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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.

The smartphone connection



How Apple and Google are promoting customer loyalty

By The Tech Dad

My wife and I both work in the tech industry, so it’s not surprising that our house sometimes looks more like a Radio Shack storeroom than a family residence. However, I get the impression that we are far from alone in that respect. These days, it’s virtually impossible for any family with kids to avoid the constant accumulation of laptops, iPods, smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices.

What is perhaps more surprising about our gadget collection is its diversity. We have several PCs, a couple of Macs, two iPads, an Android tablet, a variety of iPods, and more smartphones than I care to think about.

Despite the presence of our daughter’s BlackBerry Curve and the obligatory Kindle, our gadgets essentially divide along predictable lines: my wife is a huge Apple fan and I prefer Android. That doesn’t mean that I’m not an admirer of Apple products – I have an iPod touch and I love the convenience of iTunes – but when it comes to staying connected, nothing is going to separate me from my HTC Rezound and my Sony S Tablet.

It seems to me that these strong individual preferences are going to become even more entrenched in the months and years ahead. While Apple, HTC, Motorola and the rest will continue to compete for new smartphone customers, existing iPhone and Android owners will be inclined to stay put. If you have an iPhone, then it’s likely that your next phone will be an iPhone too; and if Android’s your thing, then it will probably be your platform of choice for many years to come.

One of the obvious reasons is familiarity with the two very different operating systems. Whether it’s e-mail, calendar, web surfing, photos, or video conferencing, each platform has a distinct approach that makes it hard for customers to leave and start over.

And then there is the cloud. If you have a Mac, an iPad or an iPhone, life has never been better. The latest iOS 5 introduced iCloud, a new cloud storage and sharing service which automatically syncs content across all your Apple devices. Although not quite as harmonized, Google is also introducing an array of cloud features alongside its standard apps, including services for music, books, documents, and more.

It makes all the sense in the world for Apple and Google to keep offering complementary services, so it's more difficult for customers to leave the comfort of their chosen eco-system. We can argue all we want about the merits of Siri, notifications, and video chat apps, but when it comes to choosing a smartphone platform, it’s becoming harder than ever to break that tried and trusted connection.

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