It seems like everyone is launching a smart phone these days.
Earlier this week Google started selling a smart phone. Today Dell rolled out a new one. Motorola is still aggressively promoting the Droid. Apple keeps investing in the iPhone. RIM is spending heavily on Blackberry. Palm, Samsung and Nokia are still in the game. HP and Cisco make smart phones, too.
And that doesn’t count the ebooks, netbooks and tiny laptops that all are starting to look a lot like smart phones, too.
I don’t know how this will all play out, but I will predict one thing with confidence: this will not end well for most of these companies.
The problem with attractive, growing markets is that everyone rushes in. But creating a product and building a successful, strong brand are two very different things. It is difficult to break through the clutter, and hard to succeed if you are a small player without a clear point of difference.
I have no idea, for example, how Dell plans to succeed with its smart phone. I’m also unclear about Google’s plan. Of course, Google makes so much money on its core business that making a profit may be a secondary concern.
Look for many of these companies to exit the industry in the next two years. There is a big shakeout ahead.
I think you’re right on most of those names getting hurt, but the commodity hardware OEM’s like Dell don’t really need a key differentiator. I think they’re “hanging around the hoop” so to speak, until the Android OS matures and smart handsets become more of a commodity. When complexity is reduced, they can pump out volume and compete on price. They think smartphones will be just like PCs.