For those which may not have noticed, the great (computer) printer manufactures like Hewlett Packard, Epson, Canon and the like will basically give a printer away for free and in some cases pay you to take it. Why you ask, simple they want you to buy their ink and buy lots of it as it’s an annuity based business that creates repeat sales month over month yielding far better margins and volumes then semi-durable printers which can last many years (I personally had an HP for 10 years till it gave up the ghost).
However this still doesn’t explain the Android link as what does a “mobile” operating system have to do with printer ink? Well let’s look at something; Cisco says that there will be a mind numbing 788 million mobile-only Internet users by 2015 carrying a smartphone in their hand. Here the leader of the pack has been the venerable Apple ™ iPhone and while sole sourced on the AT&T network it has now spread to the CDMA arena to continue its upward push. However with its aging “radio” limiting it to the 3G bands and Apple ™ strangle hold on the App Store ™ again further controlling the “user”, what else remains for its future?
Enter the Android Operating System by Google which is finding its way into almost every nook and cranny of the mobile device world which is exploding around us be it big or small smart phones, to the new range of iPad ™ competitive tablets. However Google ™ basically licenses this for free making it the Linux of the mobile world if you will and if you look at the sheer volume of the iPhone ™ and Android ™ handset market, it has exploded by 70 percent in 2010 bringing their united share of the smartphone market to 23 percent which is over double what it was in 2009 of only 11 percent.
However when we break out Android ™, Cisco reports that in 2010 use of the Google ™ OS dramatically catching up with the front running iPhone™. As at the start of 2010 iPhone ™ data consumption exceeded Android’s by a factor of four (4), however by only the end of the year, the iPhone ™ was only outpacing devices using open source operating systems like Android ™ by a mere 1.75. Meaning the gap between the two rivals has been split in less than half, however again what does this have to do with ink?
In short, Google ™ is creating a means to drive a feeding frenzy for its on-line services to increase the potential of content delivery to you the mobile consumer as Google ™ themselves reported that the number of just YouTube videos delivered to mobile devices around the world tripled in 2010, to over 200 million video views each day. Again, this reported volume was only to the “mobile user” community, so what better way to drive further consumption then steal a page from the printer manufactures play book and just give it away? As the easier you make the data to access, the natural course of events will follow the path of least resistance and before you know it there are 788 million people on your door step…