Dec 27 AT 6:57 PM Dustin Earley 93 Comments

Less quantity, more quality Android devices catching on; Acer joining the pack


During this year’s holiday season news slow-down, a time which usually comes towards the end of the year, and is always full of opinion editorial pieces, Android’s manufacturing model has become a hot topic. It all started a little over a week ago now, when news first hit that HTC is planning on releasing less devices with a focus on higher quality in 2012. It brought up old questions about over saturation, fragmentation and most importantly, what’s best for consumers.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do the math. More devices means more choices for consumers, but there is a point where it becomes overwhelming. It also means more devices for accessory manufacturers to pick and choose from (because they certainly can’t cover them all), less innovation, lower quality products and more devices means more custom updates to develop and supply. All of these problems add up to one thing, a bad consumer experience. So how can manufacturers stop all these problems from happening?

It’s easy. They just have to slow down, and release less devices.

Samsung has started to head in the right direction. They still have a ways to go as far as sorting things out, but releasing one high-end Galaxy S device a year has done wonders to their sales numbers. Unfortunately, Samsung is still having problems keeping up. They recently announced that they would not be updating the Galaxy S and original 7-inch Galaxy Tab to Android 4. But after an outpouring of emotions from Galaxy S owners, Samsung has said that they are going to reevaluate the situation, and see what they can come up with.

Realistically, Samsung decided they wouldn’t update the Galaxy S and Tab because they didn’t want to. Their original decision had nothing to do with what’s best for consumers. Samsung has too much going on, and felt they could better invest their time elsewhere. This is where releasing less phones would really help. They’d have less hardware to focus on, and could devote resources to keeping current costumers happy. Not just finding new ones.

Having been met with more failures than success in the past, Acer is going to try the less quantity, more quality approach. Back in mid-December, Acer Chairman and acting CEO J.T. Wang said that his company’s product lineup would shrink by as much as two-thirds in 2012. Today, Acer’s founder, Stan Shih reiterated this, along with squashing any rumors that Acer was bowing out of the tablet and smartphone race.

Considering the much overlapped development of tablet PC and smartphones, a simplified organization is expected to increase operation efficiency, reduce conflicts in product development and consolidate resources for developing niche and competitive products.Stan ShihAcer

Making less devices with an emphasis on quality isn’t going to skyrocket Acer to the number one spot in Android or Windows devices, but it’s a step in the right direction.  It’s one that all manufacturers with a hand in the Android market need to take.

I know we’ve been saying it a lot here at Android and Me lately, but 2012 is going to be an interesting year for Android. Especially if we see more killer devices, and a lot less terrible ones.

Via: The Verge

Source: Digitimes

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • staryoshi

    2012 is going to be one heck of a year in tech. nVidia’s Tegra 3, Intel re-entering the mobile market, ICS’s widespread adoption, new GPUs from nVidia/AMD, Ivy Bridge, the list goes on… As a hardware-enthusiast it’s a dream come true for me… But waiting is the hardest part :)

    • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

      Can’t wait to see the next Nexus :D

      • staryoshi

        I just got my phone two weeks ago, but I’m already looking forward to phones such as the HTC Edge and Galaxy S III :P

        • thekaz

          Yeah, but reading some of the latest SGSIII rumors, if 3-d is their big selling point, color me not enthused…

          • Dragonithe

            What i’ve heard is that there will be a SIII and a SIIID

      • hmggloria

        I’m in the same excitation!!!! :D:D:D:D

    • WlfHart

      I’m thinking the wait will be worth it!

    • fxle

      They need to step up the game with updates. What Google is doing now is not optimal. They build a halo device, developed exclusively with a selected manufacturer, and then we have new OS version coming to existing devices for too long. They should include all manufacturers earlier in the process, and let them develop the support (like custom shells or whatever carriers put) for other devices well before new Nexus is out of the gate. If they can have major vendors upgrade in the same month, not too long after Nexus is out, it’d be a huge win and more serious threat to Apple’s current advantage in support for past devices.

      • kungpaodragon

        Imagine all these different manufacturers trying to make their version of ROMs. No way I’m waiting for all of them to be ready to get my hands on a Google experience device… There’s always the Apple model..

        • kungpaodragon

          What I meant is there’s always the Apple model if you want the same experience on all the Android phones.

        • kungpaodragon

          What I meant is there’s always the Apple model if you want the same experience on all the Android phones. I don’t.

          • hemanth

            no one thought it that way… :)
            no need to justify yourself that much

      • Futureboy

        I totally agree about the updates. Earlyin the year, I was considering the Acer A500. It is a nice device, but what sold me on the Transformer was the awesome support and updates from Asus (not to mention, it’s a solidly built device). Build a solid device and keep it updated and you’ve got yourself a winner.

    • erimin

      cant wait to see new htc device :)

    • Sean the Electrofreak

      Honestly, I was just as excited when I saw Android launch on Cortex-A8 SoCs 2 years ago. As cool as 2012 is going to be, you can bet that 2013 is going to be even better. :)

      • thaghost

        We are not even in 2012 yet. Relax.

        • Chris

          True, but just wait for 2014!

  • Alexander drzfr3shboialex

    I haven’t seen any Acer products so that means .1 device every year?

  • hmggloria

    Honestly I really think they HAVE to think about consumers. Nobody wants to spend 500$ on a device to throw it away and buy another one in the next year. No wallet can survive. Not so long ago, Samsung wasn’t a good player in the android market (in my opinion), specially in what concerns updates. On that time I was a big HTC fanboy thinking they were the best, and for android they were a key role player on the evangilizing process of android. First brand with lots of devices for android, good support and so on. This trend completely inverted itself during the last year. I think HTC for instance lost they power “status”, became worse in the support section and suddenly Samsung was taking over with good devices, and with excelent support and updates!!! Of course I’m a big Samsung Galaxy S2 proud owner. The market fundamentals right now I think are the consumers and always will be. They want to consume, but they want to consume Good materials!

    • kungpaodragon

      That’s the true market at work. Consumers drive the competition. Let me qualify that, smart and open minded consumers drive the competition. Some choose to be ignorant…

      • Anne A

        And, with the fewer-but-better-quality formula, the people who chose to be “ignorant” will still have something nice no matter what they choose :)

    • pebenito

      Definitely. Though I always wonder about less popular manufacturers, such as Acer, ability to bring updates to their devices. And not just bugfix updates, but full OS upgrades.

  • keridel

    Too be fair who cares wether acer release any devices? Never seen a good one yet?

    • sunrise

      I know we are talking about Android devices here, but I have to say I’m a huge fan of Acer.

      Having owned several brands of laptops, including both Asus and Acer laptops, I can tell you the customer service from Acer is AMAZING. They go over and beyond what you would expect. I wouldn’t hesitate purchasing a high end Acer Android device.

      Sadly, I can’t say the same about Asus. I’ve found their laptops too often have problems and when you call Asus customer support they don’t resolve the problem as quickly and efficiently as Acer does.

      On that note, I’m excited about the Asus Padfone.

      • keridel

        acer laptops yeah sure all good but the phones are just shocking.

      • efthymiosh

        Really? I’m surprised. What do you have to say about the build quality of Acer laptops? I find their materials cheap, they break too easily, and their hardware components are always bottom of the pile..
        In their defense, I’ve never laid my hands on their expensive models.

        • efthymiosh

          Hmm, I sound kind of hostile. I’m just tired of troubleshooting friends’ Acer laptops -they all bought them because they were cheap- :)

    • wyatt

      i’m with you. i love my A500. it’s fast, stylish, and cheap! i picked up a refurb for $250 out the door!

      it holds its own with the best tablets right now.

  • erendrake

    sorry to nitpick. not sure what “release less devices” means. pretty sure you mean “release fewer devices”.

    • Vance

      It sucks being “that guy” who points out the major grammatical error in a story, but it was like nails on a chalk board for me too, so I don’t fault you for pointing it out. Just for future: use fewer when referencing anything which can measured in individual units, and less when it can’t be… i.e. “I need to run less, or I need to run fewer miles”. “We need less saturation, or we need fewer devices”.. etc. etc. etc… love you guys.

      • mikeytusa

        Agreed. I love this site but phew, that article was rough.

  • oddball

    With the amount of competition out there OEM’s really need to focus on quality. Not just up front but the whole user experience. It’s frustrating for a user to have a phone less than a year old that the manufacturers are not even saying whether they will update them to to newer OS versions. Especially given that one of the major reasons for newer OS versions is security patches

  • droilfade

    This is so true… I’d rather have one bug free device to play with, rather than having to update every 6 months. I am just saying….. but those guys with the half bitten fruit logo can be considered as a case study.

  • stenzor

    Really happy this is happening.. I’d rather choose among a few high-quality devices rather than numerous mediocre devices.. This is pretty much why I’m a Samsung Galaxy S2 owner.. not much choice out there.

    • Anne A

      Yes, and it makes the investment into a quality device all the more rewarding in the end and for much longer.

    • aykutb

      there are many options when you realize you don’t have to rub what you own in people’s faces.

  • damambt

    Hopefully they are doing this with the consumers interest in mind and not their stock gains.

    • Erendrake

      I think with a decision like this. you can do it for both :)

  • akareem89

    Would like to see other manufacturers adopt Samsung’s model, this would really quiet the argument of Android fragmentation. I am keen to see how the manufacturer’s skins look on top of ICS.

  • Jeremiah Akin

    Fewer devices with more updates would be great.

    • TaoRenCe

      I concur

  • AndyE

    This is the reason to buy a Nexus.

    • w0urds

      I agree, but get rid of the exclusivity. It’s ridiculous when you have to wait for your carrier to get it or have to switch.

  • redraider133

    I think this is a smart move for all manufacturers. No need to waste time and money on a ton of devices when you can make 4 or 5 that sell better anyway. This will also help with keeping the phones updated.

  • mike

    Look, it’s one thing for a commenter to make a mistake but if you’re actually getting paid to write, then you need to learn the difference between less and fewer.

  • sunrise

    Strategic plan to prevent the smartphone market from being over saturated, thus keeping prices on unsubsidized phones inflated?

    That’s how I see it.

    • David

      Not because nobody wants to sell less. Try to justify that to shareholders. Saturation is already happening. I mean, look at the used market right now… you can get amazing deals on mint, almost new phones like a Nexus S, for example, which is still great (especially with ICS already on it). On new phones on the 200-300ish range, it already happened. Before, you bought outdated stuff. Today, you can find good gingerbread phones on the 200 range, and [email protected] around 300 USD.

      The way I see it (as in the news), they are going to have the same amount of devices, but spread along fewer devices.

      That’s how I see it at least.

      • David

        *same amount of device types.

  • MJM128

    I wish that these manufactures would just listen to the developer community, the true fans of their devices. They could become a top manufacturer this way.

  • aykutb

    everyone is being so nice,is the end of the world really coming? :D

    • aykutb

      wow really? 3 down votes? either some people don’t have a sense of humor or they’re scared as f. about dying but guess what, we’re all gonna die.

  • Oscar Ortega

    Motorola pay attention!! with your Driods coming out every week!

  • mr. android

    yes , finally things are starting to look up. This makes me happy since the electronics and cell phones i buy wont devaluate so much as they are right now . This is great for the android ecosystem

  • _Diego

    This is a good thing. it was getting ridiculous anyway…
    Buy an android device one day, outdated the next…

    • David

      I find this kid of comment funny.

      People that worry about devaluation or being outdated quicker would rather stop technology progress altogether because they can’t buy a phone every day than let the world evolve so we can all get better devices overall.

      I would rather see technology evolve quickly even if I don’t have the best and latest every day. That’s how the world moves on. It’s better for everyone as a whole. However… I agree that too much is too much, but the reason for that is not because the device will be outdated the next day and I will be outdated, but instead because it hurts its own progress and evolution (see the accessory problem).

  • w0urds

    This is a good approach, within a year alone I have had 4 Android phones (mytouch 3G LE, mytouch 3G Slide, Vibrant, and SGS2) and a Acer a500; my two Samsung phones were the best I’ve owned and have had no problems with my tablet other than a hardware issue. Focusing on quality, let’s me know that I’ll have a phone that is good to go for the next 6 months to year if not longer and know that it will be supported. Take the Galaxy S models that only got one major update, I know a lot of that has to do with the manufacturer, but i’m just saying imagine buying a phone and know that your phone was built to last and support (os updates) would be there throughout your 2 year contract instead of feeling that your phone is obsolete 1-3 months after you buy it…my 2¢.

  • kungpaodragon

    Agree with many comments. But I think fragmentation has nothing to do with the quality of pure Android. Some tend to confuse the qualities of handsets with quality of Android. Unfortunately, most people are not developers nor technical enough to understand the difference. That’s not a knock on those people, just a fact. There is no way Google can foresee all kinds of variations of hardware / software specs these 3rd parties pile on Android OS. Those of us who get it know Android is a great OS. The rest think Galaxy Nexus is as shi**y as some other cheap Android phone. So good for HTC to get their acts together. If all 3rd parties start to get their stuff together, then fragmentation wouldn’t be such a bad word. Instead, it’ll stand for openness, options, innovation, so on and so on. There is nothing wrong with variations of awesome Android phones versus just one.

    • David

      Galaxy Nexus **** ? Lol, you made me laugh. You may not like, but I find your choice of words amusing.

      Did you actually see one live? Ever?

      • David

        Ah, ok. I see you said “the rest”. Sorry about that.

  • Jorge Eslava

    I can’t wait the what the results are!

  • pryvateid

    That would be perfect. No slap in the back of the head to consumers by not giving us updates for these high-end devices we’re shelling out all this money for, or the feeling of regret when we buy a new devices than months later a upgrade to it is released (HTC Sensation to HTC Amaze 4G, Samsung Vibrant to Samsung Galaxy S 4G), etc., & no more HAVING to buy a new device because the current one is buggy or they completely cut tries to support the devices for further updates.

  • Nathan D.

    This is great to hear =D

  • Michael Ian

    But what about the entry phone? I hope next year they do follow up with fewer phones but create a distinction between feature and entry phones. Samsung is attempting it with the Galaxy line but the names only tend to confuse.

  • ArticulateFool

    I would love to see every android maker adopt this,

    Too many bad android devices end up giving android a bad name.

  • zyphbear

    I’m glad some companies have decided to focus on making better devices instead of trying to produce as many as possible and hope one catches on.

  • classic_hero

    I think this definitely the way to go, too many devices cause chaos and confusion among the average consumer. I hope other companies start doing this as well.

  • sap 26

    While I’m glad to see this mentality catching on, it should seem like common sense and not some revolutionary breakthrough. This should bring happiness to a larger group of customers. I wish the best of luck to Acer and hope to see more manufacturers get with the times.

  • donger

    more quality please. i wouldn’t mind the extra development time.

  • alexanderharri3

    Fewer, quality products: About time. Right now we’re swimming in too many android devices, both tablet and phone, for all the better ones to do well. Competition is good, but a situation like the Xoom and Xyboard coming out so quickly – bad. Bionic then Razr…wow. Thunderbolt then Rezound…ok..but there’s also the Rhyme…and DInc2…etc etc. and that’s just Verizon..

  • mdwilson37

    2012 definitely looks exciting, I’m certainly interested to see what the Google/Motorola camp is going to push out, I mean “officially” Motorola is still gonna be its own company, but we all know the influence Google is going to have in the background. I think 2012 we will see some awesome technical marvels for sure… Now that Android has been beautified with ICS, hopefully more manufactures will focus on quality of hardware instead of adding their own ice cream flavors (see what I did there?) to an already amazing ice cream sandwich

  • tpulu

    Good to hear that some oem’s might focus on quality. the market is crowded with so many phones. Hopefully we see just a few great devices to choose from. I just wish every Android phone came vanilla, and the user could customize his or her phone the way they saw fit.

  • Samar

    Hoz the feel on this new Acer device ?

  • vid500

    Great to see that thay will finally focus on less devices with a better result. I am amazed by this years devices but can’t wait to see what thay are capable of, if they have just a few high-end products to produce and support. And probably the updates will come a bit faster to. And really looking forward to 2012 with all the NvidiaTegra devices,… sounds wondefull.
    And also I’m confident that this will make android more recognizabe by the ordinary consumer becouse some people still think that thay will get the same android experiance with a 100€ and a 800€ device. (what in my opinion is stupid to think, but I know some people who do), And than you have to explain it to them.

  • w00x

    I like Android but am sick and tired of the plastic toys the manufacturers release and call high-end “phones”.

  • Oskar Wismierski

    Good to hear! I mean come on.. How many people really want a samsung galaxy Y?

  • Robert Whittaker

    There does need ot be a balance between Samsung’s 1 device a year and HTC’s flood the market with more (h/w) choice than you know what to do with. Really does anybody know the impact on youtube videos of that extra processing power?

    So a handful of devices that cover different price brackets and requirements would be a step in the right direction.

  • Martjn2

    I can really understand HTC with there slowing down point. they release a devices like every month and thats a little bit too much. More focus on some few hardcore devices ;)

  • Mil

    Samsung’s initial approach is disappointing and it’s a shame they only came to the right decision after customer protest. Samsung and other manufacturers should remember that there are only a finite amount of new customers they can acquire. If they do not support their devices then customers will go elsewhere and those manufacturers will need to acquire a new customer for everyone that leaves just to ensure their next device is as popular as the previous. I wish manufacturers saw the bigger picture in that providing decent support for handsets makes a world of difference for customers. They will continue to be loyal if there is decent support and any new customers will be increasing to the popularity of the device not just replacing lost customers. Existing customers will also spread good reviews/opinions of their device and support for their device which will further increase new customers via good word of mouth.

  • bellken

    Beyond, fewer and better, I hope the manufacturers don’t forget about the millions of devices that they have already sold.

  • Skis03

    I agree with this article 100% if some of the hardware companies slow down and concentrate on quality not quantity they would have better products and less problems.

  • jeff.j1990

    That is really awesome

  • aykutb

    Allright i read a lot of commens and realized mostly U.S. residents are unsatisfied with the issue because they obviously think less devices per year is equal what apple has been doing for years. No that is not the case. When you produce 10 devices per year you have to spend more resources for each, per say OS updates, new designs, new interface and such. This is what prevents most OEM companies to further develop their concept designs, they’re in such a hurry to get the next shipment of some f. up lcd screen for a new device that some over consumer country will buy, and those consumers won’t notice the difference about it.
    I have a desire that runs pretty much anything as smooth as butter and i don’t need another one till it slows down or won’t be enough for sense 4.0
    I don’t know what people think but at this pace everything is gonna go down, just learn to be satisfied with what you have people.

  • pekosROB

    +1 to this post

    Releasing a bazillion devices a year is definitely making the fragmentation issue worse. Manufacturers have less time and resources to devote to each device. If there was an easy way to do updates quickly then I think this really wouldn’t be much of an issue at all.

    1-2 top shelf phones is all a company needs a year, especially since we have more than one company making Android devices.

  • aranea

    That’s the way to go and I’m glad more companies are seeing it that way. Hope motorola will jump on the wagon after Google buys it.

  • Nugroho

    So they finally trigger us with high quality tablet product and push the tablet market in the “premium” market. Great positioning. I believe I read in some other news that the FoxConn will join the great pie of smart phone and tablet by an expansion of their production facility and even building their own brand.
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  • lokidokie

    Yay for Transformer Prime

  • Hall Lo

    Very nice! More Android devices with much better quality please!