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How NOT To Raise A Generation of Android Users

October 15, 2011

So, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) killed it this week, reporting earnings that were way above any analyst expectations.  Larry Page must feel smugly good about his short time as the king of the next generation money making castle.

Well, Mr. Page, I am here to tell you that the deep moat that you think you have  may turn out to be more shallow than you think.

As previously mentioned, I had bought an Asus EeePad Transformer tablet as soon as I discovered how engaging it was for my kids.  But that was only because I had previously worked with Android tablets and was thus, able to “evangelize” it to my kids.

When it comes to selling a product, features and functionality are in many cases, less important than the effective marketing of the product.

As an example, let’s take a look at how Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is currently approaching the marketing of tablets to the younger generation:

1.) First develop a marketing program and a business plan that is targeted at students, like the one that Apple has here.

2.) Next train evangelists to evangelize your program in schools.

3.) Next, promote and support developers and SME’s (such as this one) to develop apps targeted for school aged kids.

4.) Use social media (facebook, twitter, YouTube, blogs, AdWord campaigns, etc) along with conventional media (tv, magazines, newspapers) to promote your program, with the objective of gathering enough of a critical mass of supporters to promote on your behalf.

5.) Create additional targeted publicity for your program by holding a contest similar this one.

6.) Finally plan for world domination by strategic selection of schools to convert all across North America, one school district superintendent at a time.

With any kind of committment to the above 5 steps, it shouldn’t be too hard to achieve some sort of success.  Success is measured by the number of kids who adopt the company’s devices as their own.  There’s actually an education ecosystem at work here:

Teachers / Parents:  They have the ability to choose what technology products to incorporate into their classrooms / lives.  The indirect customers.

Developers/SME‘s:  They have a vested financial interest in producing the best apps for the students

Students:  the basic consumers of technology products and apps

Platform Provider:  Google or Apple

Once the kids becomes used to using the iPads, they then bring that comfort with the technology, along with Apple’s new found mindshare into their post graduation lives.  Voila, you now have a new generation of loyal followers to evangelize your cause on your behalf.

The Army recruits students out of high school, trains them, and prepares them to be soldiers.  They then march out into the world, ready to fight for the cause of the General.  It’s not that much different of a process to raise a generation of tablet users.

Now let’s take a look at what Google is doing:

1) marketing program and business plan targeted specifically to students:

I did a search for Google in education and Android in education.  Unlike the Apple search results, the results were just despicably pitiful.  Apple’s criticism about fragmentation is not off base.  Five different google sites talk about five different aspects of education with no coherent theme, let alone strategy.

2) Train evangelists to evangelize the student oriented business plan.

Nope, no matter how hard I searched, I could not find anything.

3)  promote and support developers and SME’s (such as this one) to develop apps targeted for school aged kids.

I had to search long and hard in the android marketplace for some learning apps for kids:  Talking Kids Math, Slice It, Math Wiz, Math Practice

The iTunes store, on the other hand, has way more selection and categories of apps for different students.  The vast choice of iPhone/iPad apps available for students makes android look like a two-bit amateur.

4) Social media to promote the business plan:

Google doesn’t have a plan, nor any semblance of an education program therefore, there is nothing to promote

5) Create additional targeted publicity for your program by holding a contest:

On Google.org, you have to apply to them to obtain technology products in your school.  So, basically, they see placing Google products into schools as a philanthropic activity.

On all counts, Google has utterly, completely, and most sincerely failed on absolutely all counts in raising a generation of Android Tablet users.

Meanwhile, Apple has spent all the upfront marketing expense and other expenditures;  it now has a steady supply of loyal fanbase to buy whatever products it wants to flog.  Apple could probably stamp its logo on a bunch of pet rocks and sell it for an obscene profit.  Android, unfortunately, is now at risk of being marginalized to niche markets like techno-nerds, and sophisticated users who don’t mind pressing the screen 3 times (or more) just to turn off WiFi.

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