Android Advisory Board Follow-Up

AndroidI wanted to post a brief follow-up to the Advisory Board Assignment from a couple days back about Android. First, a GIANT THANK YOU to everyone for all of your insightful and well thought our replies. You really provided some amazing feedback – you guys never cease to amaze me with the great stuff you post. So again, Thank You! And feel free to keep posting if you have more ideas.

To get my current thoughts and some feedback, read on after the jump!

Android: The Operating System
Android is a compelling platform, and it is pretty clear that it definitely has its supporters. It does a lot of things really well, in some cases better than the competition. It also has a lot of potential. Like all devices it has its foibles (512 MB? In this day and age?) but every device has its problems. I’m still not convinced that this device will appeal to the larger consumer base the way iPhone does, but it certainly seems a good fit for more technologically oriented users.
Bottom Line: It’s a very good OS, especially for technologically oriented folks, and might be able to capture the interest of the general public.

Android: A Development Environment
As a platform to develop for, it offers a ton of great opportunities. There are some really neat things we could do with this device. On the other hand, the pitfalls of an overly open system that we’ve experienced first hand with mobile devices in the past remain. I am not sure that these dangers are enough to stop us, but I think people underestimate the amount of frustration they’ll feel if, thanks to massive variation between devices, the software doesn’t work the same on every Android and/or won’t work at all on their device. This will likely¬†happen to some extent.
Bottom Line: It has some great tools for developers, but the openness of the system could come back to haunt us.

Android: Market Penetration
I think it’s likely that Android will achieve pretty strong market penetration as time goes on. The reality, however, is that in a year since its release and all the associated hype, this hasn’t happened. No matter the “whys” of it, the fact is that it hasn’t achieved the heavy adoption people expected. This might simply be a matter of “needs more time/better devices” but based on history, it also might be a matter of “Tech people love it but the general public isn’t sold.”
Bottom Line: One way or another, I think we’ll end up seeing a respectable number of Android devices – enough penetration that it could support a decent base for an application.

Android: As a (Third Party) App Phone
I have no doubts about the Android as an “App Phone” since Google is sure to fully outfit it with incredibly awesome software. What I remain unsure of is whether people really will adopt it as an App Phone for third party applications in the way they have the iPhone today or the Palm/WinMo in the past. This is immensely important to us. As much as we appreciate and need our existing customer base, new customers make up the majority of our annual income. That’s the reality of the business. When we adopt a platform we need it to bring in new customers.
Bottom Line: The jury is still out. We know our existing customers are ready and willing to get our products for their new Android phones. We just aren’t sure how many Android folks who don’t already use our apps will go out and buy them. This is true on any platform, but the weak showing of the Android App Store to date makes use leery.

The Very Bottom Line
What does all this mean? It means that I’m feeling stronger about the Android as a good software market. Many of my concerns remain, but based on new information and your feedback, I’m less unsure than I was. ¬†If nothing else, I really hate to see all of our long time Windows Mobile users forced to go out and use an inferior product. :)

“Blah blah blah – Will there be a version of eWallet for Android, and when will it be out?”
Sorry. These are two questions I’m not going to touch. We learned *cough**mac**cough* the dangers of prematurely announcing our plans. And even if we started an Android version tomorrow, it’d be a good 6 months before you’d see it. As most of you know, we’re not hiring teams of underpaid overseas contractors to churn out our stuff – it’s all handcrafted in-house by a handful of the best developers in the biz. The result is top notch quality, but it does take time.

So there you go – you’ve definitely swayed me and we’ll be sure to keep you appraised of any new developments! Thanks again for all of your input!

30 thoughts on “Android Advisory Board Follow-Up

  1. Brandon

    Long time user of your products, it saddens me to hear it will be so long until even a potential Android release, unfortunetaly that means for at least that length of time I will be switching to a competator, hopefully I will see you guys again. In the mean time, a feature I would love to see, and it may even exist in current version of List Pro, (but I haven’t had the means or opportunity to use it) would be an option to share lists between two devices, or allow them both access to the same webfile. For example, I could make or edit a to-do list or shopping list, and while me wife is out of the house she could see those edits, pick up items on the shopping list, cross them off, and I at home, or elsewhere on my device would see those items no longer needed.

  2. Gene Wedge

    eWallet is my MAIN APP on my PDA phone (currently WM 6), besides of course the default stuff. Have been looking at Android phones. Will buy one when eWallet becomes available.

  3. Andrew

    I read the blog all the time; long time user of ewallet and listpro – since my BW PPC, my Axim, I had my WinMo Moto Q, then moved to the iPhone. All had Ewallet, some had listPro.

    I am now playing with a MotoCliq and I have to say that Android has great promise. Version 1.5 is like Winmo 5 or Iphone OS v1 but respectable. As the cliq is a loaner, I will probably purchase a Droid or something similar – i like the larger screen.

    More phones with form factors like the Droid or iPhone, coupled with Weak showings by microsoft will probably put Android second to iPhone in the non-Blackberry space, and I think Blackberry will lose market share as more people move towards the multimedia and social networking capable units – who wants to do movies and games on a little BB screen.

    Yes lots of form factors create developer issues, but those choices make consumers happy. I think Android may surprise you.

  4. Brian C.

    I’ve switched to the Droid.. most missed app is eWallet. Can anyone suggest a temporary app to use? Of course I’m fully on-board with switching to eWallet at any time even a v. 0.00001 Alpha version exists..

  5. Matthew Goode

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just got my new Moto Droid. My biggest question . . . you done yet?? :-)

    Fooling around aside, we all want to keep using your stuff. Heck I’ve been using your software for about ten years now. So all this complaining is a good problem to have.

    Oh, and are you done yet??

  6. CliffB

    I have my DROID phone and locked into a 2 year service contract with it. I’m frustrated that it does not SYNC with my OUTLOOK contacts, and there is no simple way to Sync GMAIL (which the Droid automatically Syncs with) with my OUTLOOK either. I’m also stuck carrying my Palm TREO 750 with my like a damn Palm Pilot again (not using as a phone at all) in order to have my Contacts and eWALLET program DATA with me…. I need an APP PROGRAMMER to RESCUE ME!!!

  7. Alan

    Sorry I missed the Android Advisory Board, but I’ll give you my input now anyway. I was a user of your products on Palm from the very beginning. I didn’t make the switch to Windows Mobile until I was sure that you had a version of eWallet for it, and I have kept up with every upgrade through both Windows Mobile Pro and Standard versions (in all of their various Microsoft names…). I was given a Motorola Droid by Verizon Marketing, and I love it, but the best replacements I can find for eWallet pale in comparison, and there is no good replacement that I can find to List pro. There are list managers, but they all suck. There are password keepers, the good ones don’t sync with the desktop, and the ones that sync won’t import my eWallet data cleanly.

    Verizon sold over 100,000 Droids over the last weekend, and every phone forum out there has people asking what they are using to replace eWallet. You are missing the boat by not having a solution. I know if/when you do release it I will be buying again, but I hope you haven’t missed a big market by not being ready earlier.

    Alan

  8. Marc

    @Alan:
    We always lose customers to devices we don’t support and it sucks. It was true back when people would choose to use Symbian. It was true for BlackBerry. It’s true for Mac. It was true for Palm before we had a Palm version. And even if we’d been confident about Android a year ago, odds are we would have held off due to the number of projects we’re working on. So yeah, we know and we don’t like it but it’s the nature of the beast. Mainly I feel bad that people have to transfer data. Sorry!

    “Verizon sold over 100,000 Droids over the last weekend”

    You know, that number is getting a LOT of press but consider this. The Palm Pre sold just as well and the iPhone sold 500K units. This doesn’t mean Android is a bad market but 100K doesn’t impress me. Now some people say “You can’t compare – Android has been around – comparing it to a debut release isn’t right.” In which case I pull the numbers for the iPhone 3G and 3GS releases. Each of these sold 1 Million units on their opening weekends.

    Like I keep saying – I know some people will switch to Android and the OS will probably do relatively well, but the numbers – the actual sales figures and customer behavior patterns – don’t match the “Android will rule the world” idea that tech bloggers are pushing. As a guy who has to make pretty big business decisions, this is the stuff that I need to look at and has traditionally predicted success over the long term.

  9. D.J.

    I-Phone is a one device OS. The Android is available by several manufactures. The popularity of the I-Phone is due largely to the fact that the bloggers have pushed it so much. People will buy what their told is good. Now they are being told that the droid is good and that’s what they’ll buy. With so many manufactures building them and every carrier carrying them, the growth of the market is inevitable.

    The I-Phone took off like a scalded cat at first because it generated so much hype in the beginning. It’s hard to generate that kind of hype again only a few years later, but be assured, the android based devices will grow to meet the hype.

    It’s like a snowball, the more it grows, the more it will grow, and it has already grown quite a bit. I’m convinced that will continue. I just wish I could get E-Wallet for the 4 devices that I have.

  10. Alan

    Totally understand your position Marc. Quite frankly, when Windows Mobile v7 comes out, I will likely switch back at least for a while, and you will again have me as a customer.

    I am too much of a gadget geek not to try every new thing that comes along, but I often wind up returning to my tried and true Windows Mobile, partly because of my investment in apps, but also for the maturity of the available apps. The Droid is fun, but none of the apps I have seen so far have the depth and breadth of the better Windows Mobile applications.

    Alan

  11. rik kloman

    hi …. just wanted to throw in my 1.5 cents ….
    just got my verizon / motorola DROID – WOW!!!
    please DO consider making Ewallet & Todo list avail for the Android mkt. I was SOOO happy when Ewallet became avail for “Storm” —would love to be able to use both these programs on my DROID.
    Love your quality programs…. thank you! :)
    rik kloman
    rikcpa@msn.com
    310-576-1500

  12. Ian

    DJ – I don’t think that it is all hype re the iPhone. I wasn’t impressed by the version 1 of the iPhone and kept my WM6 device and eWallet & Listpro. When ver 2 of the iPhone came out, the specs and usability convinced me. OS 3.0+ is even better on the iPhone. I’m very happy with the iPhone; I have had to change how I do some things and have benefited from things the iPhone does extremely well.
    I use eWallet every day as my brain becomes more leaky and I have more and more stuff to remember.
    I really miss Listpro though! Having that on the iPhone and a graphic way of looking at busy days on a year calendar would complete my journey from WM6.
    You will have to judge whether the benefits of the Android platform outweigh having no eWallet and no Listpro for a considerable time. I suspect that the Android phone will be a success and mainly eat into the WM share of the market (and perhaps the Palm share too)

    Ian

  13. Mark

    Android is going mainstream, it isn’t going to be limited to a small volume (Global cell phone market wise) of smart devices.

    It is going to be produced, marketed and manufactured by multiple manufacturers and carriers, not the model that iPhone has until this point been sold on.

    Lower tier devices will have android, it’s already beginning and will continue into 2010/11. That’s the beauty of the platform it’s so adapatable even budget/ low cost phones could ship with Android.

    Please consider this in your development plans,

    Mark

  14. Sean

    I’ve been waiting for months for a decent Android device to be released. I picked up my Moto DROID on the first day and I’m loving it. I’ll be selling my AT&T Fuze on eBay. Windows Mobile is just too unstable & slow. I’ve had multiple WM devices over the years, and I’ve been frustrated with every one of them. I just couldn’t convince myself to sell out to an entirely closed system like the iPhone.
    I have been enjoying the use of your eWallet and NewsBreak products, and I was hoping to come to your site today to find Android versions available for download or purchase. Given the timeframe you mention here, I will have to look for alternatives. I can’t be without all of my passwords for 6 months or more.

  15. John

    Wow – I fear you guys are missing the boat…

    I am another long time Windows Mobile to Android convert. I started Windows based pda’s / smartphones back with the casio e105. Android is the real deal, as noted by many IT trend and consulting groups. More importantly, the more to Android is noted by the enthusiastic chorus of you loyal customers, to which you are seemingly turning a deaf ear. Comparing Moto Droid early adoption to Sprints roll out of the Palm Pre is a joke. I fear by the time you guys decide to embrace Android, your customers will have moved on. 5his is a bit dishearterning as you guys are otherwise a great company with superios apps and great customer service. I hope you embrace the concept that there are (going to be) 4 dominate mobile OS’s: WinMo (7),

    Btw – I am post this from my droid.

  16. John

    Sorry, hit submit by mistake – …
    … 4 dominate mobile OS’s: WinMo (7), RIM, Android, and Apple. Successful commercial developers will need to program for all.

    Respectfully

    John

  17. Dennis

    I just replaced my palm treo with windows OS with a motorola Droid. I love the droid, but am very sorry that i couldn’t find an Ewallet app. Please build one soon.

  18. Brad

    Marc,
    Just a thought because I know that software development can be expensive but if you sold 100,000 copies of eWallet at $15.00 dollars each would that not be $1.5 millon in sales.. What does development cost?

    Just a thought from a long time user who just upgraded from WinMo to Android.

  19. Rhonda Seamonds

    I did not know that you don’t outsource your development to underpaid overseas contractors. Now that I do, I will definitely be back when you release an Android version of eWallet and ListPro!

  20. Marc Post author

    @Brad:
    For that to happen, every single person who purchased a Droid would have to purchase eWallet. I love our app – it’s incredible – but that won’t happen. Also, there is little to no chance that we can sell a stand alone Android version in todays market for $15. Finally, it leaves out a LOT of the associated costs – development, sure – what about marketing/support/cut to the reseller, etc.

    So yes (and I’m not being a smart aleck here) – if we sold every single person who bought and Android a copy of eWallet for $15 with no secondary costs, the result would be $1.5 million. That just isn’t how it works, however.

  21. Franz Pomianowitz

    I just upgraded to a Droid from a Palm based Treo and was sorely dissapointed to not find an Android version of eWallet. I have been using eWallet on Palm now for over 6 or so years and would really miss this great app on my Droid. The news that you will be developing a version in the next year give me hope to wait it out, as none of the other ‘contenders’ in the secure data market are anywhere near your quality.

  22. skeet

    my concern for you is that much of your potential clientelle may be lost by the time you launch as we need to find something else in the meantime. I am looking at monthly paid web interface like “smartsheet” instead of ListPro that I have loved for years on WinMo.

  23. Charley

    Bought my droid so i could finally replace my winmo pda and my verizon phone with a single device (was kind of despairing that verizon would ever release something i would like). I have found android and google apps to sync up almost everything i relied on windows sync to accomplish. I am a long time user of ewallet on palm, then windows and on my pc. I have so many passwords that i need something, so I had to get an app even if it temporary. I bought the android version of splashid and used the splashid desktop (trial) to import ewallet data over. My god what am i going to do with out ewallet. The password software is so restrictive and limited that i will never bother with paying for the full desktop version. Please save me……

  24. Jeff Marraccini

    I also switched to a Motorola Droid so I can support my company’s Android users better. Not having eWallet is a sore loss and I do hope the Android market justifies faith in it soon. For now I am carrying two devices which is undesirable in the long term, but it is better than nothing for now :-)

    I would prefer not to switch to a competing program after using eWallet for so long.

  25. John

    I am in the same boat. I recently moved from the Moto Q9Napoleon (WinMo Standard) to the Droid. I am really missing eWallet. I recently installed SplashID … only to uninstall. I am holding out hope that eWallet/Ilium makes the jump to Android soon … else I will be forced to go with a competitor.

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