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Did NPD And The HTC Evo 4G Just Teach Us An Important Lesson: Slow The F*CK Down?

It seems that every time a Google executive speaks about Android there are hundreds of thousands more activations per day, thousands and thousands of more apps and hundreds of new devices.  While the growth that we’re seeing in Android is overwhelmingly positive, it’s  that number of devices that has me concerned.

Whenever Comscore, NPD, Millennial Media, Neilsen, Strategy Analytics or any other accredited research firm in the mobile space says that Android is kicking the pants off iOS in terms of operating system, the iOS fanboys ring out that iOS is just one device. Well of course their wrong, but it is less than 10 devices up against 400 or so devices.

Variety is a great thing. Some people like small screen phones, some like large screen phones. Some people like physical keyboards. Some people like candy bar style keyboard devices, some like slide out keyboards. Some like 8mp cameras on the back, some like 2mp cameras on the front.  That’s one of the great things about Android the variety.

But is there ever too much variety?  Nowadays new Android phones are being announced, released, unveiled or brought to market two to three times a week.  The high level super phones have many of the same specs. The entry level and midrange phones also have many of the same specs.  Which then points to manufacturer loyalty.  Really how many normal consumers have manufacturer loyalty to a cell phone manufacturer. Sure a consumer would know that Apple made their iPhone but do you know how many people think Google makes an Android phone?

I know I’ve had manufacturer loyalty but now in my 30’s I’ve had more cell phones in the past 10 years than most families will have for an entire lifetime.

More after the break

So think about the normal consumer.  Most average or normal consumers change cell phones at the most, every two years. Some don’t even change that often.  I know many people who are still on a Blackberry from 2007 or even a G1 from 2008.  Early adopters are great but that’s not what’s fueling the 550,000 Android activations per day.

So yesterday we learned from research firm NPD that the HTC Evo 4G on Sprint was the top Android device sold in the second quarter of 2011.  Keep in mind that the HTC Evo 4G was released in June of 2010, in fact it was the “Google I/O device” last year.  Also keep in mind that while Sprint does still run an occasional HTC Evo 4G advertisement, they’ve been hitting the HTC Evo 3D up pretty hard, and we could all probably recite the dialog in the HTC Evo Shift 4G commercial verbatim.

The HTC Evo 4G had cutting edge, top of the line specs in June of 2010, today entry level and midrange Android devices carry similar specs. What can be learned from this? Do normal consumers care about dual core processors or quad core processors?  Is the Evo 4G faster than that feature phone, messaging phone or iphone 3Gs that’s been in the customers pocket for a year, heck yes.

So why is it necessary to release a new Android superphone very 15 days when last years technology is doing just fine?  Now I’m not one to stop innovation. I love fast things and pretty gadgets but I’m not the average consumer.  Writing stories like this can be tough because no one ever gives up their direct handset numbers but I would be willing to bet that if HTC would have skipped the HTC Evo Shift 4G that Sprint/HTC would have still gotten the sales. Perhaps HTC would have lost a handful of customers to the Epic 4G but they would have picked up a bunch more when the Evo 3D came out this year.

It’s not like they’re going to slow things down at all but it would make sense for the OEM’s to take some of this R&D money and skip a device or two to put out one that’s super hot, like the Evo 4G and like we are expecting from the Samsung Galaxy S II next week.

That’s all for now.. just some thoughts…



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  1. I have to agree with cityboytech as an enthusiast POV. It seems every week there’s something new in the cellular industry. I for one love it. Slow down? No. Keep it going. As a matter of fact, streamline, optimize, and go FASTER. Push the limits everyday. This gives more options, more advancement, more to look forward to. I’m an early adopter. I have the Xoom, got on first day, love it, still use it, got the DroidX the first day as well. For me, watching the tech and spec jump is exciting, thrilling and keeps a dreamer dreaming of greater achievements. Please don’t slow down. Having options is one of the greatest feelings in the world in these tech times. I love that each company is out doing each other every week. The tech grows. It started with phones. It went into tablets. Its making its way into TV and cars. I’ll soon be turning off my lights with my phone/tablet or changing the channel while setting the thermostat, during a conference video chat while my car is warming up because of my remote start app. And that’s just around the corner. Slow down? I don’t think its fast enough.

  2. I love my EVO. After almost a year it has been a very solid device. With updates it has really become outstanding. After the battery life was improved it really has been amazing. Right now I think I could got another year without a new phone. Even just putting a brand new screen protector on it made it feel brand new.

  3. A testament to the power of Word-Of-Mouth. People would rather take the word-of-mouth from an Evo user, than listen to the new commercial. 

    The initial Evo release was to an EXTREMELY fanboy-ish group. That group has helped keep it alive this long. Giving away those 5000 units to the GoogleIO attendees was the cheapest and best advertising that they could do. Great idea!

  4. Some good points were made in this blog. The EVO4g built a huge customer base with top of thebline specs june 2010. I had the first appointment at Bestbuy mobile on launch day and thankfully got it activated before sprints computers crashed that day. That kind of excitement doesn’t come to often with a new device every other day. The Evo name became a special name, and HTC AND SPRINT should have treated that way. But they slapped the Evo name on the shift which didn’t deserve it. The first phone with the Evo name was great and the second one should be greater, third even greater and so on and so on. If they did it that way then they would have great customer loyalty to the Evo name. And even though a contract discount takes 18 months to 2years the loyal customers would still line up every year. Even though the Evo 3D is a great phone, it didn’t have the same excitement because of the Evo name being loosely used with the shift. If HTC concentrated on a single Evo at the beginning of every summer. And made it top of the line for that year. And make it the measuring stick on which all phone will be measured that year. Where every release has to be compared to it and evo mentioned everytime something new came along. Kind of like what apple has done for the zombies in society. That’s what could have been with the Evo brand.

  5. To an extent, i agree with you. New phones are coming out every week. As tech enthusiasts it can be overwhelming at times because that’s all WE see. However, average consumers who only look for phones when it’s time to upgrade don’t realize how often phones come out. They just go to their carrier’s store and look at their options. Regardless of which phone just came out yesterday or which ones hot at the moment, they’re gonna buy what suits them best. And people rarely switch carriers for a particular phone. So I don’t think they should slow down because there’s still people like me who want the phone that pushes technology to its limits and, as demonstrated by the iPhone, you can’t have that kind of phone or competitive spirit if you’re releasing one phone a year when technology advances every two months

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