Mobile Development News Roundup for Friday, May 18, 2012

Oh, How Things Have Changed

I stumbled across this graphic, which illustrates the difference between the world of tech when I entered the job market (1995) and five years ago, when it well and truly changed:

Click the image to see it at full size.

WinRT Tablet Makers Can’t Compete with the iPad’s Price

Here’s something you’ll never see when WinRT (the official name for the flavour of Windows 8 that will run on ARM-powered devices) and the tablets it runs on come out:

The line for the New iPad at the Apple Store in Buffalo, March 2012.

ExtremeTech reports that two major factors are making it difficult for Taiwanese manufacturers to make tablets that would sell at prices comparable to or cheaper than Apple’s iPads:

  • The cost of Windows 8 licenses. Digitimes reports that OEMs have to pay as much as $100 for each, but take that with a grain of salt; they’re a notoriously unreliable source of information. ExtremeTech says that Microsoft is likely charging half that amount or less, but even at $10 – $20 per licence, the other factors would still make it difficult to compete on price.
  • The cost of iPad production. Apple have had the time to work out their design and production process as well as their supply chains to the point where it costs less to produce an iPad than any of its less beautifully-designed, lower-spec tablet rivals. ExtremeTech notes that this is equally true for the situation with the MacBook Air and non-Apple “ultrabooks”: you get better design and specs and price with Apple.

Let’s suppose that the WinRT tablet manufacturers decide to sell their wares at a razor-thin margin in order to compete on price. Apple could reduce its 100% markup, beat them at the price game and still make a tidy profit.

Even if the WinRT OEMs decided to use the “compete on price” gambit in the hopes that short-term pain will eventually lead to long-term gain, success will hinge on a variable completely out of their control: that the public will want WinRT at least as much as iOS, if not more. That’s a bit of a longshot.

Nielsen’s “State of the Appnation” Report

Some notable stats from their report:

  • One in two US mobile subscribers had a smartphone now. This is up 10% from last year.
  • The number of Android and iOS users combined has more than doubled since 2011, from 38 million to 84 million.
  • Smartphone users today have more apps on their phones than last year. The 2011 average was 32, the 2012 average is 41.
  • Smartphone users are spending more time using apps rather than the mobile web — about 10% more than last year.

2001: An iPhone Charging Station

Photo courtesy of “spoon”. Click to see the full-size version.

I rather like this iPhone charger made of Lego and inspired by the “Dawn of Man” sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey:

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