Some Terrible Android Advice

I just came across an article which was horrifying to me as it gives advice which is so wrong it should be outlawed. To be fair, the article written by Elizabeth Woyke over at Forbes explains survey results from Haydn Shaughnessy head of research for the Conversation Group, a London-based communications agency.

Shaughnessy explains how OHA vendors should attack the market. Here are some of his thoughts:

Most of the commentary focused on the G1’s ability to challenge the iPhone, pitting the two devices in a head-to-head battle. Unfortunately for Google and G1 maker HTC, the majority of commentators concluded that the G1 lagged the iPhone in critical ways, such as style/design, features and sales potential. The upshot: A lot of G1 coverage ended up promoting a rival device, the iPhone, instead.

The solution to a device which isn’t as good as the iPhone should be – build a better device. Right?

Instead the advice is as follows:

Google should formulate a more coordinated communications strategy for the rest of the OHA to follow. Part of the strategy should focus on nurturing a blogging community that is specifically interested in Android products–a necessity, says Shaughnessy, to offset the influence of the many Apple centric blogs that enthusiastically cover iPhone news. While some influential tech blogs, including Engadget, wrote favorably about the G1, other big names like Boy Genius Report and VentureBeat consistently took a more negative view, according to the report.

Oh and it gets worse – check this out:

Shaughnessy also recommends that OHA members communicate with consumers more directly and try to “disassociate” Android from the iPhone, so that coverage of new Android gadgets moves beyond what he calls the “iPhone/Android duopoly.”

Thought that was it? Check out this nugget:

These challenges aren’t unique to Android. “There are a lot of device manufacturers scratching their heads, wondering how to get the kind of attention online that the iPhone gets,” says Shaughnessy.

Once again, the advice to Google should be to improve the device.

I have been an enthusiastic supporter of the iPhone but prior to this device I made a career out of ignoring all things Apple. I am the person who brought desktop publishing to TMC in the mid-eighties and chose to do so on the PC platform as I was such a PC fan and saw no long-term future for the Mac.

You have no idea how difficult it was to design magazines on a PC back then. The software stunk.

Still, I think I made the right decision then and now.

I am still not a huge fan of the Mac OS but the iPhone has taken a device category which once had clumsy interfaces which were impossible for the average person to use and made them simple to operate. Its genius is its simplicity and that has led to massive market-share growth and a cult-like following from application developers and a new wave of users like me.

I remember when I picked up my first Android-based device I was excited. I wanted it to be better than the iPhone. I walked away unimpressed – maybe disappointed is a better word.

The simple solution to the problem once again is to make a better phone. Make it powerful and easy to use and the rest will take care of itself. Any other advice is simply a waste of time.

Unlike some who love Apple products – regardless of what they are, when I write, I tell you the honest truth. Many other bloggers do the same and they know what the competition is doing — and they will tell their readers. You will find it really hard to influence them in any way other than making superior products.

  • Haydn SHaughnessy
    July 8, 2009 at 6:34 am

    Hey Rich, thanks for commenting on the Forbes article covering our Surviving in iPhone Territory. Couple of points I should make.
    The research was a competitor analysis rather than a product analysis so it starts from the premise: You are in this market with this product, how best can you use your talents to market it on the web?
    The second point is you draw attention to a really valuable use of the web – understanding consumer opinion and user needs around feature sets. That’s a really great use of the web and one we at The Conversation Group advocate to our clients.
    One other point – it’s difficult for handset manufacturers to define the best phone or a better phone – better phone for which market segment. That’s something our pioneering conversational analysis can also help with.
    Best wishes

  • Rich Tehrani
    July 8, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Thanks for the comment Haydn — Very logical and well thought-out. I do submit to you however that the iPhone breaks the old barriers of which phone is best for what. This device is being used by college kids and enterprises alike (whether MIS departments like it or not).
    In addition, when you can take a single platform and produce dozens of millions of units your costs come down so low that you can afford to price a smartphone at or near the cost of the cheapest clamshell feature-starved device on the market.
    BTW: I want the Android phone to be very successful as such an outcome makes all phones better.
    Another point worth making is I would submit that those bloggers who were negative on Android have been extremely positive on Google as a whole — Wave, Gmail, etc. Point being, the problem is not the bloggers — it is the device — or OS on the device coupled with the poor form factor/UI.

  • haydn
    July 9, 2009 at 3:29 am

    I was very struck by a Jonathan Ives interview in Business week recently where he said we don’t make a huge range of products, and he implied the reason is it is so hard to make great product. I certainly think the handset industry could learn this lesson – fewer but far better products. Thansk for starting this debate Rich.

  • rey
    August 16, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I agree with your comment and well said.

  • Ben
    August 18, 2009 at 1:15 am

    Yes, very well said.

  • Noureen
    August 23, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Apple product are good for average consumers.

  • Joshan
    September 5, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Hydan, I totaly agree with you. Well said.

  • evlilik yıldönümü hediyesi
    November 22, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Apple product are good for average consumers

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