Recently, Apple did not announce that they would be selling their iPhone at WalMart. In fact, the San Jose Mercury news said that a $99 4-GB version would be sold at the #1 retailer – before Christmas; and the leading rumor site for all things Apple countered with “only the $198 8-GB version will be available at WMT, and that would be after the 28th of Dec”.
Either way, this will significantly increase the number of people who desire to own an iPhone [or an iPod Touch]. Obviously, this is not aimed at expanding Apple’s presence in the business community [not aimed at the Blackberry market], but instead, Joe-6-Pac [or is that Joe the plumber?]. In the unfortunate event that the potential buyer just signed a contract with another cell carrier, they could be cross-sold an iPod Touch – at WalMart.
People who were intrigued by the Android platform [which Google tried to promote - using "amaterurish" videos on GoogTube - knowing fully well that they were competing with Apple's slick advertisement campaigns], watched the “Android Chronicles” – in despair; were appalled at the G1-Phone’s clunky feel, not as cool as the iPhone looks, and a not so significantly cheaper $179 price tag [albeit with only a one year contract - with T-mobile (which has the sparsest network in the USA)]. These issues make it almost impossible for all – except the most die-hard Android fan, to like the G1-Phone.
There is a HUGE difference between AAPL’s iPhone effort and GOOG’s Android program. First AAPL’s iPhone/Ipod Touch is not just a device. It is a hardware/software platform – with games, widgets, everything, and it performs pretty darned well as a phone. RIMM addresses the only chink in the iPhone armor – secure e-mail platform – that your employer’s IT department will support [meaning - you cannot go crazy, visit some on-line store and download your favourite software - you can use whatever IT says you can]. Android wants to be all things to all people. Sure, it is a powerful software [Linux based] platform, but GOOG has no control over what the devices look like or feel like – nor does it control the applications written for Android…..
In other words, the Apple-WalMart deal will deliver a death blow to the still young G1-Phone/Android platform. Yet, GOOG could possibly be redeemed by an innovative device maker – who can come up with something as cool as the iPhone/iPod Touch…… the odds that something like a competition to the iPhone will emerge from the Android platform is very close to zero.
Actually, I figured this after I had written what I thought would be the last sentence of this article. The iPhone, and the G1-Phone have one thing in common – their CPU is an ARM-based core. Therein ends the similarities. In fact, I was looking for a pop in Arm’s stock when the G1-Phone was released…. [needless to say, it did not happen].
Disclosures: No positions in AAPL, RIMM, ARMH, GOOG, Deutsche Telekom, ATT, WalMart.
© Bapcha’s Stocks, Dec 9, 2008.