Monday, September 24, 2018

One way BlackBerry can differentiate its smartphones is by being appealing to customers who need conservative, traditional features

Physical keyboard is a "traditional" feature. By including this in many of its latest phone models, BlackBerry already attracts those customers who like traditional features. This class of customers either doesn't like quick or radical change, or doesn't want to lose traditional features, or likes certain "power" features. Examples of such features/traits:
  • Physical keyboard.
  • Removable battery [clearly a concerted decision by phone-makers].
  • Rubberized or textured backs [these actually look pretty good] [there's a mad race towards glass backs which is making already-fragile phones even more fragile].
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack.
  • Compact/small size, but not overly skinny/thin.
  • Hardware switches to electrically disable camera, microphone, location-tracking chips, Bluetooth, and so on, without having to trust software.
  • Memory card slot for expandable storage.
  • More features can be thought.
No manufacturer seems to be catering to power users who need such features. The hunger is there, but it isn't being addressed. BlackBerry should see and seize the opportunity. There's no point becoming a "me too" and engaging in fierce competition with Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, Motorola, Samsung, Nokia, LG, Oppo, Vivo, Meizu, ZTE, etc.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

In some cases, a buyer should ensure that he helps all his different suppliers so that all of them survive, thus preventing a monopoly

  • It Apple continues to buy OLED / AMOLED displays from only Samsung, it's possible that in the future LG's OLED business goes bust, leaving Apple with Samsung as the only supplier. Assured extortion of Apple by Samsung will follow [considering the significant superiority of AMOLED over LCD and the lack of an alternative equivalent technology].
  • It is Apple's duty to make sure that a thriving supplier base exists for its needs, even if this means that sometimes Apple has to buy some components at higher prices - than can be bought from the dominant supplier - just in order to ensure the survival of weaker suppliers.
    • Such lessons aren't taught in business schools. MBA books preach / teach buying all your needs from the supplier which supplies you a component at the lowest cost [everything else the same], in order to minimize your costs and to maximize your profits. This short-term view neglects the possible negative future consequences of the erosion of your supplier base and the establishment of a monopoly supplier [not even God can stop this monopoly supplier from exploiting you in every possible way].
    • Such a dire scenario is all the more possible if you - like Apple - are a very large buyer, and if you not buying from a particular supplier - say LG - can result in the bankruptcy of that supplier. In such a case, it's vital that you help that supplier [in order to help your own self].

Saturday, September 15, 2018

It's very, very sad that Apple has discontinued the best-sized phone in the world, the iPhone SE [RAWDUMP]

  • This ongoing move towards bigger and bigger phones is sheer madness.
  • Manufacturers know that these monsters are difficult to hold, use and carry, yet they won't stop their march towards converting phones into phablets and tablets.
  • Apple, a company that was legendary for ergonomics under Steve Jobs, has foolishly joined this bandwagon of Android phone companies.
  • iPhone SE, along with Sony's XZ1 CompactSony Xperia Z1 Compact, and BlackBerry Q10, was the most ideal-sized smartphone ever [obviously, iPhone 5, 5s, 5c were of similar size]. It fits perfectly in your hand and in your pocket and is a delight to hold and use [even with one hand]. Even the iPhone 6s, though still quite easy to hold, is a bit more than what a phone should be.
  • It's really bad that very few, if any, powerful phones are left that don't happen to be monster-sized [XZ1 is the best one, while XZ2 is bigger so not really ideal in size]. Welcome to capitalism, where only profits matter and usability be damned.
  • Anyway, I still think Apple should've launched an updated iPhone SE, with the following improvements over the original:
    • ADD: Ion-strengthened glass, oleophobic coating [6s]
    • ADD: Wide color gamut display [7]
    • UPDATE: Apple A10 Fusion [7]
    • UPDATE: PowerVR Series7XT Plus (six-core graphics) [7]
    • UPDATE: Front camera to 5 MP, f/2.2, 31mm [6s]
    • UPDATE: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, hotspot [6s]
    • UPDATE: Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, QZSS [6s]
    • UPDATE: Non-removable Li-Ion 1960 mAh battery (7.45 Wh) [7]
    • UPDATE: Touch ID [6s]
    • CHANGE: Power/unlock button on the right side rather than top [6s, 7]
    • UPDATE: iOS to 12
    • UPDATE: Internal storage options only 64 GB or 128 GB
    • ADD: Double-tap to wake.
    • ADD: Either double-tap to immediately lock/sleep display or a special icon which needs to be double-tapped.
    • Other features/ports not to be changed/removed [especially headphone port].
  • Should've priced this at USD 549 [64] and 649 [128].
  • Continuing to sell the SE makes strategic business sense too, if not tactical. Why? To maintain iOS' network effect against the onslaught of an Android that seems omnipresent, Apple needs the support of a large install base. SE's lower pricing and its attractiveness to a "different" base of users [those who want an iPhone but can't afford more than ~600 USD, or those love and value compact phones, or both] means that the SE would've given Apple the numbers it needs to make sure that a large number of folks use iOS, thus driving usage, familiarity, feedback, discussions on online forums, downloads, installs, word-of-mouth, and so on.



Update [17-Sep-18]: Now I realize that the world needs a fully-powerful small-sized phone too. So Apple could instead launch iPhone SP [Small+Performance], with the following features:
  • Size identical to iPhone SE.
  • A12 Bionic processor [also update graphics chip].
  • 3 GB RAM.
  • 7 MP front camera.
  • Stereo speakers.
  • Instead of Face ID, give the most up-to-date Touch ID sensor.
  • Multicolored LED notification light. Current iDevices have no way to tell you that you have a missed call if you don't turn on the device's display. It's bad.