smartphone

I first prognosticated that the iPhone 6 Plus would outsell the iPhone 6. A week later, I wrote that the forecast was likely going to be wrong.

A report from Consumer Intelligence Partners suggests that for every one iPhone 6 Plus, Apple is selling three times the number of iPhone 6s. It’s unclear whether that’s due to demand, but it’s at least due to supply.

As I wrote before:

The Wall Street Journal reported an unnamed source as saying:

We have been churning out 140,000 iPhone 6 Plus and 400,000 iPhone 6 every day, the highest daily output ever, but the volume is still not enough to meet the preorders.

Foxconn is making nearly 3x many more iPhone 6s than iPhone 6 Pluses, everyday. Given that, it’ll be awfully hard for the iPhone 6 Plus to outsell the iPhone 6.

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I had the original Moto G as a secondary travel phone and loved it. So I was delighted when Motorola sent me a review unit for the 2014 version, which I’ve been using for the last week.

It’s fantastic. It’s the best example of how technology has advanced so much that, even for heavy users, it’s easy to see a future where it’ll no longer be necessary to buy flagship phones to get a great experience.

The Moto G is close but doesn’t quite get there. I can strongly recommend it to light users and to heavy users as a second phone; but for everyone else, it may not always make the best choice.

That said, pound-for-pound, there may be no better phone than the Moto G. It’s the best phone you can buy for $180.

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As Stratechery pointed out, it’s conventional wisdom that Xiaomi is an Internet services company. That selling smartphones at break-even prices is merely a gateway for selling profitable services. Except this might all just be a marketing ploy, because Xiaomi does make money from hardware, and quite a lot of it.

As much as 92% of Xiaomi’s 3.46 billion yuan profit (or $566 million US dollars) is from hardware. That’s profit, not revenue.

Let’s start with how Xiaomi’s CEO, Lei Jun, describes the company:

We’re actually an Internet company. We’ve already got a business in mobile phone hardware and we want to add to that an Internet platform. We can earn money from that, once it’s established. People just don’t get it. The mobile phone itself is only the carrier. Microsoft used to sell Windows in a box with a CD in it. Does that make Microsoft a paper box company? The box and the CD are only the carrier. If people don’t understand this, they can’t understand [Xiaomi].

Wouldn’t Microsoft be a paper box company if paper boxes actually generated 92% of its profit? If people cared more about the paper box than whatever’s inside?

An Internet company might be what Lei Jun wants Xiaomi to be one day, but right now it’s squarely a smartphone company.

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My OnePlus One review and the nine customizations I recommend for it are among the most popular posts on this blog. It’s easy to see why. Even with the all the new phones coming out for the holidays, the OnePlus One remains one of the best phones you can buy. If you can stomach not being able to take a phone into a store nearby for customer service, the One’s combination of power, price, aesthetics and software is nigh unbeatable.

So of course I noticed that OnePlus is moving from an invite to a pre-order system, similar to how you’d pre-order an iPhone or Xiaomi. People must log on the moment the system opens up and it’s a mad scramble to be among those who click nanoseconds faster than others.

To no one’s surprise, the OnePlus One pre-order page went bust when it opened to spike in traffic earlier this week. To think that it’s enough to merely double server capacity is naive!

Anyway, I hate the whole system. It’s not consumer friendly and it’s not company friendly either. Here’s how I would have done it.

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Yesterday, we reviewed the Moto 360. Please check it out if you haven’t already. Today, we take a closer look at the operating system.

The future of the smartwatch is to be the primary entry point for your digital life. The device you scan first to get an update on what’s happening, and the preferred device for quick interactions like messaging a friend. You’ll want to use your voice; when it works, it’s the most elegant way to control this small interface.

This is the future that Google has presented with Android Wear. It’s an exciting one — even more exciting than Apple’s vision — but realization remains in the horizon. Android Wear may change the future tomorrow, but today it only provides a promise for it.

Android Wear is that pimply teenager. You can see the potential, but the teenager just too annoying to be taken seriously yet.

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If you purchased a 5.5-inch smartphone today and don’t own anything else, the next device you buy simply won’t be a mini tablet. That money is better spent on other things, like a laptop or larger tablet. That’s why I believe the future of mini tablets is niche, and why larger tablets and laptops will ultimately converge.

That 5.5-inch device is good enough to be your daily device for personal consumption: browsing the web, reading books and even watching video. It’s still great for phone calls, photos and messages too. If you purchase a second device, it’ll be to do things you can’t do well on a 5.5-inch screen — like office work.

Despite most of Asia being clued into this for the past couple years, and despite large Android phones actually being popular in the US and Europe, the press there seemed largely unaware of this trend.

Until the iPhone 6 Plus.

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Google is a smart company and Sundar Pichai is a smart man.

When Android One was first announced at Google I/O, I didn’t fully understand what the program did. New details have emerged in a BBC article, and I have to say, it’s genius.

I’ve consulted for an Indonesian company before interested in launching its own tablet. It was not an easy process. They had to meet many potential vendors in China, test an endless list of components and spend a lot of time haggling over price. Even then, prototypes were often disappointing from a price-to-performance ratio point of view. It was a huge management challenge, especially for a company whose strength is marketing and distribution.

The Android One program makes all that easy.

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