back to article iPhone 6: The final straw for Android makers eaten alive by the data parasite?

Today's long overdue update to Apple's iPhone line - which had been moribund for years - look set to squeeze some rival manufacturers to death. New iPhones at last means that Android, Google's smartphone middleware, will soon look attractive only for budget vendors selling into fast-growing emerging markets. The problem, in a …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uneducated toss.

    Sony's problem is nothing to do with Android, or it's products, both of which are fine. Their problems are quite simply:

    1. The US market is controlled by the networks, if networks don't carry your handsets, you don't sell handsets.

    2. China and India are emerging markets, and Sony only make mid and high end phones.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Uneducated toss.

      Your point 2 is valid. Point 1 however is not - haven't you noticed (by sales volumes, and by phones not coming to the States) that the US market is becoming irrelevant for anyone but Apple?

      1. Anonymoist Cowyard

        Re: Uneducated toss.

        ... because of network deals....

        That premium price tag that comes with the iphone. Part of that money goes to keep the networks sweet, part of it goes keeping the media sweet.

        Sorry to say, when you buy an iPhone, you are directly funding press jollies, fine dining and all sorts of other perks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Uneducated toss.

          Maybe the networks are just suppling what the customers are demanding and the want Apple smartphones not 2nd rate Sony handsets.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Uneducated toss.

            The problem is of course, the Z3 isn't a "2nd rate Sony handset", it totally destroys pretty much every phone on the market, in every area. It's got a better camera than anything out there (including the iPhone6), and it's fast fluid, it's waterproof, much better battery life than anything Apple has.

            If you were one of the mugs that lined up for an iphone6, just because you assumed it must be the best product out there, as there are other people also queuing, then sorry, you just joined the queue of mugs.

            1. Frank Bough

              Re: Uneducated toss.

              If it's so great why doesn't anyone want it?

            2. Graphsboy

              Re: Uneducated toss.

              Are you sure the Z3 is the best?:

              The Telegraph reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6 Plus: ‘It’s peerless’

              TechCrunch reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6: ‘The best smartphone available’

              USA Today’s Baig reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6/Plus: ‘Smartphone stars’

              Walt Mossberg reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6: ‘The best smartphone on the market’

              The Wall Street Journal reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6: ‘The best smartphone you can buy’

              These guys certainly don't agree with you

            3. danbi

              Re: Uneducated toss.

              ... the Z3 isn't a "2nd rate Sony handset", it totally destroys pretty much every phone on the market,...

              I had not noticed the existence of the Z3 had any impact on my iPhone, or any of the numerous other phones from various manufacturers I own.

              So it basically destroys nothing, but Sony's cash reserves.

            4. Stretch

              Re: Uneducated toss.

              My new shiny Z3 is in my hand. It is awesome. It kicks the Shix into next week.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Uneducated toss.

            > Maybe the networks are just suppling what the customers are demanding...

            Ha ha,,, perfect troll (possibly unintended?). You know that el reg commentards are religious when it comes to free markets ? And they also hate apple. You just trolled them into the perfect conundrum - to chose between their religion or heart!

            IMHO, Americans are simpletons addicted to consumerism, who fall far the huge Apple marketing budget and literally stand in lines for 15 days of bliss...

        2. sleepy

          Re: Uneducated toss.

          Not true Cowyard, your post is fantasy. The premium price tag pays for a better product, and for Apple's enormous profits. If Apple were bribing the carriers with money, they wouldn't be making the profits. It's Samsung that spends $14Bn on marketing, including spiffs; when you buy a Samsung, you're directly bribing the channel. Apple does not pay the networks to keep them sweet; they deliver the subscribers who have the highest ARPU by far, because they make the products those subscribers want. The networks don't like it, but they have to offer iPhone, or they will lose their best subscribers to churn. And they have to push iPhone hard, because Apple won't let them have it unless they commit to high volumes calculated by Apple to stress them. Carriers would love not to need iPhone and have to be bribed to take it, but that's the exact opposite of the truth. The customer relationship belongs to Apple, and the networks need the customers.

          Press jollies and fine dining would show up as marketing expense too, and Apple don't do it that way. Again, it is discipline in controlling the information disseminated that gets the media eating out of their hands, not "press jollies". That would be so last century.

          1. illiad

            Re: Uneducated toss.

            It all depends what you want...

            - got loads of money, want the latest 'designer' phone (to be dumped next year when a better model comes out.. :/ ), that all you need is to take pics, make phone calls and stuff??? - oh, and no clue what this other stuff the geeks are talking about, the apple guys tells me its the best, pass the bolly!... :P

            - you want something that is a lot more functional, that will keep going for years, keep 100's of gigs of your movies/ music/ pics etc on, and just swap out a memory card if you want a change...

            That a lovely pic, mate, can I have a copy? sure, switch on yer bluetooth, right? ok sending now! :)

            when will apple be that simple...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Uneducated toss.

              My 3GS still works just fine, running iOS 6. It's ailbroken and I have tweked the interface a bit.

              I think I can safely say that Apple kit "keeps going for years", not the opposite as you imply.

              My Gen1 MacBook Air 11" is getting long in the tooth now, but it is running 10.9.x and has performed faultlessly and shown itself to be very rugged...

        3. cali

          Re: Uneducated toss.

          Riiiight....

          that's why Apple spends 14B on advertising. Oh wait.

        4. danbi

          Re: Uneducated toss.

          ... when you buy an iPhone ...

          When you buy an iPhone, you actually pay up-front for future services by Apple or their subcontractors.

          Nothing more, nothing less.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Uneducated toss.

        The US market was always irrelevant. Nokia was (pre-Elop) selling more than 134 million smartphones a year and yet the US barely registered on the graph.

        1. Bobber

          Re: Uneducated toss.

          As a Ex-Nokia person focused on the Americas from 1996-2010 I can tell you that even in the lowest market share days the US always mattered. Nokia's global standing was made with the AT&T One rate and the Nokia 6160 in 1996. Nokia lost the golden relationship with US operators because they were too reliant on Nokia (sound like anyone today?) and they actively promoted the competition. There is NO operator in the world who wants to be dependent on only one or two manufacturers.

        2. danbi

          Re: Uneducated toss.

          ... Nokia was ....

          Their reign ended the day they went to bed with Microsoft. Sadly... Nokia had some good know-how of GSM technology.

      3. kb

        Re: Uneducated toss.

        Actually as someone living in the states that talks to a lot of folks I can tell you the biggest trend here is NOT iPhone, which is still seen as a hipster brand for the coasts, but ditching the wallet raping contracts completely and going with one of the many growing prepaid or pay as you go providers like Straight Talk, AT&T Go, and Ting.

        The problem is these companies like Sony are trying to play in the high margin arena when any retailer here will tell you the $200 and under phones are outselling the $400+ phones by a good 4 to 1, again thanks to those ditching their contracts. BTW guess who makes the best phones at this price? The Chinese companies listed in TFA, as all you find from the likes of Sony and their ilk is refurbs or seriously outdated tech.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Uneducated toss.

      Almost... We bought a cheap (100€) dual-SIM Sony Android phone (running Android 4.3) recently.

      Point 1 is about right though.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Uneducated toss.

      Sorry, but if you can't make money with free software then you shouldn't be in business at all.

      The thousand pound IPhone is in no way superior to an Android in any way.

    4. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Uneducated toss.

      "The problem, in a nutshell, is this. Why should you continue to make something at all if you lose money doing so?"

      That would seem to affect Windows Phone more then Android.

      What is this, Windows phone fan sees Apple as the enemy of their enemy?

    5. SFC

      Re: Uneducated toss.

      No, Sony's problem is the same it's always been. They let their "media" division dictate what everyone else can or can't do. Sony has throughout the years made brilliant hardware after brilliant hardware, only to cripple it with some back asswards DRM to "prevent piracy" at the expense of user experience. They spent so many years alienating their customers, that it's tough to win any of them back. I literally don't care if Sony produces the greatest Android phone ever created. After their XCP rootkit debacle, I won't be buying anything from them for a LONGGGG time.

  2. MrWibble

    So you didn't notice that Silver is reportedly dead:

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2014/09/googles-rumored-android-silver-program-is-reportedly-dead/

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      I've been hearing "Silver is scrapped" since the Silver details first emerged in the Spring. Not surprisingly.

      1. SuccessCase

        Very good article Andrew.

        Perhaps now more will begin to understand why profit, far from being evil, is a necessary thing. Without profit business stagnates, innovation nosedives and quality suffers. You have to maintain margin as it is a margin of safety. No one sensible goes for a swim in the sea with the aim of using up all energy supplies right up to the limit just before getting back to land. Android is fast becoming like the laptop business at the time low end netbooks were popular. It was dreadful. There had been no innovation for years unless you count "inventing the netbook" as innovation. It was just such economics that saw PC's loaded with difficult to remove crapware/adware and indeed it was only by doing such that most manufacturers got any margin.

        When the economics of a business is driven purely by ads, you get the kind of travel guides you once found in hotel rooms. 3/4 low rent advertising with sparse poorly edited "meat" for the rest. Google have done a remarkable job resisting allowing their services to collapse and become low rent faire, but there are now ominous signs. Take You Tube. Fine that adverts are included, Google have to make their money, but video ads, overlaid simultaneously by clashing low quality, graphically anomalous banner ads with horrible little deliberately imprecise "click to dismiss" target buttons; argh.

        1. awood-something_or_another

          No one sensible goes for a swim in the sea.......

          ......"with the aim of using up all energy supplies."

          Except the energy companies. OH, you said sensible. My bad. And when they started. the seas weren't polluted with their supplies.

          [Though I hate them, that was my Greenpeace moment. :) ]

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No one sensible goes for a swim in the sea.......

            Downvoted for using the phrase "My bad" :-)

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          Bah!

          "Perhaps now more will begin to understand why profit, far from being evil, is a necessary thing."

          Profit is never an evil thing. Excessive profit often is, or did you miss the slash-and-burn of the 1980s? I remember the quote by an AT&T executive who said that throughout that era he was terrified some corporate raider would realize how much copper AT&T had, and would acquire the company to strip mine the phone infrastructure for short term profit.

          Shareholder profit quite often is, as it is all-to often the altar on which the core business of the public company in question is sacrificed. Only this morning yet another radio commentator was surprised at the number of private companies that outspend and outperform their larger publicly-held rivals in R&D.

          As with all "isms", capitalism works well until it is allowed free rein, when the wheels come off alarmingly quickly. You must have noticed the events of 2008 (including the snouting-at-the-public-trough that went on in bonusland).

          The key to profit != evil is the invisible qualifier *reasonable*. The problem is that in the new something-for-nothing millennium, people's definition of "reasonable" is "whatever I think I can get away with".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bah!

            "I remember the quote by an AT&T executive who said that throughout that era he was terrified some corporate raider would realize how much copper AT&T had, and would acquire the company to strip mine the phone infrastructure for short term profit."

            That would never happen as PUC's (Public Utility Commissions) across the country would have blocked that move. As soon as someone tried to rip the copper out, PUC's would be asking what they will be replacing the copper with. If thsy said nothing, then you have fines being levied and laws being broken. So there would have been no short-term profit.

            1. Stevie Silver badge

              Re: That would never happen as PUC's (Public Utility Commissions ...

              ... across the country would have blocked that move. As soon as someone tried to rip the copper out, PUC's would be asking what they will be replacing the copper with.

              Possibly. I have little faith that any laws would protect the public against the Great God Profit during the heady days of the late 1980s and early 1990s though. Everyone was distracted for some of it by the catastrophic failure of the Savings and Loan industry for one thing and the corporate raiders seemed unstoppable at the time.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bah!

            > As with all "isms", capitalism works well until it is allowed free rein..

            You.. you.. anti-free-market-tree-hugging-gun-hating-climate-change-alarmist-free-loader,

            you are j..j..jjust j..j..j..jealous of my freedom, aren't you ?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Or maybe not..

        http://www.android.com/one

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Are we talking Android Silver? (never heard of it) or Android One? (pretty big deal in emerging markets)

  3. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    Really can't get this

    What's the difficulty? The manufacturers design a phone which costs 50 to make and they sell it for 100 (or 90 or whatever). The software is not their problem as Google has done it all for them. Ungrateful bastards. Meanwhile more importantly I can avoid having to spend 600 quid on an Apple phone.

    I searched my memory but I don't recall traditional PC manufacturers saying phew it's lucky Windows is not free otherwise we would be out of business.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really can't get this

      But it appears that it doesn't actually cost only 50 to make, hence the losses.

    2. Lusty Silver badge

      Re: Really can't get this

      "costs 50 to make"

      You're confusing manufacturing cost with the cost of producing a device. The R&D budget required to produce a top end phone is enormous, and those costs must be recovered alongside the component costs. For example, the iPhone has two custom designed processors and custom memory chips (to reduce size) with a unique flash and custom designed camera. The people designing these things didn't do it for fun, they did it because they get paid to, and because Apple, Samsung etc. pay for the very expensive machines they need to design, prototype and produce them. In addition to those, someone needs to design the exterior of the device, the packaging, write documentation, support end users and many other costs. Every single phone design also needs to go through costly approval processes in every region it will be sold, otherwise it wouldn't be legal to sell them.

      but yeah, they only cost like 50 bucks to make so why do they cost so much...

    3. Frank Bough

      Re: Really can't get this

      They are now out of business, of course, while Mac sales keep edging up.

  4. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    lets look at this in another way..

    The article makes some good points, but the argument can be turned on its head.

    Why buy a $700 Apple device when a $100 android version will do 99% the same? And if the West's market is saturated with smart phones, where does that leave Apple? Trying to sell expensive hardware into a market like China and India which just cannot support that price point?

    Of course Apple will survive, because as has been shown there is a value in the cachet of owning a Apple product, but can it still grow and maintain the same margins?

    1. QXL

      Re: lets look at this in another way..

      I asked myself the very same question this week when looking to replace my iPhone 4s. I got the new Moto G for £150 and it's more than a match for the 4s which I'm only replacing as I wanted a bigger screen and a new battery. I can't be the only one who's seen the prices of the new iPhones and thought they are poor value.

      1. Steve I

        Re: lets look at this in another way..

        If switching to Android from iOS was so easy for you, then I'm assuming you have no investment in the iOS/Apple ecosystem (iPhone/iPad/MAx datasharing etc) nor any iOS apps, iTunes films etc.

        Which begs the question - why have an iPhone? Someone at work asked me if he should get an iPhone or Android so I asked what apps he wanted. "Apps?" he replied. turns out he just wants email, web-browsing, phone calls, messaging etc so I told him it didn't really matter what he bought.

        1. Ian Watkinson

          Re: lets look at this in another way..

          "If switching to Android from iOS was so easy for you, then I'm assuming you have no investment in the iOS/Apple ecosystem (iPhone/iPad/MAx datasharing etc) nor any iOS apps, iTunes films etc."

          Just done this so:

          iphone some apps, none that I can't do without, or aren't already on android.

          Ipad, yup got one, can share data via dropbox/box/google drive etc fine.

          itunes films...do people buy films from itunes?

          about the only thing I'm missing so far, is the choice of cases. You can get everything for the iphone, 90% for a Samsung Sx, but about 10% for a Sony Z2 :-(

        2. big_D Silver badge

          Re: lets look at this in another way..

          I switched from iOS to Windows Phone 7 to Android to Windows Phone 8.

          All the apps I used were available on all platforms. I had to reinvest a few quid in apps, but other than that, it was fairly painless - I currently run a Galaxy S3 with KitKat and a Lumia 1020 with Windows Phone 81. Update 1 - the Galaxy is a company phone and doesn't have any additional apps installed, the Lumia is my private phone and I have the apps installed on that.

          I would say that Android and Windows Phone are about even on features and ease of use. There aren't as many apps for WP, but everything I need is there. Both of them are ahead of where the iPhone was with the 5S and iOS 7. I'll wait and see what iOS 8 and the iPhone 6 bring; we have one on order here for the CEO, so I'll get a look-see when it arrives.

          So far, I haven't seen anything that would make me want to trade in my Galaxy or Lumia for an iPhone 6.

          One of the nice things with the Lumia and the Galaxy is I can use my YubiKey NEO (NFC enabled) OTP generator to authenticate with.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: lets look at this in another way..

            Having a Windows work phone makes you realise how many apps are missing.

            I appreciate for your usecase, you might have all the apps covered, but many are still missing with no plans for them going there.

            Official Youtube app? (You don't watch any youtube?)

            Many countries train apps - netherlands for example are ios/android only.

            Strava for cycling/running.

            google keep. ( still miss notesync)

            google authenticator for anyone that uses gmail and wants 2 factor auth.

            most new games...gave it to my kids to have a look at, they'd rather a 100 quid android device than the 1025 or 9xx lumia...

            multi platform password apps like msecure and 1password

            Credit card and banking apps, santander/lloyds, amex etc.

            multi platform to-do lists, ala wunderlist.

            music apps like 8track/sonos...

            As a phone, it's not too bad, as a smart phone....it still lacks the apps.

        3. alwarming
          Joke

          Re: lets look at this in another way..

          > Someone at work asked me if he should get an iPhone or Android so I asked what apps he wanted.

          Seriously ???? Do people still ask sincerly "others" what is a good phone to buy ???? I thought only reason to discuss smartphones with co-workers is to troll them...

      2. Arctic fox
        Thumb Up

        ".. I can't be the only one who's seen the prices of the new iPhones..........."

        No, amongst those of us who bother to examine and compare properly, either because we are professional techies or (like myself) are self-educated amateur techies, the prices concerned (unless one is wholly committed to the Apple ecosystem, which is fair enough - each to their own and all that) are in fact eye-watering and you are definitely not alone in that opinion.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ".. I can't be the only one who's seen the prices of the new iPhones..........."

          Well I look at the SIM free price of a Galaxy S5 at around £420 and the iPhone 6 at £539 - so yes it's about £120 more which over 2 years is £5 a month. Then at the end of the 2 years the iPhone will still be worth about £250-300 and the Galaxy S5 perhaps £100 if anything.

          Look at the build quality and support wit the iPhone and you can see what you are paying a bit extra up front for. Or on a contract the difference is likely to be around £5 per month or less and you have a phone that has some value at the end of the contract which probably negates the extra cost.

          Yes you can compare a £500 iPhone to a Moto G - it's not that the Moto G is a bad phone (it's not) but it's like comparing (and pardon the car analogy) a Vauxhall Astra to a Mercedes.

          1. John 110

            Re: ".. I can't be the only one who's seen the prices of the new iPhones..........."

            @AC

            "Yes you can compare a £500 iPhone to a Moto G - it's not that the Moto G is a bad phone (it's not) but it's like comparing (and pardon the car analogy) a Vauxhall Astra to a Mercedes."

            Which one is which again?

          2. Novex

            Re: ".. I can't be the only one who's seen the prices of the new iPhones..........."

            "Yes you can compare a £500 iPhone to a Moto G - it's not that the Moto G is a bad phone (it's not) but it's like comparing (and pardon the car analogy) a Vauxhall Astra to a Mercedes."

            I prefer to think of it more like comparing a decent spec Skoda to a Mercedes - The Moto G (I have a first generation one) is a well built, good quality phone that does what it set out to do and can be enhanced with apps from Google Play for pennies to do pretty much anything the iPhone can. Admittedly it's lacking a few of the bleedin' edge bells and whistles like NFC and a micro SDXC slot (even the latest Moto G is only SDHC - why?) but I've even got round the SDXC issue with a USB-OTG device, so it's doing the job nicely thank you. It just doesn't have an Apple badge.

          3. sisk Silver badge

            Re: ".. I can't be the only one who's seen the prices of the new iPhones..........."

            Look at the build quality and support wit the iPhone and you can see what you are paying a bit extra up front for.

            Good idea. I've never had a phone last less than 5 years, and the one that only lasted 5 years (a Moto Droid) met its end at the hands of a toddler and a bathtub, not really an indication of its quality. My current phone, a Galaxy S2, is 3 years old and I expect to have it for at least another 3-5 years.

            How old is your iPhone?

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