April 30, 2012

TechCrunc: Stop Rooting For The Underdog. Android Proved It Can Revive Companies

via Geek.com
Courtesy of TechCrunch, we learned today about a report from The Korea Herald stating that LG is planning to drop Windows Phone and refocus on Android devices. Naturally, TechCrunch's +Jordan Crook had something to say about that. Namely, she wishes LG would reconsider.

Her point is legitimate. LG has been having a hard time, and Ms. Crook points out that failing companies see a turnaround by betting on new technology, not going back to the same things they've already been doing.

Makes sense. Take a risk, and you can win big. But you can also lose everything. So, is there another way? A more proven way? Yes. Yes, there is. Creating great products that consumers care about. Currently, Windows Phone devices only have the first half of that equation.

Why Android?

Windows Phone devices get good reviews. They look nice. Why wouldn't you make them?

Well, because who cares? I'm not saying beauty doesn't matter. But how many people are buying their smartphones because of a pretty interface? iOS looks kinda nice. But ask any iPhone lover why they love it. You'll never hear them say, "Because it's pretty."

Besides, attractiveness is so subjective that you can't really say Windows Phone is prettier than Android. Woz may think so. But does everybody? I think my Android phone is pretty. I've got a picture of a sunset as the background, and Beautiful Widgets running on the home screen. Looks very nice.

Jordan Crook also talks about taking a risk on new technology. But is Windows Phone new technology? Sure Windows Phone is a good looking OS, but why would we buy it? What can it do that Android and iOS can't? I have yet to find an answer to that question aside from a few niche features.

Ms. Crook also notes that Nokia and Samsung betting on Windows Phone should speak volumes about the potential of the platform. But Samsung isn't really betting on Windows Phone. At best, they are using Windows Phone to hedge their bets by adding just a couple of WP devices to their dozens of Android ones.

Samsung is huge and can afford to develop multiple platforms side-by-side without sacrificing quality. LG doesn't have that luxury.

But what about Nokia? They went all in on Windows Phone, and they're a big company. Shouldn't LG take an example from the industry leader and follow suit?

Maybe if Nokia was still the industry leader. But since its decision to embrace Windows Phone, the company has given up its crown to Samsung. Nokia lost more than half of its value since announcing their switch to WP. Meanwhile Samsung got to be the leader almost exclusively because of their Android devices like Galaxy S II and Galaxy Note, according to their latest earnings report.

The Android platform has proven its power to grow companies. Not only did it propelled Samsung to the top of the food chain, it also revived Motorola's phone division. It has raised HTC from a no-name company to one of the most recognized names in smartphones. The Android platform even turned Amazon into the #2 tablet maker in the world.

Windows Phone is a good operating system. But it needs to overcome the tough hurdle of explaining why we need it. Until Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 come out and offer us a true ecosystem in which our laptop, phone, tablet, and TV (through X-Box) work seamlessly together, WP will continue to struggle and will not make sense as a real alternative to the Apple and Google ecosystems.

TechCrunch has a history of rooting for the underdog. They've praised BlackBerry OS when it was still young, then jumped ship to iPhone OS. When Android started gaining, they cheered it on. Once these got big, TechCrunch got quiet. Their new shiny toy is Windows Phone. The question is, what happens if Windows Phone succeeds? Will TechCrunch have to start rooting for Boot to Gecko? Maybe call for return of Symbian? We can wait and see, but only if you believe Windows Phone will ever rise that high.