More than two years after its launch, Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone is still the gadget to beat in the mobile industry. While competition has gotten a little better, it’s still a cut below. Google’s (GOOG) Android, for instance, is one of the most promising rivals — and so far, one of the most underwhelming.
- “Start by copying what Apple has done right.” One phone per year. Cut the 18-models-of-the-same-thing crap, even if that’s what your carrier partners want.
- “Don’t aim for the middle of the market.” Aim for the super-high end — the 500,000 people who would line up for the best mobile device in the world, no matter who makes it.
- Make sure it’s better than the iPhone “in every possible way.” Figure out what you can do better than Apple and “promote the hell out of” it.
- emphasise stuff that Apple doesn’t allow, like background processing and all those rejected apps.
- Make the phone a little thicker and emphasise battery life. Screw removable batteries, though — they make the phone feel cheap.
- Apple-esque branding. No logos on the front! No carrier logos, either.
- Aim high. Then aim higher than that. Then aim higher again. “If Apple is BMW, you can be Porsche.”
- Read more at Daring Fireball >
This is a solid idea, and one that a few companies are probably capable of if they have the discipline to keep going until it’s awesome — and not accept second-rate crap. Palm is one of them, HTC could be another. And before the iPhone came along, the phones we were most impressed by were made by Sony Ericsson. How about a real attempt there under the new CEO?
Why bother? Gruber doesn’t spell it out here, but smartphones — especially the super-high-end — can carry excellent profit margins and drive huge revenues. That’s a big reason why Apple’s share of the mobile industry’s operating profits is much higher than its share of unit sales.
Meanwhile, we’d note that this seems to be the opposite approach of what Motorola is doing — using Google Android as the basis for a slew of midrange phones that won’t be very impressive, but could be good enough for the big market of cheaper spenders. But who knows — it’s also possible that Motorola is working on some super-high-end stuff that we haven’t heard about, too.
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