Competition Moderates Phone Prices

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-10-25 Print this article Print


5. It brings other software vendors into the fold

The nice thing about competition is it allows other companies to break into a market. Too often, there are markets that are dominated by a single firm that provide no points of entry for smaller startups. But with more competition, it's easier for a product to make a name for itself. In the mobile OS market, that's especially the case. Right now, Windows Phone 7 and Samsung's Bada operating system are slowly but surely making inroads, even as Android and iOS continue to dominate. If only one OS was dominating, who knows if those operating systems would even have a chance?

6. Tablets will only improve

The big issue in the tablet space is that there is really only one company-Apple-building the devices people want. But with competition from Android and help from vendors, that might soon change. Take, for example, the expected December launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire. That device, which goes on sale for just $199, is designed to establish a foothold in the tablet market. If it's successful, it will also help Android become a more worrisome competitor to iOS. Will it take down the iPad? Probably not. But it will arguably be the first product to prove that other companies besides Apple can succeed in tablets. It's relying on Android to do it.

7. It pushes prices down

The nice thing about competition is that it typically pushes prices down. After all, if a company that's losing on features can't gain an upper hand, its best option is to win on price. In the mobile OS market, Android and iOS pricing isn't at play, but handset pricing is. Apple has been forced to keep iPhone and iPad pricing the same because of the threats it faces from competitors running Android. Companies running Android on their devices are also wary of pricing products too high for fear of looking too expensive against the iPhone. Make no mistake, Android and iOS competition is keeping smartphone and tablet prices down. And looking ahead, they might decline even further.

8. Consider the advertising angle

There's more to the competition between Android and iOS than just market share. Currently, both Apple and Google are trying to gain a stranglehold on the mobile-advertising market. Apple has iAd, while Google has AdMob. Thanks to the competition between those firms, neither company has been able to fully take control over the mobile-ad market. That's a good thing because the more competition in that space, the easier it is for users to avoid unwanted and intrusive ads.

9. It splits cyber-criminal focus

As we've seen in the desktop operating system space, when a single platform has all the market share, cyber-criminals will focus on it because that is where the most potential profit is. It's the reasons why Windows is targeted each day and Mac OS X is a harder nut to crack for cyber-criminals. In the mobile space, however, cyber-criminals can't focus all their efforts on a single platform since the market is bifurcated mainly between iOS and Android. That makes it harder for cyber-criminals to seriously compromise the security of either Android or iOS, and it gives Apple and Google more time to contain outbreaks.

10. It gives enterprise users more options

Prior to the launch of the iPhone, enterprise users really only had one option available to them: BlackBerry. Since then, however, with Android and iOS putting pressure on RIM in the corporate world, companies have three-and if you include Windows Phone 7, four-options available to them when deciding to deploy new smartphones. In the IT space, having more options is extremely important. And thanks to the competition Android and iOS are bringing to the market, IT managers have all the options they need.

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Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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