Tuesday, July 12, 2011

State of Emotional State of Mobile Fans

If you're an Android fan, you probably feel like the world whole is against your favorite mobile platform and Google and just about everyone is trying to do whatever they can legally to make it happen.  You're not alone. These days, all fanboys and advocates of every mobile platform probably feel like the whole world is against them.

The latest example is the Nortel patent bids in which a consortium lead by Apple outbid Google.  And while Google wasn't exactly ally-less, it had Intel on its side, doom and gloom about its enemies using those patents to suppress and isolate Android.  And then we also have to ask why was Sony allied with Apple, the folks who bring us the Xperia devices running on Android.  Where was Samsung, Motorola, and HTC?  Why did they not come to Google's aid with their own billions?  

Then there are all those dozens or so lawsuits against Android device makers on like four continents.  Heck, Microsoft likely makes more money from patent fees than selling Windows Phone licenses.  

And Apple fans are always embattled no matter what.  And they certainly find those lawsuits that Apple has lobbed against Android phone makers justified.  Everyone has taken to Steve Jobs and Tim Cook's line that Apple patented the heck out of the iPhone and won't be shy about defending it.  And they haven't.  

Still, in Appledom, since the original iPod, has had to face a number of iPod, iPhone, and iPad killers for more than a decade. Yes, there are even iPod touch and Macbook Air killers on slow news days.

So, let's continue on to other platforms.

As for Blackberry fans, the Palm and, now Web OS, fans can sympathize.  After owning the PDA market, Palm's market lead was usurped by Windows Mobile phones.  And misfire after misfire including the latest Touchpad, Web OS still has yet to gain any noticeable mind-share among mobile warriors outside of a few hard-core users.

Fans of RIM had hoped that Playbook would give them a rally cry after RIM missed a couple of quarters worth of earnings (while still extremely profitable) and slowing growth (still growth but just not as fast as competitors).  Of 400K shipped, RIM CEOs, during the last financial call, pointedly said there was no data on sell through but moments later they were happy with their data on Playbook sell through.  Which is it?  

And the delays, delays, delays.  All that has led blogs to swamp the subject of RIM in trouble and rumors of buyouts.  I'm not as close to Blackberry as I am with the other platforms but I do know what BB fans are going through.  While Apple and Palm went through their own dark days, RIM's darkest day so far has them putting billions in the bank.  

Oh, and we come to Windows Phone.  With Mango, the next major update from Microsoft, there is hope.  I don't know if these fan boys feel as embattled as the rest.  This is a brand new platform.  It certainly has its fans but it's too early for them to feel like the world is out to get Microsoft.  We'll revisit this someday.  But these fans should know that Microsoft is a seasoned corporation with a lot of tricks up its sleeve.

Now, let me throw in the video handheld guys.  Let's just focus on Nintendo.  It's DS line has made Mario and friends billions but iOS has come along and really disturb things.  But if anyone has as loyal a following as Apple, its Nintendo.  And there was hope that the 3DS would put all the naysayers to rest but dismal sales and lack of games has only reinforced the idea that Nintendo is no longer with the times.

And the slow roll-out of the update was irritant, speaking as a happy 3DS owner.  I reckon the next handheld from Nintendo will resemble more of a smartphone than just a dedicated gaming device.  Speaking optimistically, I think the Japanese gaming giant has had a lot of time to learn from the market.  Realistically, any changes won't come until after gaming market evolves even more.  

Nintendo is going to have to go after a fast moving target and hit a bull's-eye.  If anyone can accomplish the impossible, it's Nintendo.  The new unreleased Wii might give it some time and fans something to cheer about.  But time is short and we will be reminded on a daily basis just how Android and iOS are eating away at what is traditionally Nintendo's domain.  

So in conclusion.  Fan boys everywhere.  As long as the progenitors of your mobile platform continue to innovate and compete hard, you have every reason to be proud of the mobile selection you've made.  There is no reason to feel insecure or paranoid.  However, yes, everyone is out to get you.

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