Is the US no longer the priority market?

Posted Apr 26, 2012 at 12:06 pm in Threads > Opinions

Forever, we Americans have always been spoiled by getting the best technology first (with some exceptions, of course). As Americans, we think of ourselves as ahead of everybody else and the primary market in the world. Sure, China is huge but it’s still way behind us. Right?

Like it or hate it, it seems things are changing, and have been for quite a while. And we’re starting to have to eat some humble pie.

Just look at the past year in our smartphone industry. Galaxy S II? The world had that for nearly half a year before us. Galaxy Nexus? Even the Galaxy S III, which is supposedly getting a quad core Exynos everywhere but the US (even some foreign LTE markets get a quad core Exynos). Okay, these are all Samsung. So apparently it doesn’t target the US first. What about others? Look at the HTC One X. It’s available everywhere with a powerful quad core processor as the standard model. Here in the US, however, we get a dual core S4. Now it’s no slouch but fact is, that’s the runner-up choice by HTC while the quad is the preferred option of HTC where it’s possible/convenient to do so. And this goes much deeper that what I’ve mentioned – this is just the tip of the iceberg.

At this point, is the US no longer “the” or even “a” primary market to consider when designing the latest devices? Have we become just a significant market with a bunch of incompatible and cumbersome requirements? Or am I off my rocker and are we still THE market to design for? What do you think?

  • Jkthomas33

    I believe that we are cannot be the primary market due to the restrictions that our cell phone companies place on these phones, I have traveled all over and found that many countries let you use whatever phone you want as long as it has a sim card

    • jaxidian

      That’s a very good point. It’s not like you can go get a non-Verizon phone and bring it to the Verizon network. Same with Sprint. With AT&T you can as long as you don’t want LTE. With T-Mobile, you can as long as you support the TMo-specific frequencies.

    • booyootoo

      That’s exactly what I wanted to say. I live in the Netherlands and I never buy a subsidised phone, because the plans are more expensive then sim-only plans.

      That means that I can always buy a non carrier locked phone.

      I looks like it is a lot easier for the manufacturers to create phones with less new/exotic hardware, since they can turn it over to the carrier earlier for testing. Whilst the carrier is testing, they continue to improve the device the way they actually want it.

      By the time the carrier is done testing the manufacturer is also done testing and improving the same device.

  • Ben

    Blame LTE.

  • SGB101

    You do have a strange system in the US. Over in the UK, it is gsm only so your phone will work anywhere on all networks , and to extend this if we travel to the content, there to is gsm , so device will work there also.

    we may not have LTE (semi 4g) only hspda+ , sadly, but this does create good competition for custom, and ease of use.

  • danferan

    I would argue that we were never “the” market. We were and still are “a” priority market. Japan for years and years had far superior cell phones, and Europe frequently gets phones before we do.

  • SGB101

    I don’t think the us is less of a priority , it is the manufactures need to adapt there models to suit your carriers and, nd this is the biggie, your carriers seen to get exclusivity over their competitors.

    here in the UK (apart from iPhones early days) don’t have this, all phones usually launch on all networks.

    • jaxidian

      Yeah, I really hate all of this exclusivity bullcrap. :-/

  • MrMrMan

    The US market is screwed up plain and simple. Until competition improves over here we will never be the priority.

    • danferan

      I think that more than “competition” we need to ensure that there is proper oversight – the ETFs are a prime example of how there should be more scrutiny in the industry. Also, our carriers need to be more prompt with updates. If Apple can survive without carrier interference, I don’t know why Android should have to live with it.

  • tnnm

    The US market continues to be one of the most sought after markets for the manufacturers. No single country represents a greater share of revenue for any of the major manufacturers. Moreover, despite this recession (which is officially over according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) the US consumer continues to hold up in specific areas – one of them being technology gadgets. Don’t believe me? See here:

    I couldn’t find stats for the broader cellphone market.


    I believe that we are the primary focus but our big 4 carriers make it ridicolously hard to make this focus show