Re: Thats because
You mean there's lots of Cheap Arse Consumer Knowledge (or CACK) here?
Couldn't agree more :)
37 posts • joined 16 May 2013
"Traditional desktop and laptop sales are down the toilet, our mobile strategy has failed although we do make some great 2-in-1 hardware (that often doesn't wake up) and we are having to play dirty tricks on our own customers just to get them to upgrade to Win10, even though it's free! We have no idea what's coming next, let alone have any ability to shape it - but someone out there has some great ideas and we want a piece of them before we lose all relevance."
1) Mature market, there can't be that many more people who want (and can afford) a smartphone but don't have one.
2) Lack of new "must-have" features. Can't think of the last time I wanted a new phone because of a new feature. Iterative improvements, yes but not new feature. In fact my current phone has no NFC, wireless charging or microSD slot whereas my previous phone did, so in my case the opposite is true.
Thinking back to the latest (and even not so latest) new features, I can't think of any that suggest a justification for shelling out hundreds of ££.
3) Price - either low-quality landfill or really expensive if you buy outright (there are some exceptions like OnePlus, Oppo etc) or eye-wateringly expensive contract. Either could be justified for a genuinely better device, but then point 2 comes into play - why pay hundreds for something that doen't do much better than your existing phone? At some point the big players are going to have to start getting more realistic about pricing of their flagship phones (apple, Samsung, Sony) or come up with something to justify their pricing.
4) Perception. Whereas it used to be that having the latest and greatest phone was a status symbol it seems to me that nowadays that just isn't the case. Or maybe I'm just getting older and it's just me that doesn't care about this any more.
"There are things called 'external battery packs' and 'car chargers'."
You have to carry external batteries (and cable) around with you all the time, and they are considerably bulkier than a spare battery.
They also have to have plugged in to your phone for a long time to give a significant charge - not great if you are out-and-about and your phone is in your pocket, not least because the aforementioned bulky external battery plus phone is going to be very uncomfortable or even impractical to anyone without large pockets.
Car chargers are also useful, but only if you are in the car for a reasonable length of time otherwise you need both car charger and external battery.
I stuck with Samsung for years due in large part to the external battery (mainly because they always needed replacing after 8-12 months). Now only LG still offer removable batteries AFAIK - this was one factor in my decision not to enter into a 2 year contract. Instead have bought a OnePlus since it's lower price means a much less expensive brick if the battery does die (and it's functionality means buying a mainstream flagship would have been a waste of money).
I do something very similar. I got fed up with the avalanche of spam I got every time I took out a new car insurance policy that I set up an account "firstname.lastname@example.org".
Since the account is genuine I do get the documentation I need, but then ignore the account for the rest of the year. It's now my account when signing up for any "free" service.
In theory, great. In practice there are a few questions:
Would you trust the ad agencies with your credit card and email address?
Would I have to pay for every device I use (in my case that's laptop, mobile, tablet, work computer plus I'm responsible for my kids gadgetry too)?
Would you trust that they wouldn't do tracking anyway?
Ethically it's questionable, You'd be forcing the advertisers to concentrate only on those who can't afford to pay the blocking fee, so I suspect there be loads of payday loans being advertised etc.
There is also the risk that the content providers would be encouraged to make their ads more intrusive just to push users to pay to avoid them.
Personally I'd be happy to pay a nominal fee to the 4 or 5 websites I regularly use.
"That's because it is!"
No it isn't, at least not all of it.
No-one seems to be taking into account that the ads are often what make the content possible. If you don't want to see the ads, then don't view the content. If you do want the content, then accept that ads are part of the deal. The irony being they are saying this on an ad-funded site.
If you really hate the ads then don't access the content.
The problems come when the ad networks are over-zealous, the content providers allow them to be too obtrusive to make trying to access the content worthwhile, or they sling malware at you.
As far as I'm concerned, I'm happy to see (OK, ignore) a reasonable level of ads (like on this site) but if they get intrusive I just stop accessing that site. When you access a site you are asking to see the content that the content provider is offering - if that includes ads, then so be it. It is not up to the network to stop portions of it, and if they do then the content providers should be within their rights to refuse to serve their content.
Of course, this only applies when the ads aren't spraying malicious code around.
I am wondering why the ad I'm being served right now on this site is for $800 off a John Deere sit-on lawn mower though. I'm in the UK, I hate gardening, and I have a relatively small garden so anything that you can take $800 off would be a bit excessive. If this is targeted advertising it is hilariously bad targeting.
What's to stop the content providers (or tech companies) setting up a system which denies (or limits) the amount of their content that a user who blocks ads (either through ad-blocker or network level) can receive? In an ideal world this should be on a site-by-site basis.
The user can choose between receiving the content or avoiding ads.
The content providers will see reduced visitors, but they will know that their visitors are amenable to seeing ads as the price for seeing the content (and they can offer a paid-for ad-free version)
If the content provider gets too aggressive with their ads, they will lose customers.
Personally I have no issue with a reasonable level of ads on sites (and apps) I don't pay for, but I'll simply not bother with them if the ads get too intrusive.
So they make it opt-in.
Then Three can point to the fact that the consumer made an informed choice to use the ad-blocking software. After all, the consumer would have to choose the "I agree" box below a 15000-word legalese agreement that they read in the 2 seconds it took them to click that "I agree" button.
I can see the logic that it would be illegal to read or modify that data without the user's consent (unless you are one of Edward Snowden's former colleagues) but less so if the consumer has actively requested it.
The market is saturated and there's little or no reason to upgrade at the end of your contract if you are happy with your existing phone - after all there haven't been any major new features in a smartwatch that would justify the huge cost of buying a new phone - especially a flagship model.
That said, I can't really criticize the manufacturers - I simply can't think of anything I want my phone to do that it doesn't already do.
Good enough really is now good enough.
This is why Apple's iThing growth is slowing too, although Samsung didn't help themselves by removing the one thing that genuinely did differentiate them - removable battery.
Having moved onto the OnePlus 2 (from a Samsung Galaxy S5), I can't see me signing up up to a long contract ever again, or spending £600+ on a new phone. They just aren't worth it, and I think more and more people are waking up to this.
It's going to be tough for Apple and Samsung to maintain their massive profit levels, but I'm sure they'll be OK. Both make good profits and have huge economies of scale. However I'd be surprised if the likes of Blackberry, Sony and HTC are still in the market in 2 or 3 years time though. It'll be interesting to see how Microsoft react to the new market conditions as well.
Having bought 3 Samsung's in a row (Galaxy S2, S3, S5) I left them due to the lack of a removable battery. Given that only LG now offers removable battery and I won't go near them, they lost the one thing keeping me going back to them.
SD card not such an issue now although it would have been a few years ago, but my usage has changed so I don't need it.
The emissions laws don't come into force until 2020, and the replacement car is due out in 2018 - so why are they ending production now at the start of 2016?
Do they have acres of car parks full of excess stock? Or in reality is it not selling any more due to better competition, but the emissions rules that will apply in 4 years time are a convenient excuse.
I'll be a little sad to see it go - it was and is an icon. However by today's standards it is also monumentally uncomfortable, slow and unwieldy. It's out-of-date, basically.
"Virgin customers can probably look forward to more calls urging them to switch to slower broadband, a Freeview box with BT sports, all at a higher cost."
I'm a 3-play customer (TV, landline, broadband) who moved from Sky to Virgin's equivalent service. Virgin's broadband is consistently at least twice the speed I got with Sky and also much faster than a couple of neighbours on BT broadband), not to mention more reliable.
Virgin are also significantly cheaper than Sky (never checked the price of BT)
The down side is that Virgin's PVR is rubbish due to a poorly designed and laggy UI.
"poorly planned, poorly costed, lacked leadership and capability within senior management and will never deliver on budget or expected results"
I hope someone has shown them how to set up macros, otherwise their ctrl, C & V keys must be knackered (or they are spending an awful lot of time rre-typing the same thing)!
OK, so Renault car technology sucks (a friend of mine who also has a Renault would whole-heartedly agree). I drive a VW-group car and really like the UI and the connectivity it offers (although it does have it's idiosyncrasies). Certainly none of the issues you raise you apply to it.
And no, I don't have a diesel-gate car.
Technology is exciting when it solves problems and/or makes your life easier. Smartphones have reached the point that they do everything we actually want of them. I can't think of a single new function I want from my phone - although one feature I like has all but disappeared (removable battery).
It's for this reason I don't thing IoT will take up the slack - as far as I can see it solves very few problems. Plus the premium it commands far outweighs the benefits as far as I can see. I'll pass until I see a genuine benefit that justifies the additional cost, or until the price comes down far enough that there is no premium to justify. Then I'll consider the privacy implications.
Smartwatches suffer from the same issues. Most people are happy with what their watch does, with the added benefit of not having to charge it every day or so. They will never become as ubiquitous as the smartphone. Having said that, ironically I just bought a Pebble, but then it was very cheap (<£50) and solved a specific problem.
The market is mature, and now the industry is now desperately looking for the next big thing they can persuade everyone they must have. In the mean time, phones and TVs will improve gradually, but won't be revolutionized any time soon. Until someone solves the battery life conundrum.
There used to me loads of TV manufacturers, but once TV technology became homogeneous their differentiation disappeared and so did their margin, so the market has now consolidated into a few major players (Samsung, Sony, LG plus I think Panasonic are still clinging on) plus a few value / own brand companies or white box re-branders.
IMO, the likes of Sony and HTC in the mobile phone markets will go the way of Sharp, JVC and Toshiba in the TV market because they don't have any real way to separate themselves from the competition, and that competition is much bigger and more capable of squeezing their margins.
I also think Apple were right to avoid jumping in to the TV manufacturing market (as opposed to the set-top box market) when it was already saturated.
It comes to most markets. The inkjet printer market has already gone through this, with Lexmark, Kodak and Sharp exiting, as did Samsung (although they were only re-badging Kodak units, and only very briefly).
It used to be that the Japanese manufacturers dominated most consumer electronics markets (think Panasonic, Toshiba, Sharp, Epson, Canon, Sony, Hitachi, NEC, Pioneer, JVC, Sanyo, TDK) but over recent years they have all been struggling in the face of poor exchange rates and ever-improving (in terms of both price and quality) competition from Korea and China, and I can't see them ever recapturing the dominance they once had (I spent 12 years working for Japanese manufacturers and saw their struggles from the inside. It wasn't pretty!)
"It is also deeply anti-competitive and I'm pretty sure there will be some sueballs thrown soon."
On what basis can anyone be sued? There's nothing to force the networks to maintain a business relationship if they decide they don't want to, and it's only anti-competitive in that there are fewer places to buy a phone on a contract, but there is still plenty of choice (in theory) in the market since there are still 4 major operators plus several major 3rd parties both online and with bricks and mortar (CrapPhone DIxons, Tesco, buymobiles.net, mobiles.co.uk spring to mind).
If the operators want to start selling direct-only by cutting out all of the middle-men, they are within their rights to do so, and there are some parallels - most famously Direct Line withdrew from the insurance comparison sites for example (but now have to spend a fortune telling you that in every ad break on TV).
Personally I won't shed any tears over P4U disappearing since my experiences with them have been uniformly terrible (go in knowing which phone and contract I want expecting a pretty simple transaction, only to be pushed towards whichever handset will give them the most commision that day irrespective of whether it will do what I want), but that isn't exactly unique to them.
It may be a shame for many people, and I certainly wouldn't argue that it is damaging to the industry - but IMO there's nothing illegal about it.
I am wondering why they are giving up now rather than looking for alternatives for the remaining year of the contract with EE though.
It's still £84, which isn't a trivial amount, and whilst the point about iOS updates is fair enough, I prefer Android for it's much greater flexibility, better hardware functionality etc etc.
I can't be bothered getting into the wider iOS v Android v WinPhone debate here, but a blase comment about one of the few benefits of iOS is largely irrelevant when most people will base their decisions on other things.
I myself buy my phones outright and then have a very cheap rolling monthly contract, and the amount I get for my old phone always covers the bulk of the cost of the replacement.
"isn't is about time they offered two top enders, one in the mould of the S5, and the other a sealed battery, fixed storage, metal chassis device to take on the Sony and HTC top enders?"
Erm...what? You think the best thing for Samsung to do is remove one of the few things that differentiates the S5 from the rest? Why would they want to do that?
As far as I'm concerned the removeable battery is a major plus point for Samsung (the memory card support also helps, but that's not so rare). Over time I have found the performance of the battery in every portable gadget decreases - at least with a Samsung it's a quick, easy and cheap fix.
Personally, I value that over the style of the Sony/HTC competition, but of course other people have different priorities. Personal choice and all that.
Aside from that, I work for an electronics manufacturer, and I can tell you that the logistics and costs involved would be immense, and its questionable at best whether there would be any benefit for Samsung.
Firstly, they would probably have to add another production lines. It would be nigh-on impossible to make 2 phones which are constructed in fundamentally different ways on the same production line.
Next they would have to ship it, market it, set up the commercial agreements etc
They would have to employ ever more staff to manage god knows how many different sku's - remember that for every different configuration - whether it's just a different colour or more memory etc has to the - the costs associated with stock mangement, supply chain, forecasting etc are huge.
Then, once they have manufactured it and shipped units around the globe, they would then have to market it. And to do that they would have to create arguments agaist the removeable battery design that is unique to them (at least at the top end of the market). so they would run a high risk of cannibalising sales of their own phones, not necessarily taking sales away from competitors - so they run a big risk of reducing their own profitability.
All of this to sell a me-too phone into a market they already dominate.
Given that Samsung are so successful, surely the question should be why the other manufacturers are't creating phones that compete with Samsung, not the other way around?
Last year at the end of a contract I replaced my S2 with an S3, and was planning to upgrade to an S4 about now given the price drop thanks to the launch of the S5.
I used to always want the latest and greatest handset (I had the HTC Desire and the S2 when they were brand new) and always looked for the new features on the latest phones. Now there aren't any must-have new features and many people are criticising the manufacturers for a lack of innovation, but I don't understand why?
Flip the question around - what new function (not an iterative improvement, but real new function) do you want your next phone to have? I can't think of anything. Unbdoubtedly there are ways to improve on my S3 (the S4 and S5 prove that, but I'd have to pay a small fortune for one of them), but the reality is that the S3 is all the phone I really want.
I quite like the idea of the waterproofing, but since I've never dropped my phone down the toilet, it's not something I'm going to shell of hundreds of pounds (or sign up to an expensive contract) for.
So now I've decided to keep my S3 and stay on my cheap unlimited data 3G sim-only deal. Maybe I'll buy an S4 or 5 next year. Maybe.
I doubt it on price - they can rightfully point out that their price includes Kinect whereas PS4 doesn't bundle their equivalent - that does have some value (although whether Kinect is work $100 / £80 more is up to you, personally I'm happy not to have it).
They may be forced into rethinking the DRM though.
The HTC One can be seen as on a par with the Sammy S4 (personally I'd still go for a Samsung due to replaceable battery, but obviously others would prefer the front speakers & premium feel) but certainly not "far superior".
Sony have just brought out their first true flagship phone (which IMO is not very good due to disappointing screen, angular uncomfortable feel and locked in battery).
Nexus 4? No external memory, disappointing battery performance, but undeniably a great price for an excellent phone.
Any others? There are some excellent value phones from the likes of ZTE et al, but excellent value does not equate to being "far superior".
So please, tell me which Android phones I have missed that are "far superior" to the S3/S4.
So you don't think Nokia's complete inability to develop anything in response to iOS was a bigger issue? Despite their huge market share and development talent (the old Nokia dumbphone UI was excellent, and they even had Symbian as a platform to develop)?
Nokia's current position is entirely their own fault (or at least their previous leaders' fault). If anything they were lucky that a software giant was as desperate for a manufacturer to take their software seriously as Nokia were for a decent OS.
iOS is out for obvious reasons. Windows is struggling (at best) and is far from being a mature OS or ecosystem. RIM tried to go down the consumer route and failed badly. What else is there? TIZEN (sorry, I mean Samsung TIZEN)? Firefox? Maybe they'll bring Symbian back!
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