Author Archives: Avi Greengart

Avi Greengart is the Research Director for Consumer Devices at Current Analysis. He can be reached at avigreengart AT gmail DOT com. Opinions here are his own.

Competing in a Heated Android Market

Competing in a Heated Android Market

As an analyst, I’m frequently asked for advice on buying different phones. I’m happy to give it, but when I “review” phones I am typically looking at it from more of a strategic angle. In other words, I’m trying to determine “how does this help/hurt the vendor/carrier,” not “is this a good phone, per se.” You’d be surprised at how many terrible phones sell well, and how many fine phones falter. It’s my job to help vendors and carriers navigate these dynamics. With that in mind, here’s my mid-year update on Android and the challenges vendors face when licensing it.

Continue Reading

Nintendo v. Apple

Nintendo v. Apple

I was at E3 last week (was that just last week?) and attended two separate Nintendo events: the press conference where Nintendo talked about upcoming products, and an Analyst Q&A session where Nintendo executives explained Nintendo’s strategy to a group of mostly financial analysts who looked grossly out of place at E3 (financial analyst types dress much, much better than the average E3 attendee). One of the things that struck me in the press conference is how much Nintendo is competing against Apple in mobile gaming, and one of the things I discovered in the Q&A session is how much alike the two companies are in their approach to product development.

Continue Reading

Google TV: Good Idea, Poor Initial Execution

Google TV: Good Idea, Poor Initial Execution

At last week’s Google I/O conference, the search giant revealed plans for new web video technologies, an update to Android, and Google TV. Before we get into what Google TV is, it’s worth noting something that it isn’t – a tablet. (You’re probably thinking, “I don’t need a fancy analyst guy to tell me that Google TV isn’t a tablet, it’s sort of self-evident.” Bear with me.) Apple’s unbelievable early success with the iPad is due in large part to the fact that the iPad isn’t an entirely new product – it’s a sibling to the iPod touch. However, in addition to extending the iPhone/iPod/iTunes ecosystem to include the iPad, Apple rewrote its apps for the larger form factor and encouraged developers to specifically target the iPad with a segmented app store. Google is now targeting all three screens, the PC, TV, and phone, but missed the opportunity at its annual developer event to promote its vision for things that fit in between the phone and PC. There will be dozens of Android tablets out this year, and none of them will have an optimized experience. I think this is a major missed opportunity.

Continue Reading

Microsoft’s Kin and the emergence of featurephone data tiers

Microsoft’s Kin and the emergence of featurephone data tiers

As I was in the middle of writing this month's column on Microsoft's Kin, SlashGear editor Chris Davies sent me a draft of Michael Gartenberg's column on... Microsoft's Kin. I was relieved to see that there wasn’t too much overlap; Michael’s column is on the Kin’s target market, and I’m focusing on changing carrier pricing structures. I agree with Michael’s premise: there is pent up demand for a social network appliance, and the TwitterPeek ain't it. My problem with the Kin is that we haven’t been given the critical piece of information that will determine whether it will be a success: data pricing.

Continue Reading

Leaving Las Vegas: A CTIA Tech Travelogue

Leaving Las Vegas: A CTIA Tech Travelogue

I was at CTIA last week pitching various column ideas to SlashGear Editor Vincent Nguyen, and he shot them down, one by one. An analysis of the Kindle vs. iPad? No, SlashGear has covered that more than once, and we’ll all be writing hands-on reports next week. How the digital home environment has changed? New columnist Ben Bajarin just used that theme as his debut for SlashGear. How I lived on loaner laptops, cellphones and 3G modems last week when our town was out of power? Too close to Michael Gartenberg’s recent column on traveling with just a cellphone. Apparently, the big stuff is covered. So instead, I’m going to try to provide a look into how one analyst covers a trade show: a tech travelogue, of sorts.

Continue Reading

Mobile OS Madness in Barcelona

Mobile OS Madness in Barcelona

Another Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has come and gone, and this one was clearly Microsoft’s show. “Windows Phone 7 Series” is nearly impossible to say out loud, but the OS itself meets the user interface bar set by Apple and Palm while tying together all of Microsoft’s consumer brands. I got hands on time with a prototype and was impressed, but if you want an early look yourself, you don’t need to be an analyst with access to high level Microsoft executives, you just need to scrape together $220 and buy a Zune HD. Zune lends WP7 both its user interface conventions and its PC software for media management, synchronization, and purchase. Microsoft still needs to convince developers to support the platform, but the company is relevant in mobile again for the first time in years.

Avi Greengart: Defending the iPad

Avi Greengart: Defending the iPad

Cruising around the gadget blogs over the past few days you would be forgiven if you think that the consensus opinion is that the iPad is a massive disappointment. I disagree. Here’s why:

Expectations vs. Reality

Some expectations for the iPad were unrealistic, and some went well beyond that into the realm of fantasy. Many mainstream journalists wrote stories quoting “analysts briefed on the matter” which fueled these expectations. I can assure you with absolute certainty that, with the (possible) exception of its own board of directors, Apple briefed no one ahead of the launch. Nobody.

Continue Reading

Avi Greengart’s Products of 2009

Avi Greengart’s Products of 2009

As 2009 comes to a close it’s time to acknowledge some of my favorite tech products of the year.

The first “product” on the list works across the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPod touch: Apple’s App Store. The hardware upgrades to the iPhone and iPod touch in 2009 were less impressive than the price drop on the iPhone 3G and the greatly expanded capabilities that application developers were given for writing for the iPlatform. The developer community responded with tens of thousands of new apps that turn an iPhone or iPod touch into a portable game console, heart monitor, prayer book, GPS navigator, eBook reader, and myriad other possibilities. Other platforms also rolled out app stores this year, but Apple retains an enormous lead in both the number and quality of options.

Should Nokia Abandon Symbian S60 for Maemo Linux?

Should Nokia Abandon Symbian S60 for Maemo Linux?

Nokia has a problem: it is both the largest handset vendor in the world, by a significant margin, and the largest smartphone vendor in the world – again, by a significant margin. Yet it has never managed to crack the U.S. smartphone market, and it has begun losing market share even in its European strongholds, primarily to Apple, though RIM, Samsung, and HTC are also threats. Nokia admits that it was caught sleeping while Apple first redefined the mobile user experience with the iPhone, and then again when Apple reenergized app development with the App Store. Nokia’s initial response has been lackluster: adapting its existing Symbian S60 OS to support touch, applying that to a few phones (the 5800 and the N97), and stumbling in its initial launch of the Ovi Store.

When will Verizon Wireless get the iPhone?

When will Verizon Wireless get the iPhone?

The surest way for someone to generate attention is by making an Apple prediction. Apple has a cult following, and its product development and launch strategy is famously secretive, so the fact that your source is the lunch counter guy across the block from the Hon Hai factory in Taiwan won’t be discovered (or may even be considered authoritative!). Financial analysts are often the worst offenders – we have been promised an Apple tablet more times than I can count, assured that an iPhone nano was on the way, and where’s that iPod touch with a camera?

However, market analysts like me (and fellow SlashGear columnist Michael Gartenberg) rarely talk about specific products before they’re launched. Often, that’s because I can’t: vendors frequently tell me what they are working on ahead of time under non-disclosure agreements. Another reason that I don’t make specific predictions is that I simply hate being wrong: my job depends on my being both trustworthy and generally accurate, and I’m not about to jeopardize that for a bit of extra attention in the press.

1 2 3