Why Android will eventually beat Apple

Mikey 16 comments
Why Android will eventually beat Apple

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.



Saturday 6th November 2010 | 06:54 PM
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I talk to my Son who lives 900 km from me by video calling him every so often via my 2 year old Samsung (not too smart) 3G mobile.

I was almost finished with my 2 year contract and that's when I heard about the HTC Desire.

I had a play with one and it looked, felt and operated nicely. I almost bought the Desire but when I noticed that it had no front facing camera I changed my mind. It did not have the option for video calling which is what my old phone had.

I then played with the iPhone 4 - it had a front facing camera and when I asked if it was capable of video calling the sales person said yes. I ended up buying this phone and after I played with it for a day or two I found that yes it can make video calls but only to other iPhone uses via Face Time via the internet.

How stupid and closed is that idea!

Anyway I had a chat to the salesperson about it and said that they should explain this function a little better to customers especially when people here in Australia have been using 3G video calling on their old phones for a couple of years now.

Mikey you are so right - the iPhone is more a fashion statement than a practical phone. It is so closed to the user that it really isn't very funny at all.

If it wasn't for the new two year contract I now have I would simply throw this iPhone in the bin and buy an Android phone with or without a front facing camera.

My old phone was closed and I did not expect the newest iPhone to be the same in many ways.

You can do a lot but only via the rules of Apple and this is why I have stayed clear of Apple devices for so long until I was misled into getting one now.

I guess I can look at the brighter side which is - in two years time the Android phones will be the leaders of the market and what fantastic models and tech they will have for me to immerse myself with.

One last comment -
Mr Jobs I don't like to be told how I should use my phone. You have a great business so please don't blow it by being closed minded and expect your end uses to be the same..........

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Phil H

Phil H

Saturday 6th November 2010 | 09:05 PM
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I love my MacBook, it does everything my old PC used to do much more reliably and in a way that suits my needs much better. So I say this as someone who thinks Apple makes very good quality products.

Absolutely nothing about the iPhone (or the iPod) has ever appealed to me, though, and I'm quite happy dragging and dropping the MP3s I want onto my HTC Tattoo. It's smaller than an iPhone so fits more comfortably into my pocket, and I don't have to try to wrestle with the automatic syncing process which defies any kind of customisation or transfer between multiple computers.

That and the cheapest deals on Android contracts are half the monthly price of the cheapest deals on an iPhone.

The only thing holding Android back at the moment is its hungry power consumption, and momentary glitches where it doesn't run smoothly.

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Saturday 6th November 2010 | 09:33 PM
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The other factor you left out is iPhone will become passé, while Android won't.

Here's the reason why. There are fundamentally four kinds of people who buy phones:
1. Businesses who buys whatever their telco sales rep tells them to (RIM/Blackberry).
2. People who want a phone as a phone and don't really care beyond that (whatever is cheapest).
3. People who want a phone that meets all their requirements and fits their desires (Android).
4. People who buy a phone because it's a cool accessory (iPhone).

Type 1 people are not going to change. Business will stick with RIM for the foreseeable future because they're the only phone out there that is centrally manageable for corporations.

Type 2 people will just buy whatever the TV guide advertises on the back page.

Type 3 people will always buy cutting edge, most powerful, most feature rich and most open - and this is never going to be iPhone for two reasons. 1. iPhone are static. They stay on the market for about a year per release so they're always going to be behind the latest other brands. Plus they're closed and suffer from all the issues Mike talks about above.

Finally we come to type 4 people - iPhone owners. People who, as a rule (with exceptions of course), don't care about technology or features or being told what to do by someone else, because they've already had their decision made for them about which phone to buy by someone else (someone in marketing). These people buy iPhone's because they're cool.

But the problem with cool is, it never lasts. What is cool now will not be cool tomorrow. The iPhone has only one model (at a time). There are no other flag bearers for the iOS system, so unless the iPhone can defy all odds and be the first item in all of history to stay cool forever, it will eventually fall by the wayside.

Android, on the other hand, remains under the radar. Geeks love it but the general public won't care or even know what OS runs their phone. They will just see the new features of the latest whatever and as someone else eventually wrests the mantle of "cool" from Apple, they will flock to it. As Android will be on hundreds of devices, its odds of success will only increase.

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Greg Molyneux

Sunday 7th November 2010 | 04:06 AM

Whether your preference is to iOS of Android should matter not, as fans of solid technology would should embrace the existence of viable competition. Andriod benefits from a strong iOS just as iOS benefits from a rapidly improving and now outstanding Android OS. With alternatives present both sides are forced to aggressively improve their product.

As for me, I just got my first Android phone, the Droid X, two months. So far so good. It's the best phone I've ever had, but I'm still not in love with. Why? I am not exactly sure.

There's no question, Android's market share has skyrocketed enormously and it is going to continue to do so. However, if I could throw in a US centric comment, it will be interesting to see what happens to the numbers when the United States' largest mobile provider, Verizon, carries the iPhone—which by all accounts in slated for next year. In the US, the iPhone is greatly held back by being exclusive to AT&T which is notorious for inferior service.

Either why, as a consumer I'm just glad to see real, worthy competition.

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Sunday 7th November 2010 | 09:28 AM

Iphone is my biggest regret after seeing my sisters galaxy s.

Iphone is a teenagers toy.
Android is for grown ups.

Henk V

Henk V

Sunday 7th November 2010 | 10:43 AM
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me, a phone is for adults, a walking games machine is for children..

If you are so bereft you cant stay away from a pc for a few hours a day, take my advice, buy a good gun, a fishing rod or a surfboard/sailing dinghy. You'll be a lot fitter and finer to have left the hand held social service behind for a few hours.

really, who is that important to be on the squaker 7/11. Even Julia and Tony go home to root.

Cell phones have become ridiculous.

Personally, every time I am getting something done, some fucking idiot is yelling down the phone or making ridiculous bing noises whilst messaging.

Ive even come across it at weddings and funerals. Prick ignorance I call it.

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Marvin the Martian

Marvin the Martian

Sunday 7th November 2010 | 01:43 PM
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I just bought an HTC Desire and I love it. I have used an iPhone before and while the interface is simple and familiar, it is also very rigid. My new Andrios phone is much more flexable both with its interface and its options. The only drawback I see to Andriod - at the moment - is the small number of available apps. While this is no doubt a short term issue, at the moment it is still an issue.

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Sunday 7th November 2010 | 02:54 PM
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...in response to this comment by Marvin the Martian. I've heard a lot of people talk about the low number of apps on the Android market but honestly, with over 100,000, how many more do you need? What apps can't you find that you need? I have apps for Microsoft Exchange, Remote Desktop, SSH, VNC, checking my internet quota, telling me what Star I am looking at, Google Maps, thermometer, compass, weather, sunrise / sunset, Office viewer, pdf viewer, eBook viewer, etc, etc, etc... What more do I need.

The iPhone does indeed have about 200,000 apps - but how many fart noise generators does one person really need?

I'm keen to know what apps you feel are missing and let's see if we can get someone to work on them! :-)

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Sunday 7th November 2010 | 04:42 PM

I read somewhere recently a survey that said 70% of ipad users had mostly games proving once and for all its just a toy.

Marvin the Martian

Marvin the Martian

Monday 8th November 2010 | 05:03 AM
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...in response to this comment by Rodney. I'll tell you... ANZ and most other banks have iPhone apps, but not andriod apps. This means I have to use the browser which is much less convenient. That is just one example.

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Monday 8th November 2010 | 11:44 AM
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NAB and Commonwealth have Android apps and I guess (hope) over time other banks will follow. I must admit I never thought of using an app for banking as I wouldn't trust it (which I know is silly, really).

I am sure there are other examples of specific local entities not yet supporting Android but they will in time, as it's already a sizable market share. I already have iiNet and Vodafone apps for mine.

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Monday 8th November 2010 | 06:16 PM

Thats rightrodney, business suicide to ignore Android and not develop apps, there will be a time very shortly when apps are designed for Android first and then iphone second.

BTW Mikey, what about Windows phone 7 - getting good reviews, they may be late to the party, but if they get it right it could be interesting.

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Sac Duck

Tuesday 9th November 2010 | 04:15 AM

Maybe if I had a Data but I'd have to be able to easily shut off his talking if he got out of line.
I used my cell four times last week, three calls and a "delete all text", see I don't use or answer text as they bore me, no talk no me moto. All the other crud (auntdrod or idphone) are just rude interuptions ~ to a great stone



Tuesday 9th November 2010 | 06:01 AM
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...in response to this comment by peter. Actually I've always been impressed with the wp7 especially the interface but its got pitiful app numbers and no copy/paste. And it's supposed to be a business phone!

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Friday 24th December 2010 | 11:54 AM

Has the market changed already? My 13 year old son wants a phone with a touch screen for Christmas. he is not geeky at all, but asked for an Android phone as that is what the cool kids are asking for, I think they like the green robot man logo, but the fact of the matter is they are no longer asking for an iphone...

When we went to get it I asked the guy about sales of Android v iphone - about 3:1 he said

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Friday 24th December 2010 | 07:49 PM

...in response to this comment by Peter. That ratio is about right.

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