[iPhone vs. Android] Sometimes Better Does Not Beat Popular

We have two distinct camps in the Clearspring offices.  Our CEO, Hooman Radfar, and a few others believes that Android will dominate and clean up the mobile phone market, while a large contingent believes that iPhone might not lead in market share but they will continue to be the phone that leads innovation and is the bright shiny object in the sky for many.

Last Monday a study came out that showed one third of teens wanted to buy an iPhone “soon.” That number is on top of the 17% of teens that already have iPhones.

The technorati has been quick to point out how Apple may be making the exact same mistakes as it did back in the 1980s as it pertains to their iOS platform strategy.  Experts will tell you by creating a walled garden for application developers and having a singular hardware and software platform, Apple is opening the door for Android to be the operating system for every other carrier and phone.  The one problem with that theory is demand.

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s the purchase of personal computer purchases was price driven.  Back then Macs routinely cost over $2000, so when  competitors started building inferior machines for half the cost, Macs lost market share and the rest is history.

The mobile space is different.  First, the phone itself is cheaper as hardware in 2011 is a commodity.  Second, consumers have more purchasing power than they did back in the 1990s, and that despite a major recession in 2008-09, consumers seem to still be buying electronics and cutting back in other areas.  Third, consumers, and especially teens and young adults, want the cool and hip product, device or technology.  Even if Android is a better platform built on a better device, people think the iPhone is a status symbol.  Much like the BWM 3 series, there are better built cars for the price in the market place, but that does not stop people from buying the car because it is a status symbol.

So where does that leave us.  Sometimes a better technology is not preordained to be the most popular or the coolest.  If the teens of America have any say, Apple is going to have a hard time replicating the failures of the late 1980s, simply because the brand is considered hip by youth.

One thought on “[iPhone vs. Android] Sometimes Better Does Not Beat Popular

  1. The important thing to take into account at Clearspring is that Hooman is always right. There’s a reason the man is CEO.

    The debate on iOS versus Android simply comes down to your personal preference.

    iOS is very pretty and clean and there are lots of apps. You can safely buy an iOS device and be sure the interface will be what you are used to and that it will sync easily with your computer. You also know the company behind it takes full responsibility for the experience and that enough will be sold that it’s not going away.

    Android is very intelligent and is the hardest working OS in showbiz. It multitasks like it was born to, it has notifications to keep you updated on every network constantly, it has the best speech recognition in the world and deep maps integration. It has scads of apps – hundreds of thousands you can try for free and many that you know you want to pay for. All the big brands are there, and the ecosystem is helping the OS “win” in market share, users, and practically every metric. You can buy an Android from Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola and anybody you want. You can get it for AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, or whatever you want. It can be beautiful if you want, or you can make it ugly. You can get it with a keyboard, or you cannot if you want. But nobody will tell you how to live your life and in what order.

    If you want hip, go get a skateboard. If you want useful, you have to try Android.

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