6 December 2010
By Loren W
Google and Australia Carrier Telstra Open Androidland – Nice idea bad timing, and should not be carrier specific.
Some might call it the cheese factory.
First in essence this was a great idea. Google sells way more mobile devices than everyone else.
Having its own store makes great sense. Unfortunately the practicality of it is ill-conceived, and the delivery is cheesy.
Worse the content result is even worse.
The life span is short for mobile devices so getting them early for many is a big deal as they go out of date so fast.
Telstra in Australia is known for not always having new technology first, or at all, and when it does it is often quite a bit later than the rest of the world or even the rest of Australia.
Example1: The Android Atrix 4G was a great example. Made by Motorola, it was billed as the world’s fastest mobile phone, which it was for several months.
But by the time Telstra launched it in Australia with the same world’s fastest phone advertising, Samsung launched their own phone that was as powerful as the Motorola and has since upped the bar again, making the Telstra product out of date as soon as it launched.
Example2: Samsung launched their 10.1V Android tablet, exclusively with Vodafone, in Australia so it would not even have appeared at something like Telstra.
Though hard to keep up, some of the latest Android devices will not be on show at the new store, due to them not being able to be sold in Australia.
This means Androidland is not launching with 2 of the newest devices, the Samsung Galaxy Note, and the Samsung 10.1 Galaxy Tab.
‘This would be like Apple opening an Apple store without the latest iPhone or iPad’.
Carrier Independence is Needed Here
In the USA the carrier has often dictates the success of mobile hardware as the hardware is often supplier specific.
AT&T for years had exclusivity with the Apple iPhone. For many this meant an iPhone customer with poor carrier service was stuck as no other carrier was available that would work with the iPhone.
In the UK and Australia this has been less common as more suppliers get mobile phones unlocked, making the carrier less influential compared to the USA model.
Unfortunately, the difference still exists in the models each carrier chooses to sell making a carrier only store a large limiting factor in hardware selection.
Now with that in mind a visit to Androidland and look at all the devices, they sell, then go to a Optus, or JB-HiFi store and see a different selection, then go to a Dick Smith Powerhouse, Harvey Norman, & Vodafone shop and see a different selection, all very unfair for the consumer.
The other carriers together have way more sales than Telstra does here.
Telstra are known for launching 6 months after the rest of the world, and due to the patent wars, this has worsened delays.
A life cycle for a phone is much lower now than ever before. Getting a mobile phone or tablet later rather earlier in its otherwise very short Global life-cycle, (and again up to 50% more expensive than other countries), means the consumer is getting a device with a short life cycle.
What Google should have done is have a carrier neutral store, and even better offer consumers the knowledge of where they can get which device, a problem many still have today, even those in the industry.
Loren is a Melbourne based Internet / Cloud Consultant with 17 years in the International Telecommunications
space including launching Mobile phone plans and services in Australia, & The UK, including Optus Wholesale,
and British Telecom, and Vodafone
I agree it’s a great concept. Having a one store with all droid phones, so we consumers can see and use before buying is great. So many successful business are built on this premise (all products in one place), so it will be interesting to see if what Telstra has done works. Should Telstra be the one that does this, probably not. The reality is not everyone who wants a droid device wants to connect with Telstra. Why would I go to this store, other than to play and test the devices if I don’t want to connect with them. If I like it and can’t get it at another carrier I’ll go online and buy it ‘unlocked’ and then use it with who I want to use it with.
Perhaps Telstra could’ve done the whole droid store thing, but instead of focusing on trying to force consumers to connect with them, focused more on providing consumers with ‘choice’. Maybe sell devices outright at a competitive price. Sure there is no doubt an abundance of road blocks to overcome with this at the carriers end, but the reality is, it is us consumers who drive the market and so focusing on what we want should be at the top of their list. Sometimes I think companies forget their success hinges on the customers, so understanding what we want and not what they want is crucial. I’m not talking about fanciful marketing either. To keep it simple let me choose who I want to connect with.
Maybe Google should have been the one to do this. Would’ve given some competition to Apple’s stores!
Just a few thoughts anyway!