I have a couple takeaways up front. First, Google’s surprise freebie of HTC EVOs at Google IO this year was incredibly smart, even if the 5,000 odd units they commandeered hurt the overall stock, in turn dominoing into an outage right after the official release.
Why? It immediately created an army of fanboi evangelists, including iPhone converts like me.
Case in point, last Friday, at Beer and Blog, a local geeky happy hour here in Portland, I found myself doing show and tell with my EVO to two would-be buyers (@skinny and @dieselboi), at least one a current iPhone owner.
This was very similar to the iPad show and tell we had with Aaron Hockley (@ahockley) right after its release. Turns out people know about the EVO and want one.
This, I did not know before Google IO anyway.
Which brings me to the second easy takeaway. Apple wins at marketing and will continue to do so until the carriers and Google get their collective acts together to get the word out about Android phones.
Apple has mastered the art of creating fanbois. For more, check out this timely piece from Gizmodo and fanboiism. Note, I’m sticking with fanboi because it creates an nice double i effect, like skiing.
Marketing is more an issue than the fact that the iPhone has a year’s lead time on Android. Looking back, the iPhone didn’t take off until iPhone 2.0 introduced the App Store and the 3G iPhone debuted in mid-2008. So, Apple had months of lead time, not years.
Not sure I’m on board with this study entirely, since it shows RIM at only 35% and Windows Mobile at 19%, which seems like a weird sample, but regarding brand loyalty, I believe it wholeheartedly as a converted iPhone user.
Before IO, I didn’t even know the HTC EVO existed. The Droid was the apex of Android phones, and the only reason I knew about the Droid is because of its advertising blitz during NFL games.
Not even kidding. I mostly ignored the blog coverage.
Why? Because I was happy with my iPhone.
I have high hopes that because of Sprint’s exclusive with the NFL that they will reach a lot more potential Android users in the upcoming 2010 NFL season.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t because I’m anti-iPhone. Quite the opposite. On the contrary, I want competition to drive innovation up and costs down so I can get more out of my phone.
Most of what was announced at WWDC this week was not a surprise, thanks to Gizmodo-gate, but for most, Steve Jobs’ assertion that “you won’t be disappointed” was accurate.
Case in point, this tweet.
I know Akshay (@dodeja) a little, and he’s no n00b. He is me, minus the free HTC EVO, i.e. the iPhone is great, everything else is noise about which I don’t care.
Again, marketing problem.
Never mind the fact that uber geeky features like tethering and mobile hotspot were not discussed (tethering) or not available in iOS4 (mobile hotspot).
Too bad these are not mainstream features that the average user wants. Chalk up one for Apple for knowing their user base.
Side bar, how funny was it that WWDC attendees, most notably Robert Scoble (@scobleizer), who also have HTC EVOs offered to allow Steve Jobs to connect to their mobile hotspots when his demo hit wifi saturation issues.
/me lolz for realz
What’s gone mostly unnoticed is the native Farmville app. This seems like a throw-in, but I suspect it’s a very shrewd move by Jobs and company. They know their customer base has expanded outside geeks. Having a native Farmville app appeals in a huge way to the average user, sadly.
Expect a compelling ad campaign around Farmville on iPhone from our friends in Cupertino.
The lasting impression I’m left with after WWDC is that Android needs marketing muscle. Specifically from the carriers and from Google too. Verizon found success with a traditional media blitz. Follow that model to gain mainstream adoption.
Anyway, there’s no shortage of coverage out there, e.g. Louis Gray’s (@louisgray) take as an EVO owner, so here are other fast observations:
- Longer battery life and awesome hardware, specifically retina display, are the top features. Battery is becoming a huge issue with the EVO.
- MIA are tethering details, mobile hotspot, 4G and most importantly, Verizon iPhone.
- Face Time isn’t really that big a deal when you consider that it’s possible today with the EVO plus Qik as Rich and Anthony demonstrated.
- AT&T continues to hamper the iPhone and iPad. Going with AT&T made sense in 2007 when iPhone was a gamble and needed international compatibility, but now, it’s a hindrance.
- Fewer apps in the Android Market is a boon to developers because it’s like the App Store circa 2008. Your app is more likely to be found. It’s a bane to consumers though, which is why Apple keeps pounding on that message.
What did you think of WWDC and the iPhone-related announcements? Find the comments.
Update: Less than an hour after I published this, I saw a Sprint ad for the EVO. Android needs more of this, talking total media blitz.