The Good Enough Principle

I switched over from a Blackberry to the iPhone 4 a little over a year ago.  The difference between the Blackberry flip phone I was using and the iPhone was nothing short of a night and day experience. Everything about the iPhone was better and I never looked back.  Over the past year, I’ve even thought to myself that I can’t imagine anyone else ever doing better than Apple at making a phone.  Of course, that was naive thinking.

With Blackberry going the way of the Dodo (or is that the way of Palm?), it reminds you that anyone can be knocked off a pedestal. I tend to believe that since Apple has brought the mobile phone industry to a level where it feels like it can’t really progress much further it is time for The Good Enough principle to set in.

The Good Enough Principle is the point in time where the basic features of a device become “good enough” for mass market penetration. You saw it happen with cameras on phones 6 or 7 years ago. Once they crossed the 1 megapixel range (give or take) photos from your phone became “good enough” to use them for daily shots. I heard people around me saying, “it isn’t great quality, but it’s good enough”.

I’m sticking my neck out here and saying that I believe the next couple of years are going to find that Apple is going to have a tough go of it fighting off The Good Enough Principle. Google’s phones are already showing signs of The Good Enough Principle cropping up.  My neighbor recently switched from the iPhone to an Android phone.  He said, “it isn’t as good as the iPhone, but it’s good enough”.

And that was the magic moment for me.  This was in a situation where there were several people standing around and most of them had an iPhone. But every single person wanted to have a look.  This comment of “good enough” is what caught their attention.  You could see the gears turning in their head. Thoughts spinning behind their eyes like, “Hmmmm, you mean I could get a phone that does what an iPhone can do in a way that is good enough and I only pay 1/2 the price?”

The Good Enough Principle has kicked-in to the smartphone industry and it is now a race to the bottom.  The iPhone will keep the high end market, but the majority of the market share is going to go to the good enough crowd.