The Hills Are Greener: Not Buying What Google’s Selling – Because They Can’t Sell It

The Hills Are Greener: Not Buying What Google’s Selling – Because They Can’t Sell It

Dec 3, 2012

Let’s compare the approach of Apple and Google.

So Google has a hot new phone on their hands. It’s been sold out for weeks. They finally get in, or at least release, new stock of their new phone. They announce when they’re selling it. It sells out in seconds. Literally: I’m sitting at my iPad shortly after I notice the clock turn to 2:00 pm central on a Tuesday afternoon, and the Nexus 4 is sold out. Already. And there’s no recourse, no preorder process for future batches, nothing. In short, if I want a Nexus 4, I’ve got to wait.

Now look at Apple’s website. Try to buy an iPhone from them. Why, they are quite happy to sell you an iPhone well in advance. They’ll give you an estimate of how long it’ll take to get your shiny new piece of Apple ephemera. They’ll even let you go to pick up your shiny new toy from an Apple Store if there’s one in stock. It works all too well.

I suppose that as a tech addict, it should fail to surprise anyone that I have an iPhone 5 now, considering that the unlocked one finally went on sale? Yup, I’m back on the dark side. Sure, it makes sense for me considering I also love doing iOS reviews, but I also admit that it was something of an impulse buy because I couldn’t get the Android phone I wanted. The Galaxy S III is still a really nice phone, but something was calling me elsewhere. The lure of a cleaner, stock experience, and if Google wasn’t going to give it to me, Apple was.

Now granted, in this situation of selling phones directly to customers, Google doesn’t have the kind of retail and e-commerce experience that Apple does. But still, to be in a position where people that want your product pretty much can’t buy it? It seems like a bad experience. It may build up hype, yes (their phone sold out in an amount of time best measured in seconds), but it’s also a bad experience for people who actually want the phone and not just the hype. And if the reports that Google’s probably backordered for a month during one of the biggest shopping periods, when people will be wanting new phones, are true? Well, it’s just a mess. Good for Google that they have a phone that people want, but they need more stock. They can provide it with the Nexus 7 – it’s time they do it with the 4 as well.

I’m still rocking my Nexus 7, as it is: it’s still a great tablet, after all. But it is weird, making the transition back to iOS as my primary phone and notification source. If only you could have sold me a Nexus 4, Google, I was ready!

The Hills Are Greener – The Curious Case of Cases

The Hills Are Greener – The Curious Case of Cases

Dec 12, 2011

This may be extremely petty, but if there’s one disappointing thing about being an Android owner, it’s that it’s just not as much fun to shop for accessories as it is with iOS devices.
 
Being an iPod touch and iPad owner, my case options are nearly limitless. I can walk into any electronics store; or heck, any store altogether nowadays, and find a wide range of accessories. If I don’t like the case of my device, there are a bajillion other options out there. Bajillion is not a number, but point is: there are a lot of options. The iPad is particularly intereswting to shop for, just because of the fact that many options exist for that tablet. Want cases with covers, or just ones that protect the back? They exist. There are even back covers that work with Apple’s official Smart Cover. Yes, cases that work with other cases. The most interesting ones for the iPad are the keyboard cases that work over Bluetooth, that make the iPad into something resembling a competent laptop. Working on the go with one is extremely easy, like I’m doing right now! 
 
Many Android phones have only a fraction of these options because of the greater number of phones and devices. The cases and accessories for phones have to share the same retail display space as well, so accessories tend to become homogenized into similar types of just cases; there’s not much in the way of creativity or variety. For example, try to find a case with an embedded battery in it like the Mophie cases available for iOS for Android. Heck, even try to find a case for a phone that’s a year old at this point. At least the iPhone 3G/3GS still have cases available in stores right now.
 
The problem is that the retail market winds up marking up prices on these cases and accessories; online is much cheaper, of course, but it lacks the immediacy of retail shopping. If I feel a need to get a case for my Samsung Captivate, I pretty much just need to hope one of those mall kiosks with cases for every phone that ever existed has one. iPhone cases can be purchased at Half Price Books. Most of these cases wind up being $20 or $25 for what should be just cheap $2 pieces of plastic; obviously manufacturers need to make a profit but still, it seems silly to overpay for many of these cases, that still seem to suffer from a lack of creativity even on the iOS side. Plenty of designs are available, sure, but no one seems to have figured out what to do with the flap on folio-style cases for the iPad. It just kind of dangles there on most covers and cases. Yet, nary a solution for that exists. Even with the widespread availability of cases for iOS, there’s still unsolved design issues that the wider availability should have solved a long time ago.