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Is Android OEMs Their Own Worst Enemy?

Android has been barnstorming into customers hands for well over a year now.  Every week it seems the next and greatest phone is arriving on our respective shores and garnering press along the way.  No doubt the Android OEMs are delivering some hardware goodies.  Case in point, this month along will see the announcement and respective release of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Motorola RAZR, HTC Vivid, Samsung Galaxy S Skyrocket. There is never a dull moment when you rep Android.

The thing is that I’ve sat through press releases of high end Android devices and had an indifference to them.  Why? Because I was quite sure I’d receive a press release of a phone that would trump it.  Verizon has announced the HTC Rezound will retail in the U.S. for $299, that’s a full $100 more than the record setting iPhone 4S that by the way is still relatively new being less than 30 days old. To be fair the most popular version of the iPhone 4S which retails at $199 is the 16GB model.  The LTE equipped Samsung Skyrocket will run you $249.99 from AT&T.

Those in the U.S. are spoiled by carrier subsidies and often save up to $350 off unlocked prices.  The problem with massive discounts needed to move the “biggest loser” high end Android phones is that carriers get stuck with a loss.  The OEMs put all their latest and greatest hardware tech into Android phones but rarely do they reap the benefits of the more costly handsets.  For every Galaxy S II that sells like hotcakes you have 10 to 20 duds that fall flat and get deep discounted to move inventory.

As a consumer its no time like the present to reap the benefits and swoop in and grab a high end phone with all the bells and whistles.  Soon though, the market is going to reset itself and we’ll see more companies suffer and come up short like Motorola.

So is Android OEMs their own worst enemy? I think so.  They have engaged in an arms race with other OEMs.  If the iPhone has taught me anything its that when you bring an iconic device, it will sell itself and you cut down big time on R & D.  Apple has set the mark as they have more gold than Fort Knox.  Android OEMs, as much as the prosumer community loves to tinker with their devices, they’d love to not feel like they have to fight out device envy before they walk out the door of their local retail store.