iPhone 7 Versus Google Pixel

Today, Google announced their new smartphone: the Google Pixel, priced identically to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. I've been trying to think of reasons why someone may choose to buy either device, besides purely Android or iOS preference. 

So, I made a list:

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

£599 - £719

  • Dual Cameras: 2x Optical Zoom
  • Optical Image Stabilisation
  • Water Resistance
  • 3D Touch
  • Taptic Engine
  • A10 Fusion Chip
  • Stereo Speakers
  • 7000 Series Aluminium
  • Apple Stores in Every Major City
  • iCloud Backup
  • The App Store
  • Included Headphones
  • Software Updates on Day 1

Google Pixel and Pixel XL

£599 - £719

  • Unlimited Photo Backup
  • Fast Charging
  • Daydream VR Support
  • Headphone Jack

Samsung Captured 95% of Android Profits in Q1

As a platform, Android is quite poor by a surprisingly large number of metrics: New version uptake statistics are very slow — which isn’t helped by carriers. The paid app business on Android is generally considered bleak, too — even more so when directly compared to iOS.

(And remember that Google makes four times more money from iOS than Android.)

Ex-Android Chief Surprisingly Active on Facebook, Not on Google+

Speaking of Facebook Home, it’s interesting that Andy Rubin, until recently head of Android at Google (with a “not amicable” departure?), is more active on Facebook than Google+.

I wonder what Google thinks about Facebook’s announcement today. And did Rubin know anything about it?

HP, Google, Android and Microsoft

Speaking of Gruber, his take on the HP/Android situation matches mine. Quoting Taylor Wimberly, John writes:

It’s a bit of a Hail Mary pass for HP, which has fallen years behind its rivals in the mobile space. It’s also a big win for Google, which adds another powerful partner to the Android ecosystem.

And a loss for Microsoft. This might add some context to Microsoft’s recent investment in Dell — HP seemingly doesn’t see a future in Windows or Windows Phone.

Microsoft’s stake in the recent Dell buyout is starting to look pretty defensive.

iOS Web Usage Over Twice as High as Android, Android Sales Numbers Called into Question

Daniel Eran Dilger, Apple Insider:

The fact that iOS is more than twice as popular on the web as all Android devices combined calls into question market statistics by research firms such as IDC, which recently stated that Apple's share of the tablet market had fallen to 43.6% of worldwide tablet sales. That report was presented by Adrian Covert of CNNMoney to state that "Android is the new king of tablet market share."

How does Android, with its reported huge sales and massive install base, make up for less than half the web browsing usage of iOS?

Microsoft and Dell, Sitting in a Tree…

Some interesting information about Microsoft’s involvement in Dell’s plans to go private have surfaced (pardon the pun). Peter Bright at Ars has the story:

According to one of the people involved, "under one scenario being discussed, Dell would agree to use Microsoft's Windows software to power the vast majority of its devices."

Given that this is how Dell already operates, it appears that Microsoft may be trying to prevent any radical reorganization or departure from the PC market. A desire to substantially alter the way the company does business, including breaking its dependency on PC sales, is believed to underpin Dell's desire to go private in the first place.

Looks like the rumours were partly accurate.

Dell Playing With Android, Makes Sense

Here’s another Ars piece, this time written by Sean Gallagher, talking about a new report suggesting Dell might be making some bold changes to turn the company around. It certainly needs it:

Dell has been moving gradually away from its consumer PC roots for the past five years. The company's desktop and mobile computer business has suffered in the global PC-buying slump of the last year. Its consumer segment has been losing money, while the enterprise business outside of PC sales accounts for a majority of Dell’s revenue. But the stock market has been punishing Dell as it has tried to shift focus. The company has lost 43 percent of its market capitalization over that time[.]

So, how’s Dell planning to fix these problems?

[R]elaunching Dell's desktop and mobile business around a brand-new product: a computing device the size of a thumb-drive that will sell for about $50.

What could possibly go wrong?

I think what’s interesting to take away from this story is what I said about the Surface just last week:

The surface, with its Apple-esque 30%+ margins, is a way for Microsoft to keep revenue and profit high, without manufacturers like Asus and Dell paying $50 a pop for a Windows license… Manufacturers who could easily switch to making hardware for Android — which lacks this hefty fee.

Why the Microsoft Surface Exists

Not sure why I haven’t linked to this before now, but Horace Dediu (who is still biting his nails, for those keeping track) has written a fascinating article explaining how the Surface fits into Microsoft’s plan for the future.

In short, tablets are where the growth is happening in larger-than-phone computing — and Microsoft has little presence there. In traditional PC sales, Microsoft receives around $50 for a license of Windows, and $67 for a license of Office.

The surface, with its Apple-esque 30%+ margins, is a way for Microsoft to keep revenue and profit high, without manufacturers like Asus and Dell paying $50 a pop for a Windows license… Manufacturers who could easily switch to making hardware for Android — which lacks this hefty fee. Sometimes, Google will even pay manufacturers to use Android.

It seems that Android is doing more harm to Microsoft than I originally realised — Google might be going after third party device manufacturers. Smart.

HTC Income Falls 91% Year on Year

Smart point by MG Siegler. I’ve been wary of Android as a business for a while. It certainly seems the only company making money from Android is Samsung.

Not Google, not HTC, not anyone else.

And Samsung, the biggest Android handset maker, is flirting with leaving the platform. This could be the story of 2013.

The Worrying Future of Android

As ever, some great analysis of data by Horace:

Samsung’s success is dependent on having ridden on the back of Android. [...] Meanwhile, indications are that “mobile” is causing a contraction in Google’s margins.

I think the story here isn't that Samsung is making more money from Android than Google is, but instead that as Google enters the mobile space further, their margins decrease. This seems counterintuitive and can't be a good sign for the company.

We know that Google makes significantly more money from iOS users than from Android users. That fact, coupled with this new revelation, seems to indicate an unpredictable and worrying future for the platform.

As Horace concludes:

If nothing else, Android has created a very interesting industry.

Very interesting indeed.