealthy at 11.9%, which is about .4% higher than iPhone and a whopping 4.1% higher than the Android. But what is “wealthy” to PMI? According to them, anyone making over $150,000 a year. Perhaps that’s not what some consider wealthy, but it’s certainly very comfortable.
The survey didn’t stop there though. They checked several other income brackets, including anyone making $100,000 to $149,000. In that pay grade the favorites stay close to the same, but it has become evident that the Blackberry is losing some of their comfortable ground. The lower the income bracket the more the iPhone takes over the lead and Android begins creeping up to the Blackberry. People making between $75,000 to $99,000 favor the iPhone at 19.6%, with Blackberry at 18.7% and the Android right behind the Blackberry at 18.2%.
But where the iPhone begins the gain, so does the Android. Google’s Android phones have one advantage over iPhone, which is they offer their operating system on a wide variety of phones and are now available on all major carriers. With this in mind, more companies are able to create a wide variety of prices in their phones, which allow for more affordable phones for the middle to lower class. So when we get below $74,000 a year, Google’s Android begins to dominate. But what else makes the Blackberry lose favor with the middle to lower class?
Games. Games are much easier to play with a touch screen, like everyone’s favorite Angry Birds, as oppose to Blackberry’s staple ball navigation. Not to say Blackberry phones aren’t worth it anymore. They are excellent business phones and can surf the internet just as well as the competition. They even dabble in the touch screen world, most notably with the Storm and Storm 2. But their strong point, and stereotype, will almost certainly always be in business. Even their old commercials played on this stereotype of the business suit go getters sending emails and conference calls on the go.
Blackberry doesn’t just lose out on games though. According to the survey 85% of iPhone users and 84% of Android users claim they download apps on their phones, while Blackberry users are at a low 59.9%. Does this mean there are less apps on the Blackberry? Probably not, and those numbers may have more to do with what the typical Blackberry user looks for in their phone. Blackberrys tend to be business ready right out of the box, which is enough for anyone using it as a business device. iPhone and Android play heavily on their apps, almost exclusively advertising apps as the reason to purchase their products.
So what does this survey really mean? Besides the obvious “times are changing”, the survey shows that competition on the smartphone market is looking good. With three major companies vying for the top spot we can expect nothing but improvements in both technology and choices. When one company innovates the other responds. Though Blackberry is just beginning to really kick start their competition (they have been rather comfortable at the top for some time) we should expect some surprising things around the horizon.
The iPhone, Blackberry, Android phones and more are all available at thebluedot.net!
Over the past decade cell phones have went from simply “mobile phones” to “mobile computers”. We can surf the web, check on our finances, pay bills, stay connected with social media and even use GPS to find our way around the world. It seems that with every year our Phones become more and more essential to our daily lives. Well, that is about to take another leap this very year. Google has just released, though limited, Google Wallet, an Android exclusive application.
Google Wallet, available only on the Sprint Nexus S (for now), is literally what it claims to be, your wallet. Anyone with an Android phone will be able to link their credit and debit cards to one simple application. Each card will be protected with a PIN code, which you unlock for every purchase. No more losing credit cards and scrambling to get it locked before someone uses it to buy a yacht. Now, if you lose your phone, horrible in its own way, you can feel better in knowing that your finances will remain secure.
Android phones outfitted with Near Field Communication (NFC), will be able to go to any store and purchase goods with a simple wave of their phone. The amount of stores accepting such a device are limited at the moment, but growing fast. You can search via the program itself, by entering your zip code, and find locations near you already accepting the new program. We searched for locations in Philadelphia and found dozens accepting Google Wallet.
At the moment only Citi Bank Mastercard is linked to Google Wallet, but Google already has deals planned with Visa, Discover and American Express. In the meantime you can use google’s prepaid card within the application and add money from any card you please. What does this mean for our Cell Phones future? And with such a major change to how we do finances, how will Apples iPhone respond? Competition is healthy, and this can only mean great things for us.
Numerous banks already have finance applications linked to your account, but just imagine having them all in one simple location, in your pocket, protected with the same security as an ATM. No more clunky wallets, no more scrambling for that one specific card for that one specific store. All new Android phones will be NFC compatible, which is some bad news for older Droid users. Or is it? Visa is actually working on MicroSD cards with NFC technology. If such technology gets released, anyone with a microSD slot in their phone will be able to enjoy this application (and future ones to come). Droid X, Reality and even the very first Droid by Motorola could be potentially compatible.
But don’t count Apple or Windows out. If there is one constant in the world it’s that when one company innovates, the others copy and possibly enhance. Apple has been known to go toe to toe with Google on the software market. Apple will respond, and in turn, will cause Google to respond in kind. When that response will be is unknown at the moment.
But why the limited release? This seems like such an incredible program that anyone and everyone will want asap. According to Tech Crunch, Google wants to ensure the security and functionality of the NFC technology behind the Google Wallet. Considering this program could be potentially holding millions of people’s credit cards, it’s a wise choice to field test it as much as possible. Their goal is to make Google Wallet more secure than having a physical card on you at all times. Just having it be PIN activated already makes it slightly more secure than its old plastic cousins. This is only the beginning though, so our flimsy credit cards will probably live on for a few more years before the general public will trust such a program. Now we simply wait for the competition and see what innovation comes next.
The official results are in, and the first quarter sales figures for 2010 are significantly in favor of Google’s Android smart phone. The war has waged for quite some time between Apple’s iPhone–with apps that pale in comparison to the amount of hype backing it up–and Google’s Android which has dedicated its operating system to various phone models and carriers across the board.
The iPhone, as many of you know, is paired only with AT&T service–and while Apple pushes its weight around the market, it rests firmly in the corner where only AT&T users and Mac Geeks dwell.
AT&T is big–really big. But Verizon is much bigger. You know those “coverage maps” you see in all the ‘Verizon VS AT&T‘ commercials? Those attempt to illustrate a whopping 92.8% of Verizon’s customers enjoying a relatively limitless wireless coverage zone.
iPhone’s biggest claim to fame is the App Store, featuring obscene numbers of user and professionally created applications for just about everything you’d ever want to do–from grocery shopping, to making fart-noises on the bus. The Google Android is gaining speed, however. They’re up to a healthy 50,000 applications and counting–and I believe they’ve even hosted their own fart-noise apps, so…good news there!
Because of Verizon’s dominant network, they have become a huge sponsor of Google’s Android–providing them with lots of advertising and marketing funds.
The last–and probably most important–factor that pushes the Android ahead is the pricing. Where the average price for a smart phone in 2010 is around $599 (retail price), the top-tier iPhones can be as pricey as $999 (used iphones for less than $200 and cheap droid phones). Because Google has the freedom to pick and choose its carriers and hosts models in varying price ranges, they have the potential to dominate every market.
The Android’s sales have outfoxed the iPhone, but not by much. With the first quarter percentages for the Android being 28%, and the iPhone’s being 21%, it is still a close race…but it is still only a race for 2nd place.
It should be no surprise that Reasearch in Motion’s Blackberry is still king of the smart phones with a first quarter sales rate of 36 percent. Across the board, new and refurbished Blackberrys make a huge impact on smart phone sales. They are efficient, inexpensive, and part of the largest networks in the country.
So, for now, Blackberry watches as Google and Apple duke it out–but there’s a lot more time left in 2010–and something tells me that the iPad won’t be the last tech gadget people are talking about this year.