Why Android will eventually beat AppleMikey 16 comments
We've seen many technology wars over the years, and some are still going strong. Internet Explorer vs every other browser, Windows vs Mac, and more recently in the mobile platform game, IOS (Apple) vs Android (Google).
Apple certainly deserve credit for putting a spotlight on the smartphone concept, even if others had come years before it, and essentially made the idea of a smartphone seem both cool and real. This has made other technology big wigs sit up and take notice, and now today we have several contenders pining for our hard earned dollars but the truth is that only two are probably worth our attention - iPhone and Android (sorry Nokia fans!).
While Apple does have the bigger app store (200k+) compared to the Android Market (100k+), Apple loyalists are starting to ask questions that Steve Job's doesn't want to answer. Actually scratch that - I meant they are starting to ask questions that Steve Jobs doesn't want them asking in the first place. Because he is their supreme leader and they must never bring his judgement into question.
But for those of us who live outside the Steve Jobs reality distortion field, it's blatantly obvious he does have a lot to fear. For a man who says he's not worried about Android, he sure does like to talk about it a lot. He also likes to bring the statistics of respected analysts into question whenever they notice Android eating at the iPhone market share, unless of course they say something favourable about the iPhone. And he also likes to quote the latest iPhone activation figures while simultaneously presenting dated Android activation figures. It's not enough for Jobs to be number one right now, he also wants to use smoke and mirrors to get everyone else agreeing with him.
To me, these actions sound like those of a desperate man. A man who likes to play down his competitors success as if it were some sort of miraculous fluke.
But, in this authors humble opinion (I'll point out here I am no expert analyst, but rather just a guy who watches the mobile game closely), I think Apple's days of mobile phone platform dominance are numbered.
Here's a few reasons why.
People like choice.
I get why the iPhone sells in droves. IOS has pretty little shiny icons and a swanky visual style. But what people are sacrificing here is choice. If you want IOS, you have exactly one choice of handset. Just one. If you get bored of that, or one day realise that single option doesn't actually fit your needs after all, too bad.
Compare to Android which runs on too many different handsets to name here, and gives you unlimited choice. Want a bigger screen? Bigger handset, Smaller handset? Physical keyboard? Physical keypad? Flip top? Better antennae? Better quality camera? A more rugged handset? A screen that doesn't smash when you drop the handset? A particular brand you've come to rely on? Do I need to go on? Freedom of choice is going to serve you better every - single - time, as opposed to Apples' "one phone to suite them all" ethos.
People like simplicity.
Sorry to say this to you Mr Jobs, but every time you say "It just works" in context with the iPhone I get a laugh. There are some things on the iPhone that are so overly complex it defies belief. Anyone who has ever lost an afternoon trying to transfer their iTunes collection from one computer to a new one and then sync it with an Ipod, all the while with your mandatory iTunes bloatware getting in the way, I apologise for making you relive that memory you tried so hard to suppress.
On any Android phone, here's how it works. Connect it to a USB cable and to any PC, drag and drop just like a flash drive. Now get on with your life because you have more important things to do.
You see, Mr Jobs, while your method does indeed work, it's f*cking meaningless if it costs you half a day or more.
People don't like being lied too, even Apple loyalists.
Steve Jobs like to make sh*t up. You might remember in recent weeks Steve Jobs took advantage of some beta testing charts posted by Tweetdeck developers, on which they displayed a large range of Android devices that their Twitter client works on. Here it is in case you missed it. Jobs like to play the 'fragmentation' card, which basically means he reckons developing for Android is insanely difficult given there are so many versions that need to be supported.
If you looked at those charts just now you can see there are more than a hundred different versions of Android and more than double that of handsets, all of which Tweetdeck just worked (there's that phrase again, but this time it has meaning). The Tweetdeck devs stated:
"From our perspective it's pretty cool to have our app work on such a wide variety of devices and Android OS variations."
Steve Jobs saw this as an opportunity to try and inject more propaganda outside the Apple ecosystem, when he said that the Tweetdeck developers have had to contend with the "daunting challenge" of making their app work across so so many varying versions of Android. Luckily the Tweetdeck developers also recognise BS when they see it. They set the record straight with :
"Did we at any point say it was a nightmare developing on Android? Errr nope, no we didn't. It wasn't."
...and to end the fragmentation argument once and for all:
"We only have 2 guys developing on Android TweetDeck so that shows how small an issue fragmentation is"
Essentially, the iPhones future is being directed by a man who likes to manipulate facts, or in this case completely make up facts, just so he can buy more turtle necks.
People like features
I'm not market research expert, but I think there's a good reason why so many handset makers include cameras, expandable storage, removable batteries and more. People like that stuff. But the iPad, which runs IOS (the exact same OS as the iPhone) doesn't have any of it. Why? For some unknown reason in the Apple ecosystem these things are considered too luxurious, even though they've existed in even very basic mobile devices for years.
The biggest complaint I've heard from iPad users (apart from the enormous 'un-portable' size) is the lack of a camera. I can only guess that, and there might be some truth to this, that Steve Jobs thinks iPhone users will make up the large majority of iPad users, and they already have a camera on their iPhone.
In any event, I think Steve Jobs is still trying to sell you what he wants in a mobile device, not what you want. It makes sense though, doesn't it? After al he applies that exact mantra to the app store, which will not approve any app that doesn't fit his personal moral code.
I'm a firm believer that people are slowly starting to get switched on to their real mobile needs. My only guess to why this is happening is because when you're locked into a contract for 18 - 24 months you have plenty of time to think about all those cool 'features' you don't have or that handset that just doesn't do what you need it to do.