Market Share Doesn’t Equal Product Sales

This just in: Android had a phenomenal quarter, Nokia’s market share is down 11% year-over-year and Apple and RIM are pretty much holding steady/slightly down.

So the questions come like they do each quarter: when are you going to stop being stupid and develop for <platform X>, which this quarter is Android?

The problem is, from a developer perspective, market share doesn’t equal sales.

Sure, number of devices sold plays a part in the decision but it isn’t the only one and, frankly, not even at the top of the list. So a customer wrote and asked when we were going to develop for Android. This is what I told him:

Thanks for asking. There are a number of factors [regarding us developing for Android], to be honest. One major one is that we are just a small company and developing the skill set for multiple platforms is hard. Once we figure out how to make money in the iOS world than it will be more feasible to look at other platforms.

That is a business decision. The technical issue that concerns me the most is Android’s fracturing. We dealt with this in the Palm world as the OS got licensed to 7-10 hardware manufacturers who all changed the underlying code. Android is even worse. There are over 150 devices and no one device remains popular for more then 4-6 months. On top of that all the major licensees are writing their own UI front ends or completely customizing the OS.

For us it is the calculator specifically that is a problem. It just doesn’t resize at all and has to be customized — rewritten — for every hardware change.

This doesn’t change my opinion of Android. I think it will do very well in the market and people will buy lots of Android devices, whether they are actually Android devices with Google’s direction or some offshoot of that. Hardware guys will love it because it is free (without Google’s apps) and they can put their own UI stamp on the device, especially with Microsoft setting the specific standard for Windows Phone 7. But I think it is going to be very difficult for developers in that market. So far, with 160,000 devices sold daily, there are no stories of developer success at all.

This doesn’t mean we won’t ever write for Android. It just means Infinity Softworks sits on the sidelines and watches, at least for a while longer.

3 thoughts on “Market Share Doesn’t Equal Product Sales

  1. PowerOne is the only reason I still keep my Clie around. I have the windows and Blackberry versions too, but I’ve about had enough of Blackberry and am switching to Android. I certainly understand your position on development for the platform, and I will continue to look forward to PowerOne Droid. You would have the market to yourselves, as there is nothing out there that even comes close.

  2. PowerOne, is probably the only reason im keeping my Clie TH-55 also. All the calculators in the Android market suck or are very limited. I used handycalc for now, but even that doesn’t do all the awesome templates that PowerOne can do, and build more templates. I’d be the first in line to buy this in the market. Hopefully you guys wake up to the reality that Android will probably end up overtaking Blackberry, and Apple in the phone world. If you check out some of the market research it clearly shows Android to be ahead of RIM/Apple. You should be cautious not to wait to long as you will not be able to compete too long if other calculators figure out how to do what you do and are in the market longer and get blocked out due to the flood of others in the market.

    But I do understand its a timing game in business… chicken or egg…

    good luck, hope to see you in the very near droid future!

  3. Droid X is awesome! PowerOne Finance is awesome! Now, if only the two would meet, I wouldn’t have to pack my ipod touch around just for the sake of having PowerOne Finance. Please consider developing for the Droid.

    Thanks for lisntening!


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