The only thing more tragic than the amount of driving around in my car I had to do this week were the radio spots for Android phones that I had to suffer through while doing so. Though I’m not sure which of the many Android devices they were actually selling, the script was pretty much the same- a list of overly technical product specs and features that were about as sexy as a cat in a clown costume.
The spots rang with the voice of an overly excited borg rattling off features such as:
- Dual Core Processors
- 5 Megapixel Cameras
- ???x??? pixel screens
- 802.11 b/c/g/n/z capability
- Infinitely expandable Micro SD support
- Flux capacitors
- Bleep. Blop. Bloop.
I was struck by how Android devices and device manufacturers are trying to compete on features. Faster processors, brighter screens and other such intensely geeky positioning was their formula for combating the iPhone freight train.
And that’s not working.
As recent data suggests, Android market share appears to have peaked in March and has been inching down ever since. One could argue that this slip in market share is a result of the Verizon iPhone, but I would argue that it’s something more fundamental. Something that more carriers and more devices won’t fix; namely, that if they continue to try and compete on features, they will continue to lose.
Consumers don’t want smart phones they want a device they relate to. A device that looks, acts and works are they aspire to. A device that solves their problems, makes their lives easier or just blows their minds. A device that delivers an experience not a list of features. Until android figures that piece out, they will always be the other mobile OS.
Keep this in mind as you work through the positioning of your own device or service- if you’re competing on features, you’ve already lost.