A Smartphone for Jim
-How a construction worker and new data show signs of a mobile tipping point.
I recently celebrated an event in New York's Central Park. As I was taking a quiet, 10-minute break from the event, I decided to sit down on a park bench in the shade—next to Jim, a large construction worker resembling Santa Clause. However, it wasn't Jim's size or jelly belly that caught my attention. There are plenty of entertaining people here in NYC to keep you entertained for hours. Jim was in fact a very normal man. He was actually the foreman of the invisibly loud construction scene behind us that I so natively allowed to fade into the background on my relaxing, shady break. You see, what Jim did that really got my attention was simply that he pulled out a Droid-powered smartphone and 'went to town'.
Me: "Is that a new Droid phone?
Me: "Why didn't you get an iPhone?"
Jim: "I didn't need all the fancy stuff. I just need it to do xy and z.
And i have Verizon. they're more dependable I hear."
Me (As I pointed at the Google logo on his phone):
"Did you know that your phone was in fact operated by Google."
Jim (looking down at the logo): "Oh.Yea."
Jim's confusion is the result of a common brand problem found in the technology and consumer electronics product category. Complex products made up of many products, parts and technology from many places sometimes create a marketplace of commoditized, no-name shelf products, with the lowest price eventually always winning. Microsoft, Dell, and Intel all know about this problem.
Daily Encounters + Market Data = Observing Movements
My encounter with Jim and the fact that right now, more people are buying Google Droid based phones than iPhones should hopefully convince you that smartphones are in fact ready for everyone. We really live in a time where everyone is connected, or at least can connect from anywhere. Jim was taking a break, he sat down took a picture and connected it to his email which connected it to his wife.
Google's opportunity is taking credit for a part of Jim's life.
How do you take credit for making Jim's shady break better? This is Google's challenge precisely—being able to package up what they offer (technology/service) and sell it on a shelf-ready for a person like Jim to understand. As more and more handsets decide to run Google over Os giants like Windows and Apple, Google is gaining early adoption amongst a larger, less image heavy consumer market (aka. everyone without iPhones). In essence, people like Jim. As demand for a more powerful communication devices grow, Google is in an early position for potential long-term dominance.
The only thing that may possibly stopping this tipping point from truly taking hold and establishing Google as a hand-held operating system leader will be their ability to get everyday people like Jim to even give them credit for it, or even noticing at all. Assuming Apple has it's cult comprised of the latest and greatest tech-seekers, and Windows and Blackberry will cover the business sector, Google's opportunity (as the market is growing right now) is in everyone else, and that's a massive opportunity.
See some of the latest stats, and follow two related discussions on this topic in detail: