What it would take to make GPE devices successful

Discussion in 'Android News' started by pc747, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. pc747

    pc747 Administrator
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    [​IMG]

    A couple of years ago Google and manufacturers gambled and gave the community vanilla devices sold on the Google Play Store. Unfortunately it was a failure as people did not want to pay full retail for a developer device. But I believe developer devices lacked options as well as exposure.

    Here are ways Google and OEMS could make GPE devices work.
    • Sell it through Best Buy. I may be in the minority but anything more than $400 and I am going to want the option to insure it and I can do that through Best Buy as well as have a brick and mortar for exchanges vs postal.
    • Radios and certification to operate on all US carrier's LTE network (ala' Nexus 6). The power of having a device without being tied to a carrier is awesome and I do not want to give that power up.
    • Manufacturers offering more options for GPE devices: Enthusiasts gravitate to vanilla devices because they want to decide what to have on their devices versus the manufacturer. So if (for example) Samsung allowed GPE Galaxy devices to install the features they wanted it would be a more attractive choice for those of us who want clean devices free of bloat. And they could easily lock the apps to prevent others from stealing their software.
    • Unlockable bootloader done simple like nexus devices (fastboot OEM unlocked) and factory images easily accessible so users can unbrick or manually update their device.
    • Google create the software for GPE devices and post factory images.
    As much as I love my nexus 6 I will admit that at times I would like a device like the note 4 but do not want to compromise on the freedoms of an unlockable bootloader, swift updates, and the option to root. But I also would like a good camera so my ideal device would be a hybrid.

    What would it take to get you to buy in to a GPE device and why do you think it failed?
     
    #1 pc747, Apr 7, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
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  2. pc747

    pc747 Administrator
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    First article I have written on my phone so hopefully it formats correctly.
     
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  3. Jeffrey

    Jeffrey Premium Member
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    Ya did good!!!
     
  4. bsweetness

    bsweetness Moderator
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    1) Lack of marketing

    2) Price (and lack of on-contract availability through carriers)

    3) Lack of in-store availability

    Those really are the main three reasons why GPE devices have failed. If Google wanted to reboot the program successfully, those are what they'd have to address first. I agree with your other points, but without first tackling these three, nothing else will really matter.
     
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  5. LoneWolfArcher

    LoneWolfArcher Silver Member

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    Those of us willing to pay full retail for a handset are fringe minority. I think bsweetness above's point #2 above tells the tail. People want things on the cheap, even if it means locking them into a contract or losing unlimited data, etc.

    Personally, I would like to see things go back the other way: EVERYONE pays full retail and then we all get less expensive data plans/calling plans etc. I know that is a pipe dream, but the current model of cheap handsets (or at least the illusion thereof) has created an entitlement culture among smartphone users.
     
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  6. Jonny Kansas

    Jonny Kansas Administrator
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    I'll be interested to see if these devices become more prevalent when Google's mobile service comes to fruition.

    I think these devices are more of a niche that the nexus line. People buy nexus devices for a reason. They'd buy a GPE device for a similar reason, but, given the choice between an officially "Google-approved" nexus device and another device that's running vanilla android, but still not a nexus, I think most people who're in the market for a nexus-type device will still prefer a nexus device. Maybe that's just me, but it certainly seems that way.
     
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  7. johnomaz

    johnomaz Silver Member

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    Let people choose their experience. If a phone is offered as a GPE too, let the user, upon first set up of the device, choose what they want. Let a factory image be flashed (obviously not a novice user ability but many will like it) to make it GPE without any kind of unlocking. I would totally buy an S6 if I could put pure Android on it without needing to unlock.
     
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  8. squeak

    squeak Active Member

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    I think that in store availability and offering the customer device financing are the two keys. Neither are going to make the them sell to the average joe. I'd say atleast half of the sales the GPE devices get will be people that otherwise would have bought a nexus, therefor decreasing the sale of nexus devices.
     
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  9. dezymond

    dezymond Tech Support Mod
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    I think more carrier support was needed. Take the Galaxy Nexus for example, that was pretty much a GPE phone with some bloat. If carriers were to offer that as an option on a 2yr contract instead of the full price these carriers sell them at, it could've been more successful.

    The Galaxy Nexus to this day has been my favorite phone because it displayed Android the way it was meant to. Now I was on Verizon, so I didn't get the updates I expected at the speeds, but other than the updates, it was a pure Google experience for me, again not counting the updates. I know Verizon offers the M8 and S4 in GPE variants, but you'll have to shell out some serious cash to get your hands on one at full retail price.

    The problem was pricing and availability. Fix those issues and I think Google can be more successful selling GPE devices. I know I would line up for one, even if I do stick with Verizon. Right now my s4 is stock rooted using Google Launcher, so that's about as close to a GPE phone I'll get while on Verizon for now, I'm not shelling out $700 for a phone unless it lowers my monthly rate for the plan I'm on.
     
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  10. Ollie

    Ollie Droid Does

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    99% of people couldn't tell the difference between a GPE vs an OEM edition. The only way GPE will ever be mainstream is if Google mandated it. We know that will never happen. They barely have the power to make "Powered by Android" mandatory.

    How I feel it should work is that you power on your phone for the first time and walk through the initial setup. Then a pop up should tell you that you are now experiencing Android as Google has intended it. It should ask you whether or not you would like to continue using GPE or download and experience the OEM's skin. Afterwards it should then tell you that a package of apps is available from your carrier and whether or not you would like to install their bloat.

    It would be interesting to see the numbers then as far as how many people chose GPE over Sense, TW, etc and how many people stuck with it.
     
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  11. Jonny Kansas

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    Couldn't agree more. I'd especially like it if you could pick and choose from aspects of the skin that you want. Just cherry-pick the TouchWiz features.
     
  12. cr6

    cr6 Super Moderator
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    Great points made by all. But, this debate about "letting the people choose what's put on their device, or what they can remove" has been going on for years and the manufacturers/carrier's simply don't care. They provide alternatives yes, like Nexus & GPE, but the fact is, the general public could care less and that's evident by the sales numbers.
    I think LoneWolf makes a great argument that people have become spoiled with "on contact" pricing . It's like the general population failed 7th grade economics, in that they expect the latest & greatest device, but get all bent out of shape if they actually have to pay for it. IMO, it shouldn't be any different then purchasing any other high ticket item, by setting aside money each month until you can actually afford to buy it outright. I hear so many people over the years say, "I can't afford that", or "I can't/won't save the money". Well I call foul. Most of us are responsible adults here who CAN afford it, we simply choose not to.
    Obviously the carrier's in the U.S. have played a role in this by offering the latest & greatest (on contract) for 199 or less, and/or 99 dollars one month later. I think once people move away from this way of buying (or upgrading) their smartphones, and join the rest of the world's purchasing habits, only then will we start seeing better pricing from our carrier's.

    As for the GPE devices, I think the way these devices are advertised hurts overall sales of these devices. As previously noted, the lack of in store availability & overall marketing are the key problems here. The point is, the general public is hugely influenced by advertising, and your average soccer Mom or business man isn't interested in a GPE or Nexus device. If they were, you'd see it in the yearly sales figures. Instead, they want a device that has as many bells & whistles as they can get, regardless of whether they will use them or not, and this is why even Nexus devices have never been huge sellers outside of most Android enthusiast circles. Compared to the big picture (in terms of marketshare), "we're" (the tech enthusiast) are but a small minority who are actually concerned with bloat and unlocked bootloaders, and these numbers continue to drop each year as fewer & fewer people concern themselves with root.

    S5 tap'n
     
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