Monday, May 03, 2010

Android Infiltration of the iPhone :: Creating Customer Value-Added

The above video shows how you can tether an iPad to the 3G on an Android phone. I've been thinking about things like this, as I'm part of a team developing mobile apps. I see the iPhone as a planned, gated community trying to keep things nice and most of the people are content. I see Android not so much as a counterculture, although the Linuxheads are in this camp, but a more haphazard community with more chaotic zoning and bumpier streets.

What has always bugged me about the iPad is that it's value-proposition for the consumer isn't clear to me and that quandary isn't likely to be answered until the it's known what content will be available for the iPad. The iPad has a great interface and has the potential to be a great media reading tool, but given competition from Android tablets, will it create a critical mass of users attracting a critical mass of developers. Is it a huge iTouch? A somewhat mobile web surfing device you can take anywhere that can replace some computing functions? The iPad requires synching with a computer, but also allows Internet access through WiFi or 3G wireless at a price premium of $130 in the US. So, if you have an Android phone with a data contract, you can use your data connection for that phone to surf on 3G.

What if you don't have an Android phone? Theoretically, there may be a way in the future to create an Android partition on an iPhone 3G and allow an iPad to surf on a wireless 3G data network. The drawback is that the iPhone will have to be booted into Android. Last momth, I've blogged about an "alpha" of a hack that allows Android to be run on an iPhone 2G. The same programmer is working on a iPhone 3G version, completing the multitouch driver and now working on the baseband SPI::

Where there are no promises that Android will eventually come to presumably jailbroken iPhone 3Gs, it appears that there's a decent probability that this can happen. The ability to use the iPhone as a wireless 3G modem can circumvent the fact that the iPhone cannot be tethered, due to AT&T's concerns about its data capacity. Even when tethering eventually rolls out, the additional costs will be $30/month or more. 

Here are some iPad cost scenarios in the US {I'll do Canada once the data pricing info. is available} that would allow use of wireless 3G, in addition to the cost of a WiFi-only iPad::
iPad wireless 3G= +$130
unlimited data = +$30/month
unlimited data & messaging = +50/month

or possibly in the future with tethering, if a consumer already has an iPhone::
iPad WiFi = +0
Tethering w/iPhone and 3G data = +$60/month {when available}
Costs of existing iPhone voice plan
Cost of iPhone

or using an Android partition on an iPhone & tethering iPad::
iPad WiFi = +0
unlimited data = +$30/month
unlimited data & messaging = +50/month
Costs of existing iPhone voice plan
Cost of iPhone

I'm all for maximizing value for the consumer and Apple ideally would create a set of complementary products that create lock-in and loyalty. Hypothetically, this would ideally include::
  1. iMac, Macbook, Macbook Pro for computing
  2. iPhone for telephony and 3G mobile data on iPhone or tethered
  3. iPad for managing and synching all media within one's local network {books, audio, images, video, etc.} with a WiFi, wireless data 3G, or tethered Internet link.
  4. Apple TV to link all media in one's network, AV home system, the Internet, and cable/satellite/broadcast signals.
Additional monthly charges would include::
  1. Mobile data
  2. Internet
  3. Tethering
  4. Cable/Satellite
Ideally, all of these would work together seamlessly. I'm not holding my breath. I think some of the problem is there's a focus on individual product development, which doesn't take a "systems" approach of how multiple products create convergences and synergies, adding value. Another issue is that part of the value-proposition is in the hands of other companies, such as AT&T.

What I'm hoping is that those developing on both Apple and Android platforms continue to take advantage of the good of both.

Song:: Stacey Kent-"They Can't Take That Away from Me"

Twitterversion:: Thoughts on the use of Android on the iPhone platform & how it can be used to create value that  cannot or will not dvel @Prof_K

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