Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lineup Same Now.. Let the Game Begin

Lineup same now.. well almost...

The lineup of devices is now the same between Apple and Google.. Phone, Tablet & Mini Tablet..

While Apple introduced a mini version of its popular iPad lastweek, Google announced a maxi version of its tablet called Nexus 10 this week.  Now both of them have a phone, mini and maxi tablets.  But that's where the similarities end.

Before we see the differences, Let me first disclose that I am 'Google fan' and have two of the three devices in discussion (older versions of phone and mini tablet).  That said, ironically typing this post on a Mac Book Air.. (that story for a different day..).

Now to the differences:

Price - Google devices are lot cheaper than the Apple's across all 3 devices for comprable or higher spec.  But, is that alone sufficient to wean the customers away from Apple?  While the price variance might not matter that much in mature markets, would be a factor in growth markets like India.  With a price difference of about INR 5000+ for any comprable device between Apple and Android, the later clearly rules. (Interestingly, Nexus devices are not officially available in India yet.. hope they do so soon.. ).

The business of Locking Phones - There is a perfect collusion between phone manufacturers and telco companies in most of the major markets.  (There is of course a business rationale spin for this !!!!)   In fact, it exists for Apple phones in India as well.  Google is not playing that game and anyone can buy Nexus 4 for USD 299 while an unlocked iPhone will cost USD 750 in US and the same is close to 45,000+ in India.  Is that kind of price differential worth to have Apple in my hands?  I don't think so..

Store - This is where Apple wins hands down.  They have lot more entrenched iTunes store than the new kid on the block - Google Play.  But Google is fast catching up and the difference would become negligible very soon.

So, if you are in the market to buy a phone or tablet this festive season.. what should you buy?  My take is, the real question is not about an isolated device.. but about the eco-system.  I woud n't recommend buying an Apple phone and Google tablet or vice versa.

Apple and Google are creating two different eco-systems and will continue to tightly integrate and make it difficult for customers to switch.  Both of them will keep playing catch up game through every launch.  So the real question is what eco-system you prefer..

If you are used Google mail, Google Drive, instant upload and other google accessories.. then stick with Android.. but  If you are an Apple fan and like Mac, iTunes & iCloud then go the Apple route... Regardless of your choice, I wouldn't recommend mixing up the devices.. ie,, Apple phone and Android tablet.

So what about Microsoft and Nokia in this game? Ask me this question next year... I might have a view... but for now.. both are in the catchup mode.. lagging far behind.

Before you ask about Blackberry.. they lost the plot..

ps: this comparison is mainly about mobile devices and does not include Laptops.. There is of course a big gap here for Google and they must be cooking up something.. and that might not be Chrome devices :-)