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Mobile Competition Part 2: Great Artists Steal

0. phoneArena 03 Oct 2011, 11:24 posted on

We've already looked at the strengths and weaknesses of each mobile platform, so now it's time to examine the overall competition in the market and what each company is aiming for...

This is a discussion for a news. To read the whole news, click here

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 11:26 1

8. Penny (Posts: 1662; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)


Very well written article and a thoughtful take on the nature of innovation. I come from a background of user-centered design, and we too were taught that innovation is not about inventing a new product, but taking a currently existing product and finding ways to make it better for the user.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 11:31

10. Nick Graham (unregistered)


That was the most beautifully written article I have ever read! This is a fanboy must-read, because it made me realize that this competition is in fact not winnable and there's no point in flaming other operating systems

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 11:39 1

13. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Thanks! I hope you went back to Part 1 if you didn't read that.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 11:57 1

17. Nick Graham (unregistered)


I did and I loved that one too. It helped me decide to go the WP7 route :)

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 11:43

15. HTCiscool (Posts: 449; Member since: 16 Jul 2011)


Nice article, bookmarking these two in same folder for others to read! Good job
Michael! A tad more serious than the last one but still brilliant! I probably couldn't write an article purely on Phone manufacturers disputes and IP. Btw is Basil K still working at PA? I liked him.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 13:06

19. bolaG (Posts: 468; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)


Great stuff Mike. To bad even after all the fanboys read this article the wars will never end.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 13:11 1

23. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Doesn't mean we stop trying to end the silliness.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 13:37 1

28. remixfa (Posts: 14594; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


on the flip side, if you ended the silliness the boards would die and advertisements would go down.. which means less money to go around for PA staff. :)

Thats why we have you writing inciteful articles that take a middle ground, and others writing stuff that is nothing more than flame bait to entice us into fighting. That "look what samsung is copying" post yesterday is point in fact of that.

You realize you spent an entire paragraph saying samsung is copying apple, but ya never brought up the fact that apple gets sued time and time again and normally loses for copying others with things that are actually patented. tisk! :)
there is a difference between design similarities and patent infringement.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 13:52 1

29. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)


I've always contested that Samsung is liable on design charges, but not necessarily patent charges. Besides, the point of the article wasn't really rooted in the patent system, but more the public perception of the ecosystem. We all know the patent system is broken and ridiculous, but we may not realize how that broken system affects our own perceptions of the market.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 13:08

20. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


don't know if this applies but here goes a good example of why Ideas should be "shared" between companies to come up with a much refined product.

everyone know webkit, ad for those who don't
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebKit

webkit took info from a GNU Lesser General Public License project, when Apple took it the project was lacking stuff but they saw future on what they saw, adding some improvements webkit was born, thanks to the webkit being open source many other companies took it ad developed their own versions based on what the webkit was not only making their changes better but also giving it some new improvements.

other example could be the first generation iPhone, it took some stuff that was available and added its own IP to make a new device, I personally think that making a picture puzzle out of mixed puzzle parts should be considered an even greater achievement that creating an armed puzzle with your parts only, apple looked at that moment at something other phone companies din't saw, or maybe where doubtful to create.

no company can make a product successful without taking some of the things that are hovering around, market moves around seeing whats available for you and asking the question "how about we?"

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 13:09 4

21. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


It was a great article, Michael, but you missed out on what angers those of us who dislike Apple the most: we don't mind that Apple does what works and is willing to recognize and imitate others' great ideas. What angers us is the double standard Apple has of being clearly willing to take from everyone else, but going totally apes**t the moment a functionality, feature or design cue they came up with first shows up on a competitor's device.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 13:17

24. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Why should that anger anyone? Why even pay attention? It's all part of the strategy: Apple iterates on a strict cycle, and can't allow others to run too far ahead. Apple doesn't want to kill innovation with these fights, it just wants to control the pace of innovation to fit its schedule.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 13:26 1

26. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Because that's a strategy that a fascist regime uses, not a business. "Nobody else is allowed to do this but us! WE must be the innovators! How dare anyone but us get money for their ideas?!"

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 13:54 1

30. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)


You can't as easily choose an alternative with a fascist regime. If you don't like how Apple does business, don't give them your money. To call the company fascist misses the point entirely.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 13:59 1

31. ilia1986 (unregistered)


Awesome Article, Michael!

However - I think that what also angers a lot of people - like myself who DO own Apple products - but feel mistreated - is one of the things you wrote in your article: Apple likes to implement features when they are fully mature and optimized.

However if one looks at Android, one already sees a lot of unique features, which are totally absent from iOS to this very day - which already were fully implemented when released by Google. Widgets, live wallpapers, unobtrusive notifications, full voice control, etc etc were not just underdeveloped betas at launch. Sure, they can be further optimized and tweaked - but they were certainly not in beta-like stage when they first got to Android. Which brings me to:

Hardware longevity. Or rather lack of thereof. We are talking about the cellphone industry here which as we all know moves faster than a pissed off Dominic Torreno in Fast Five. I believe that a consumer simply CANNOT afford to wait for his phone's manufacturer's to meticulously tweak and optimize every single thing in every single major feature. Widgets were very cool @ 2009 when they first appeared. They were practically a necessity as noted by many reviewers of the iPhone 4 - @ 2010. Now the world is SCREAMING about them - as of WWDC 2011 in frustration - because Apple decided to implement them "differently". You yourself said that iOS is little but a glorified app launcher.

That's why people like myself are Angry with Apple. For withholding key features - for the sake of maximizing profits. Because when Widgets do come out - let's say in iOS 6 - I bet that only the iPhone 5\6 will be able to use them. Despite the fact that a 528Mhz, 192 MB Ram G1 could use them the day Android 1.5 launched. How Do I know this? iOS 4. Available for the iPhone 3G. Not available on the iPhone 2G. Despite same exact identical Hardware.

Let's not even talk about video recording and editing, iOS 5 photo editing for iPhone 4 only and a lot of other things.

That's how Apple works. It produces an underwhelming feature-wise product - makes everybody believe that it's the best ever - and then a year later makes a slightly better underwhelming feature-wise product. Rinse and repeat ad infinitum.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 14:06 1

32. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Forced obsolescence is Apple's way of creating false scarcity. There can't be too many choices, or the device isn't as new and cool. It's also another way that Apple controls the pace of innovation. You can't innovate as quickly if you have to make everything compatible with older technology. Besides, what's so terrible about paying $200 every 2 years for a new device? Even PCs start to feel sluggish after a couple years, with the speed of iteration in the mobile space, why would we want people with 3 year old phones slowing us down?

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 14:22 2

33. ilia1986 (unregistered)


Well first of all - two key points:

1. When it comes to PCs - you can format the thing and\or install Linux - and it runs like new.

2. Not everywhere phones cost 200$ for a 2 year contract. That's a very very spoiled price. Here @ Israel you get to either buy the phone via a carrier - which will cause you to pay about 65$ monthly - for 36 months AKA 3 YEARS to get that super hot smartphones at almost zero price - which originally is about 5000 NIS (GS2 price here) which are ~ 1350$ just for the phone. OR you can buy the phone from the free market, unlocked which is much cheaper - but still costs about 800$

Now - as for innovation and control. The thing is not so much as of how quickly a company decided to innovate on it's behalf. It's about what the end user - the customer - is robbed from - for quite a significant amount of time - until the company in question "Does it right". And when it does - oh look there is the iPhone 8GS which is better now, and that new feature we just implemented @ iOS 8? Well. We're removing it @ iOS 9 because it turns out that Widgets are just not cool in 2023. You see where I'm going? Product features - particularly when it comes to software features - have their time. And the time of Widgets was @ 2009. 2010. 2011 max. everything else is regarded by me as "too late for the party".

I mean, seriously. I own an iPhone 4. Someone else owns an HTC Evo 4G. Both made at about the same time.

Why does the Evo 4G have Widgets and Live wallpapers, while my phone does not? It's that simple for me. And I also believe that it's that simple for the Average Joe. The only reason imo that the Average Joe doesn't ask that question is because he\she are so obsessed with the iPhone as a status symbol - to the point that they do not care what they are giving up.

I am not the Average Joe. I bought the i4 because I was betting on possibility of Apple continuing the trend of user customization started @ iOS 4 with the inclusion of Homescreen wallpapers and folders. Needless to say how wrong was I when WWDC 2011 came by.

Sure, you can keep a closed ecosystem and all - provided you outfit it with the same key features as your competition. This is true of many other product types as well.

So no - it's not the 3-year old which is slowing us down. It's that 1-year old phone which is not getting those same software features which existed a year BEFORE that 1-year old phone was even manufactured. As of this day.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 14:59

34. gallitoking (Posts: 4721; Member since: 17 May 2011)


hope he listen to you Michael.. but they want Apple to be like Android so they can dump Android.. thats why he is so emotional on this topics... so much for being neutral like you said huh Michael?...

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 15:01

35. gallitoking (Posts: 4721; Member since: 17 May 2011)


thank you Michael... and watch how ilia is taking a page out of Sniggly playbook...

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 15:02 4

36. ilia1986 (unregistered)


I believe that when it comes to the mobile industry consumer debate - to "take a page out of a Sniggly playbook" is the highest compliment ever to be given.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 15:15

38. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)


I understand that IPhones get very expensive in other parts of the world. However, I don't agree with the rest of your assessment.

Apple doesn't have a responsibility to the customer unless the customer stops buying. Until that point, Apple's only responsibility is to maximizing profits. So, of Apple wants to hold out certain features it's Apple's choice.

Besides, widgets are nice, but are love wallpapers really changing your purchase decision?

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 15:15 4

39. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


When they're actively trying to use government muscle to lock everyone else out of the market (i.e. banning products WORLDWIDE which will take months to redesign in order to get around the broken patent system) Apple is starting to seem more like a fascist regime, albeit one that isn't completely in power yet.

I haven't given a cent to Apple, and likely never will, but the problem is that even if I don't their actions still stand to impact my environment as a customer. If they are successful in banning every Android product from the market (like they're clearly aiming to do) then that removes the choice I have been making as a customer for the last three years.

I get the argument: "If you don't like it, don't give them your money." "If you don't like it, don't move there." "If you don't like it, don't vote for them." "If you don't like it, MOVE OUT." The problem is, though, that eventually if we take this kind of approach and ultimately don't raise a public voice of protest, how much more power are we ultimately giving Apple to bully who they want to bully? We may not live within their fascist regime, but we can sure as hell still be affected by the wars they've started.

Am I still missing the point, Michael? Or are you still missing mine?

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 15:16

40. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Live wallpapers

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 15:17 4

41. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


*trying not to let my ego get the best of me* Thanks ilia. :)

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 15:41 3

44. bullwank (Posts: 5; Member since: 11 Sep 2011)


Very good point Sniggly. :)

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 16:10 1

46. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)


I think you're grossly overestimating the ramifications of the legal action. Apple can seek an ITC injunction, but keep in mind, no company has EVER been granted one. Samsung lost its case more because of the packaging, connector cable, and power adapter rather than the actual design of the Tab itself. Everything Apple does is ultimately just a nuissance, and a waste of money, because there are no teeth behind it.

My point is that Apple is acting like a d**k, and probably doesn't put consumers first, but it isn't doing anything illegal or anticompetitive at all. There's no law stating that Apple be an abusive husband with its customers. I'd really like it if there were, but it's the choice of the company whether its brand can take some heavy mud slinging.

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 16:19

47. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2707; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Or rather, it's up to Apple if it wants to be a bully. Sorry, got this conversation mixed up with illa. You're calling Apple a bully, illa is saying Apple is abusive with its customers (or negligent at least.)

posted on 30 Sep 2011, 16:41 1

49. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Hmm. Granted, their efforts may come to naught here in the U.S., but they have been successful in their efforts elsewhere in the world, which is still a dangerous precedent. They're trying not only to mess with their customers, but the customers of their competitors.

They may ultimately fail, but the fact is that they're TRYING, which is still upsetting.

posted on 01 Oct 2011, 00:09 3

60. remixfa (Posts: 14594; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


notice how gallito takes out of "tacos playbook" and says something without adding a single thing to the conversation. lol.

i get what everyone is trying to say, but I do tend to side with sniggly on this one. Simply not giving apple our money isnt enough. There are too many gallito sized idiots out there willing to fork over every dime they make to get into the "cool" apple atmosphere for apple to pay attention to those that dont. Their profit margins are too high. Honestly, i dont think its "we " the consumers that need to rise, but they " the manufacturers" that need to start demanding better wages and satisfactory working conditions. That will take a huge chunk out of Foxconn, which will then be passed to Apple. Apple has a deaf ear to EVERYONE. We as consumers are by and large choosing android. Apple countered this by blatantly stealing many of android's features for iOS5... baked.. half baked.. no baked...stolen.
They arent innovating, and they arent listening. They are making too much profit to hear anything. Too many people will blindly just buy the next iphone for nothing more than the label of doing so. Apple needs to be hit in both the supply end and the demand end to realize it needs to change its game up.

posted on 01 Oct 2011, 00:41

62. biophone (Posts: 1994; Member since: 15 Jun 2011)


Read the article because it destroys your argument. This changed my whole opinion about IP. With technology you have to build on ideas and bring your own parts of that idea. For example android took the app store and built on that. Which is ok. With the design part of technology you gotta be orginal though. You cant build on someone elses design. Thats why samsung who copied apples design is not ok. Even after steve jobs trued to negiotate with them they refused and in that case legal action must be taken. Look its ok to copy and build upon it but to blatently steal apple's charger and make it black is just a slap in the face. However apples lawsuit with htc are completly bogus based on nothing but some trivial features as those phones could not look more different. As far as working conditions it cant be just apple but the entire technology industry must be helping to aid workers in china. Its a broken system there and to just blame apple complelty ignores the problem.

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