John Gruber on what Android smartphone makers need to do to compete with Apple’s iPhone.
Start by copying what Apple has done right. Release one new phone per year, every year. Split that one phone into separate models by storage size, keeping all other specs the same. Apple has shown you can make a lot of money by charging an extra $100 for less than $100 worth of flash memory. One single phone gives developers a single device to target, and makes it easier on consumers. It also gives the press a single device to focus its attention on.
So far, Android smartphone sales have been anemic, as have sales of Palm’s Pre, the most iPhone-like smartphone. Why is everyone aiming so low?
The goal should be to make a phone that is better than the iPhone. Better. Even if that means more expensive (although you should do what you can, including eat into your profit margins), to match or come close to the iPhone’s price. Remember, the original iPhone launched with a sale price of $599 and people lined up hundreds deep to get one.
I was one who stood in line for an original iPhone, then stood in line again for an iPhone 3G, then again for an iPhone 3GS (and paid the penalty for my contract). Why? Each model was better than the last.
If your goal is to sell more smartphones than Apple, you’re going to fail. If your hope is to gain a strong foothold in the market with a sub-par device, you are mistaken. So aim high, and set your goals such that you can smugly claim victory with just a fraction of Apple’s unit sales. If Apple is BMW, you can be Porsche.
Who can do what Gruber recommends?