Episode 062

On this week’s episode, James and Stefan discuss Samsung’s ridiculous dominance of the Android landscape, why HTC is in the dumps, LG’s new super-duper-OMG 5.5 inch LCD with more pixels than one knows what to do with, and carrot cake.

As always, feedback is always appreciated, and if you iTunes to listen to the program, do rate it as it helps attract new listeners.

[Episode 062, 34 minutes, 27 seconds, 31.5 MB]

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Episode 062

7 thoughts on “Episode 062

  1. I enjoyed this week’s, except for the HTC bit… I don’t think you justified your opinions enough. You assert that HTC don’t do well as they’re too reactive based on their CEO’s whims – but there’s no evidence for this. You say apple/samsung have designs for future phones – you’ve as much evidence of that as for HTC’s plans. Similarly there’s the oft-repeated opinion that HTCs lack of vertical integration (they don’t make their components) is another reason they’re not doing well – but again a lack of “why”… do Samsung have key technical innovation they withhold from the likes of HTC? The technical parity of the S4 and One suggests not? Apple’s integration advantage is clearly the hardware + software, rather than the components – I’m not sure how much of an advantage touchwiz is? Anyhow, enough rambling devil’s advocacy…

    As for LG’s new panel – I like hearing about the tech in advance. It means we can speculate on what future devices will look like and in what timeframe…though I guess MOAR PIXELZ is inevitable – i fully expect 4k displays real-soon-now. It’s annoying hearing about nice tech then it not appearing… Quallcomm’s mirasol anyone?

  2. rcadden says:

    Great episode, as per usual. My thoughts:

    1. Enjoyed the HTC part, as well, but like Iain, I was a bit disappointed in your assumptions. HTC actually started as a company that can just quickly throw a phone out – in the U.S., at least, they originally started by making white-label phones for the carriers to call their own. Also, their approach can be good for consumers when you look at how ‘hackable’ or ‘moddable’ it is – the HTC HD2 stands out as one of the only phones in the past decade that can run pretty much anything you can throw at it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTC_HD2). While that’s a niche, it also stands to reason that it keeps HTC rather nimble from a mobile perspective – whatever the leading OS is, it’s highly likely they could throw it on a phone and ship within months. Similarly, in the market, there are two strategies (this is Marketing 101) the leader and the follower. You can be successful as the leader because you get to set the pace and direction for the industry. You can also be successful as a follower (believe it might be called ‘quick mover’ or something else, forgot the title) if you’re nimble (and being able to get a phone on the market in 3 months is certainly nimble…) enough. Think about that Chinese iPhone 5 knock-off that was built off the rumors and actually hit the market BEFORE the real iPhone 5 did. There’s money to be made there. It’s obvious that HTC isn’t taking advantage of their position, but the fact is, they *could* even with a short-sighted approach to planning.

    2. For tiny phones, look at the Pantech C300. It was sold on AT&T for a while a few years ago and was highlighted as fitting on your keychain. Ridiculous.

    3. The other big factor for a smartwatch with a SIM card that you both missed is the incredible unlikelyhood that any consumer would want one. Not because it would be a horrid user experience (it would, for sure), but because you’re going to have to have a SIM card in it. Odds are, at least in the U.S. where greed abounds, the carriers aren’t going to realize it’s a freakin watch, they’re going to want you to get a normal plan for it, which is going to be around $50/mo on the cheap side, with a 2-year contract and 2GB/mo of data. And since it has its own radios, the watch itself is likely to be $300+ on the cheap side. Ridiculous. Bluetooth watches that sync with your smartphone, on the other hand, don’t require that extra ~$600/yr for the SIM card. THAT’S the real problem, IMO, with smartwatches with SIM cards.

    4. The cake literally had me LOL. The only thing that would have been better is if they encased the phone inside, turned on, with the camera recording so they could see your reaction when you think it’s a phone and it turns out to be a cake. I’d totally watch that, repeatedly.

    5. THANK YOU for taking the time to qualify the stats that you talked about before talking about them. It’s so frustrating to see people take things like that as fact and not keep in mind the limitations inherent to the ‘study’, such as the phone having to pass through Flurry Analytics’ servers, etc.

    6. Stefan – you should force James to finish his coffee before you hit the record button EVERY week.

    Questions:

    1. Sounds like you both agree that our next big thing in the mobile industry is going to focus on the ‘smart’ part of ‘smartphone’ – intelligence for your technology to do things without you having to tell it to every stinking time. The irony of this is not lost on me, given how much I told James that Motorola’s Smart Actions were the bee’s knees, to much skepticism. It’s OK, I forgive you. Not that either of you will be able to play with one anytime soon, but the Moto X seems to be a step in this direction. (Sorry, that wasn’t really a question….)

  3. Question:

    You both seem very dismissive of Windows Phone and Nokia’s allegiance to it. Do you not think that in 5 to 10 years time as offices across the world update all their dektops to Windows 8 and/or its successors, smartphones running a Windows OS will have an advantage over other OSs (OSes?) because people will gravitate toward what they’re used to? So, are Microsoft and Nokia playing the long game (assuming they can survive long enough for this to happen)?

    @theaardvark

    1. rcadden says:

      When Windows 8 came out, I set myself up with a Windows 8 computer and a Windows Phone 8 device, to see how that interaction really played out. To be honest, it was no different than any other phone and Windows 8.

      IF Microsoft is going to sell that, they need to look at some serious integration, ala BlackBerry and the Playbook – syncing of files, stock apps, etc. Just looking and feeling similar isn’t going to do it, as they learned with Windows Mobile years ago.

    2. Also, you assume companies’ dependence on Windows (and by extension traditional PCs and laptops) will continue. MS’s grip on the enterprise is definitely still strong but I do believe it is already beginning to weaken.

      The rise of mobiles, tablets (whether company-issued or BYOD) works against them since they are weak in those markets. Additionally the trend of migrating apps onto the web reduces the dependence on any particular device or OS since all you need is a web browser.

      In summary, there’s a less and less reasons for companies to stick with Windows on the desktop. Therefore whatever real or perceived integration benefits there may be with Windows Phone become less and less valuable.

      Nobody can accurately predict where we’ll be in 5-10 years. However, I would not be surprised if MS was in a weaker position than they are now. Assuming Nokia remains wedded to them they’d be correspondingly worse off too.

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