Vertical has won.

I argued a couple of months ago that Android could well not exist, and the picture would not change much. It served as a strong brand for Samsung’s recognition, but now that the market sees the value in Samsung itself, its hardware, its ecosystem, Android is a second rate player. Actually, people don’t buy and Android phone from Samsung, they buy a Samsung phone that runs Android Apps, interacts with Samsung TVs, looks good and is cheaper than an iPhone.

That is why Google builds its own hardware now. And Microsoft. Vertically integrated has won.

There is no Apple vs. Android war.

That’s it. I said it. There is no such thing as a war between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.

There is a war indeed between Apple, Samsung, HTC, Nokia, RIM, Motorola etc., for the profits in the handset space. Apple controls 73% of those profits.

There is also a war for the mobile ads revenue between platforms (iOS and Android mainly) to generate as much money from advertising as possible. Apparently, iOS quadruples the advertising revenue for Google that Android brings.

What can we extract from these facts?

Conclusion 1: Apple is eating almost all the money, and Samsung is reaping the leftovers of the cake, with regards to mobile phone profits. Basically everyone else is bleeding money quarter after quarter. This game is about making money, not about unit sales or other stuff. No war to be seen between Android and Apple here. Android is a platform for advertising created by Google, it does not play this game.

Conclusion 2: In the mobile advertising space, Google is the big fish, and it makes much more money from iOS than it does from Android. Interesting, but still no war here. This is a game about making the most money from ad prints. Sheer volume is meaningful here, as are user habits, willingness to purchase online services and more. Google does not care which phone you use, as long as the advertising revenue goes to their pocket. Android and iOS are not competing here. Android brings the sheer volume, iOS brings the revenue-per-user. Win-win.

Who is losing?

I dare say Apple wins big hardware money, Google wins advertising money, Samsung wins little hardware money. Everyone else loses money everywhere.

Android could really not exist: it has a strong userbase, but it really does not mean much for anybody. Samsung makes very good hardware that would sell equally well with their own Bada OS. Google makes tons of ad money from iOS, and it would make money from every other platform in the world… Even its own, that loses them money every quarter. Apple is generating profits at the stunning pace of $128 million a day. No real impact from Android here.

There really is no war. Where the dollars are, they are well controlled by Apple, Google and somewhat Samsung. Android just happens to have become the Symbian of the 2010’s: large user count, almost irrelevant financially for everyone. And it seems everybody’s happy this way.

Let there be love.

A phone too big for a phone... wait what?

Ben Brooks is really funny here.

Walt Mossberg’s conclusion:

The Samsung Galaxy Note isn’t for everyone, and I can’t recommend it as the main mobile phone for most people. But as a stylus-driven small tablet, it might be just what some users are looking for.

I’ve been dying to get my hands on a “stylus-driven small tablet” that’s at once too big to use as a phone and too small to replace an iPad. Sounds fantastic.

The truth is, the average Android user is not the same as the average iPhone user. iPhone users surf the web more, they’re more willing to buy software, they’re more willing to install and use apps. Some of these stats aren’t even close. What I see as the fundamental flaw in the Church of Market Share doctrine is the assumption that users are users.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber.

Indeed, that is the truth. For Google, though, that is a non-issue: users are eyeballs for them to sell to their real customers, advertisers. For the rest of the world, app developers included, an Android user will most likely be less profitable than an iPhone/iPad user… But that’s their problem, right Google?

Google wants to sell your eyes for ads to advertisers, Apple wants to sell you a great device. It is just coincidental that these devices make good billboards for ads… Android exists for that sole purpose, that explains why fragmentation is needed (to reach as many segments as possible) even if it results in a worse user experience (nobody cares, they just want to show you ads in as many devices as possible).

So, for Google, a user really is a user is a user is a user. For Apple, it is a customer.


Android screen resolution madness

Google’s Android developer’s guide states that:

Before publishing your application, you should thoroughly test it in all of the supported screen sizes and densities.

The title links to this same guide, where these supported screen sizes and densities are listed. It’s worth checking it out. That’s twenty different resolutions developers have to test their applications against. Twenty. No wonder resolution fragmentation is increasingly high, and developer pain grows accordingly.

This is one of the reasons why Apple kept the same screen size for their iPhone 4S: until they can significantly increase the current density to accommodate a re-doubled resolution, they won’t touch screen size. Fragmentation is not an option in their view.

Why is there no iPhone 5?

Horace Dediu gives what I consider hands down the best analysis of Apple’s yesterday move with the iPhone 4s:

Because an iPhone 5 is not needed meaning that it would over-serve the market and price itself out of contention.

The question will be very different a year from now when most early Android buyers will be looking for a new phone and when most iPhone 4 users (all 70 million of them) will be looking for a new iPhone. That would seem like a good time to introduce a new iPhone “5″.

Horace points out that current iPhone 4 users are not Apple’s target… yet. They are still locked to their contracts, and their phones are still shiny and powerful. Now it’s time to bring the first 70 million iPhone users up to date.