How Many Android Gadgets Do We Wish?
The Verge founder Josh Topolsky both marveled at and lamented the sheer volume of smartphones, tablets and other consumer devices trotted out at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show.
Topolsky hosted a panel where he pressed Samsung and HTC marketing executives on "whether or not technology manufacturers were simply producing too many gadgets, outpacing real consumer demand with iterative, insubstantial changes."
Complaining that there are too many mobile devices at CES is like complaining there there is a choir singing in a Christian church, but he's entitled to his opinion. More to the point, he's right.
I've made this complaint before vis-a-vis Android gadgets.
As someone who has tested literally dozens of Android smartphones and tablets since November 2009 (along with some Windows Phones, iPads and Research In Motion's Blackberry PlayBook, I can vouch for the oversaturation of gadgets based on that OS.
The problem I've come up against occurs on a personal level. My Motorola Droid X is under contract with Verizon Wireless until November 2012, though I can upgrade my hardware this August.
Every few months, I test a new Android handset and think 'This will be my next phone." The first time this happened with Samsung's Droid Charge, which blew me away by dint of its muscular feel and 4G LTE power:
I was hung up on that phone for months until the Motorola Droid Razr hit my hand last November. What a sweet freakin phone! Thin, strong, with Kevlar and 4G LTE speedy.
Who needs a Motorola Droid Bionic, essentially a faster Droid X, when you can get a Razr?
Alas, later today I will receive from Motorola its Droid Razr Maxx, the Razr with double the battery life, capable of lasting 21 hours. That's right up my alley.
And yet I fear something better will come along between now and August, when it's hardware-upgrade time.
This has happened in tablets, too. I've loved my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 ever so much until the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus stole my heart by being speedy and portable.
You see my dilemma? Maybe you think it's a nice one to have.
Google, Android OEMs and carriers like to tout the choice before consumers in the market,
Personally, I think 30 different phones are enough to choose from, but there are more than 300 Android handsets available today. That's insane to me, and many of them aren't getting bought.
Maybe 100 is more reasonable. OEMs have to make money somehow and tens of millions of people are buying smartphones each year. Is variety the spice of demand in consumer electronics? Perhaps.
I used to scoff at Apple's boring, one-phone-a-year release rate. Now it's not looking so silly, especially after the company just sold 37 million iPhones in the last quarter alone.
You'd have to tap Samsung's whole Galaxy S and S II lines, which span a dozen phones, plus throw in some others, to equal that.
On the other hand, more Android phone means more devices to review for readers to get a handle on, which is good for me and eWEEK. So I won't complain, even if consumers do.