"The Nexus One is an exemplar of what's possible with Android," Google executives said during the Web cast of the press event, adding that the phone was part of an emerging category it calls "superphones."
From The Street of January 5, this is a super example of a classic strategic move: Let the competition fight over an existing market ("smart phones") while your company declares a new category ("superphones") that it intends to dominate (become the "gorilla" of) before the competitors can change strategies and counter-attack.
Notice how this maneuver leaves the iPhone sounding implicitly "old" and behind.
That is very clever and very powerful for Google. Now Apple has to say "Hey, me-too!" And Google can say "We are the leader of this new market segment!"
The battle is on and will continue. 2010 is getting very interesting.
STARTUP OPENING = HUGE OPPORTUNITY
What has actually happened, in economic terms, is the emerging market (cell phones) has grow so huge that it is now dividing up into segments (splintering). Like seeds from a dandelion flower, the tiny seeds spread, land and begin to grow into new markets. Each new tiny segment is uncontested, is open for a company to aim to dominate.
Each segment is expected to be huge, but not all will spawn the next Apple or Google or Nokia.
Instead, each fresh segment will have special characteristics important to selecting the strategy for each competitor.
Here are the current lineups of various segments:
- Cell phones for the global masses = Nokia
- Cool smart phones for Apple lifestyle youth (25 and under) = Apple/iPhone
- Corporate smart phones = RIM/Blackberry (25 and up)
- Super phones (or are they "Uber Phones"?) = TBD (Google hopes to be gorilla of this one)
- Korean smart phones = Samsung is gorilla and LG the very large chimpanzee catching up, fast.
- China smart phones = Nokia plus Motorola (but the second round of the war has just started
- Try Africa, South America and you'll get different gorillas for different segments.
So if you are a startup doing "apps" which is best to focus on?
If you are delivering a mobile service, which do you have to cover?
The good news is you can learn from this classical strategic maneuver and apply it to your startup. That's called the "Flanking" maneuver. It is three times more successful than the head-on attack trying to exploit one weakness in a market leader (the gorilla will crush you).
BOTTOM LINE: Each emerging market matures, then splinters, opening fresh markets to all comers. Startups can exploit the new markets by declaring a new category (which they intend to dominate). Focus on that with 100 percent of the startup until you dominate and become its gorilla. And remember: you do it all with an unfair competitive advantage.
I wish you The Best on your Adventure!