Choice is King.

Posted on 08 February 2010, Last updated on 11 March 2010 by

Here’s a short and sweet message to everyone that insists on using terms like ‘game changer’  and ‘killer’ to define the success of a product. Customers don’t give a shit about winners and losers.


Let’s say a small company makes a device that sells 50 thousand units, makes a lot of customers happy and pulls in $1 million profit but fails to make any impact whatsoever on the market as a whole. Is that a failure?

Choice is success.

It’s time for some people out there to re-think what success means and to start being honest about what we need in the market. Variation, personalisation and choice is key and with more variation possible in the mobile computing market than ever before, the last thing we want is for journalists, analysts and bloggers to take sides and declare anything a failure before they analyze the advantage of choice.

We’ve learnt something in the last three years of research and discussion (hat tip at this point to the 20,000 comments from our wonderful readers) about the market between smartphones and netbooks. It’s personalized, splintered and fluid and every device that launches in it is going to be relatively ‘niche.’ That’s how it should continue – personalised computing.

Tech journalists, bloggers and analysts need to get over that need for winners and losers. Customers want choice and all tech companies should be encouraged to aim for niche, personalized, innovative products.

Want to see what choice looks like? Check this out.

18 Comments For This Post

  1. UMPCPortal says:

    New article: Choice is King.

  2. Mobile Ninja says:

    Choice is King. #mobile

  3. lexequinerad says:

    Hi Chippy. Good competition, and entrepreneurship, is what engenders new dynamic devices. I am hopeful, that we will see comparison “benchmarks” on the UMPCs, MIDs, tablets, convertible tablets, and netbooks/smartbooks. Why does the industry, not like to post Specs and benchmark comparisons? I know that the “gameplan” of Apple has been cloaked in secrecy, only until the device is torn apart. Intel, Nvidia, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Marvell, AMD, Microsoft, Google(Chrome & Android), and Linux, should and will make significant contributions in device/OS development. I am really impressed with the new Viliv UMPCs, one, of which I may purchase down the line.

  4. Fred says:

    Well said Chippy. While Apple has the $$$ and is good at creating hipe, doesn’t make the iPad a product for every one. I aknoledge that tey did their homework and have a good device for some or for a specific use but we can see variety even in nature. How many diferent spieces there are and they all have diferent qualities and we use them or appreciate them for that. The ultimate all in one devise do not exist and will not. The time the natzies and communism (app’ hint) tried to make everyone think the same color, the progress stopped. We are mortal and have a long way to perfection. Besides Jobs has alway waited for UMPC, tablet PC, mids and smartphone companies to come up with the concept and build market, manufacturing, technology and then they just come, use what is already there, create hipe with investors. throu a lot of money into one product and then call it a new invention. a UMPC could have the same specs and quality as an Apple product but at a higher cost. Why? stragedy. They sell millions of units, not because is the ultimate invention but because they know how to sell big. Hipe is 1 one ingredient but again lets not confuse that with “killer” or “game changer”. Do other companies wait for Apple to come up with their new product before they spec theirs? YES They are followers. but they so not realize the potential they have. Do not copy Apple. Do your own stuff and do it well. Viliv is a good example.

  5. Fred says:

    The hipe around the iPad is not because of the item itself but because how well their are at selling their products. McDonals owns the some of the best corners or sites (Real Estate well located), also they have a very good system to supply franchizes, prepare their item very quick, and the last key factor is the advertizement that creates what I call Hipe. They do not sell millions because they have the ultimate hamburger. Now many try to copy them but not “succsseed” at the same level. Why because they are copying. Savy customers go to where hamburgers are good and the customer service is exelent. 2 very important keys to keep your clients. These companies could sell millions as well making a diferent product using McDonals Strategy witch is not patented, it is just how capitalism works. But they will fail to succsseed if they copy the hamburger. No product can be the iPhone or iPad killer. The iPhone and the iPad are what they are but Viliv, archosa and other are different. We are very stupid as humans some times. It is true that we make desitions heavily influences by EMOTIONS but some companies know how to explode them at max. Think before you buy. Its a shame to see how many will ware the same type of pants or put an ear ring because my friends have one. Don’t be iRobot.

  6. alkarl says:

    it’s without a doubt a beautifull collection, reminds me of gaming console world and the utopia of gathering all the hardware and playing all specific titles and especially handheld consoles :D

    of course always following the idea of pocketable & fully functionnal computer, till a certain level of functionnality for UMPC’s is reached (ex: NETBOOK),
    my idea of which criterias are meaningfull is;
    functionnality (full OS, full connectivity),
    performance (CPU, GC, storage),
    longevity (baterry capacity).
    and my standpoint remains the same;
    more, more, more.

    i think that this will eventually happen, because SMARTPHONES OS’s are begining to do more things, i am glad also that the HD2 introduced big sized screen to the mainstream public and i like the turn this race is taking, unwillingly but inevitably shedding light on pocketable UMPC’S.

  7. Minions says:

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with having a niche market for your products. They main problem however, is extremely large gaps in time between similar products. This however is not always the case as of late however. I believe we have 2 XP phone’s coming out, 2 Clam shell mids (N5/BZ), and many Tablets. I’m all for competition in all of these areas, as it will drive prices down and give the customers what they really want (MORE CHOICE).

    MID’s have been, and always will be a niche market. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, most analysts will always be looking for the bridge between the smartphone and netbook…. a space that I believe will never /really/ have one true end-all-be-all device. (This space will always be based on individual consumers, and what they want, not the masses).

  8. Vakeros says:

    Hi Chippy,
    As you know (at least if you check) I have been reading and commenting on this site for a number of years now. I agree that the usual way that people use the phrase “game changer” and “killer” is ‘mist’. But we mustn’t be blind to the occasional “game changers (GC)” which do exist. These are the ones that bring something new to the market. The iPhone itself isn’t a GC, but the App Store and simplicity of use is. The iPad definitely isn’t a GC, but is there anything it offers which is i.e. bringing the Tablet to the masses?
    The Psion 3 for me was a GC, because it brought me my 1st pocketable computer. The Psion 5 is a better machine, with the best small keyboard yet but maybe isn’t a GC, but rather a refined GC.
    This is where the personalised part comes in, because if you never owned a Psion 3, but became aware of the Psion 5 and bought it then for YOU it was a GC. Another way to evaluate GCs is to think of them as Market Leaders. Do other companies think we should be doing that and emulate them. If they do then your device was a GC for the market. However their device (which has copied yours) can also be a GC because of how it impacts the market further.
    What I guess the point of this comment is, that rather than stating nothing is a GC, rather say that being a GC isn’t all it is rated to be. The real question should be – does it do what you want it to do. Or as a reviewer – what does it offer and to whom.

  9. Richard Goodmann says:

    Choice is King. | UMPCPortal – Ultra Mobile Personal Computing

  10. lexequinerad says:

    It will be interesting to see which company, manufactures the most advanced, multicore ARM Cortex A9 processor. Will it be Nvidia Tegra 2, SoC(8 individual cores), Texas Instrument’s OMAP 4, Qualcomm’s version (progression of Snapdragon), Apple’s A4 SoC (iPad), Marvell Technologies (maker of the PXA 168, and developing “Quad-core ARM Cortex A9), Samsung, and other ARM licencees. Then, there is the Intel Moorestown SoC platform, demoes on the LG GW 990 at the recent CES. It sure will be interesting.

  11. Sarig says:

    Good post, Chippy!

  12. borax99 (Alain C.) says:

    Viva Viliv !

  13. Gadgety says:

    Chippy, I’m all for choice and competition as it brings continually improved devices. However, I believe that today HYPE is KING. I find that tech companies in general, and mobile tech companies in particular – and mobile phone companies even more so – utilize customers’ lack of information to supply gear to bloggers and journalists who promote it as if on a payroll, just repeating the company PR. Devices are continually released by the vast majority of manufacturers as if “almost there” usually lacking some crucial function, which is promised in a future upgraded version, or in a software updated. This is why it is so crucial that people such as yourself and JKK exist who are willing to do live demos of devices in depth, posting hour long videos etc and really testing things.

  14. admin says:

    @gadgety. I agree there’s a lot of cuddling up with PR companies going on and after a while the blinkers build-up. In a way, JKK and I are lucky that we operate in a fairly niche segment where marketing money is minimal but even if PR companies really start pushing mobile computing, those live sessions we do will keep us honest!

    @Vakeros Yesm you are right. There are personal game changers. I think my point is that some people tend to take a blanket view to appease readers/customers and that they don’t realise that the FAIL they see could be a GAME CHANGER for others. A always think of those big-key phones as something most people ignore as a failure but it’s a game-changer for poor sighted people.

  15. Vakeros says:

    Just re-read your main post. There are of course some customers who only care about the in-thing. They get it to be part of the in-crowd.
    There are also a lot of people who don’t know what is available and go to experts for advice or just ask the sales guy (who often doesn’t have a clue) or buy something they have seen someone else has.
    Generalisations are of course just that. But I do know that Apple have been doing something right and that’s why some commentators get fixated on them as the people to do better than.

  16. lexequinerad says:

    Its beneficial that Chippy, and JKK, give us test videos of these devices. Every manufacturer wants to be a “game changer,” especially Apple. What Apple has, is that “big PR machine,” with a large Zen-like “cult following.” Many Apple consumers, know very little of deep and real technology, on the “forefront.” Although I have been a MS Windows person, I am keeping myself open about other possibilities, down the line, that is “choice is king.” We will have to see how Nvidia Tegra 2,SoC,CortexA9, TI OMAP3,4, AppleA4, Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-cores, Samsung’s, and the other ARM licensee’s chips perform, in the real “context of a device, running an OS.” I was pretty impressed with the Intel Moorestown SoC platform, running Linux Moblin on the LG superPhone GW990. The demo showed the device, easily “multi-tasking,” utilizing 3 panes on that long landscape-oriented display, running Avatar…Pretty impressive stuff. Watch out for Intel.

  17. lexequinerad says:

    Chippy,…just hot off the press at Engadget at less that 3 hours ago. Handheld US has introduced ruggedized 7 in touchscreen tablet device, called the Algiz 7 tablet. It utilizes an Intel Atom at 1.6 GHz, has 2GB of RAM, runs Windows 7 Pro, and has 64 GB SSD. It has 3G,GPS,swappable 2400 mAh dual battery, and will be available in one month. No price stated, but will be expensive, my guess…P

  18. rolling laptop cases says:

    I can’t figure this out. Mind helping me?

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