A recent survey put it as clearly as one can: the Android user base wants cheaper, not necessarily better, products to compete agains Apple. You can see the graph at this article. The quick recap though sheds a lot of light on the topic that many developers have been asking for a while now.
Top of the list as mentioned is cheap. These have to be cheap to entice users to buy. Cheaper than the iPhone, cheaper than the iPad, cheaper, cheaper, cheaper.
Next in line was minimized fragmentation. For developers this is a big annoyance; especially developers who recall the “fun” that was had in the infancy of the internet and coding for the various browsers at the time. This is definitely a headache for developers and hits pretty high on the consumer as well.
Next is hardware capabilities. This is interesting because it had a nearly 15% drop in interest from cheap. In other words, as long as it is cheap enough, we don’t care if the phone is as capable as X.
Rounding out the final three were the operating system, new emerging app stores outside of just Android, and the adoption of third party manufacturers. To be honest, I am not 100% convinced most iPhone users care about these either but they were on the list.
In the end it does answer a fundamental question though: make it cheap enough and you will get ahead. The only sad part about that is that it illuminates our culture’s already diminished thoughts on quality. Who cares how a product works, what features it has, etc as long as I can buy it on the cheap.