Tuesday, September 23, 2008

iPhone: Android Factors

You may know by now, Google has released G1, the first Android phone with partners HTC and T-Mobile.  For some quick notes about it, head on over to On Android for my thoughts and concerns.

Now, how does this affect us, iPhone and iPod Touch users?  Well, competition is good.  No doubt about it.  But for some Apple mobile warriors, should be concerned this new upstart will such up all the air in the room and make iPhone, for the first time in its short history, fight for the media lime light?

Not a chance.  Not yet.  The G1 is a good mobile device.  It's a platform device much like the iPhone is in that it's not a smartphone but a device built on top of a mobile platform.  Blackberries and Nokia phones are smartphones, phones with computing features.  Nothing more.

So, how does our competition look like?  Well, it's got a built-in compass.  A physical QWERTY keyboard.  Removable battery.  That's a big plus for me.

But as for the rest of the phone's features, it's very impressive for a first generation device.  And because it's got the Google name to it, it makes everything about Android a bit more shiny in the eyes of the media and maybe some consumers.

I'm sure Android has had Apple's undivided attention for a while now.  G1 is a first generation UI and technology.  It's not as polished as our iPhones.  It's second or third generation changes may not overtake the iPhone in ease of use and functionalities but maybe it's fourth or fifth generation devices might equal or overtake what the iPhone offers.

I know Apple is not going to be standing because of the competition and that's what's so great for us iPhone fans.

Now, in the short-term, Google has a lot of uphill battles to fight, particular with wireless providers it wants to partner with.  One, openness.  Android is not open as Google would like us to think.  T-Mobile has successfully cajole Google into locking out certain apps like VOIP.  Wireless providers like the control they have.  They've said as much.  Second, they're dealing with wireless providers, a cartel really, who has their own definition what "open" is (and likes to protect their revenue streams).

Third, Android will have to support multiple hardware manufacturers, technologies, and developers.  Microsoft has done this for years so it's not impossible but fragmentation is possible.  Google has a tight rein over Android but because of that, can you truly call Android open?

Apple is not shy about it's "walled garden".  And customers know it.  You and I do as well.  And where Apple has an edge?  Details.  And who commands it?

Steve Jobs.

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