Fred Wilson and Fortune are right about Android vs iOS (and everyone else), but I hate it

Fred Wilson is recommending developers invest first in Android and Fortune has a similar article about why 2011 is going to be the year that Android explodes. Why? Market share. Android is about to really take off, his thesis goes.

They are both right. But I hate it. First, let’s talk about why they are right.

I’ve been playing with a Nexus S lately and it finally is “good enough” for me to recommend to family members and friends as a smart phone.

I’ve also had some quality time on the Samsung Galaxy Tab, iPad competitor. It, too, is competent and no longer has the kinds of problems that let me confidently warn my friends and family away from Android platform.

These devices are fast. They have most of the apps you’ll need (maybe not the sexiest ones, but most of the ones that you’ll need). A good web browser. Really good maps, contacts, and phone-handling apps. Etc etc.

Compare Android to every other platform and it stands up as the best choice. Yeah, I know, MG Siegler over at Techcrunch got close to recommending Windows Phone 7 to everyone (he’s an iPhone lover like myself) but notice how many major things he said sucked about that system. The Web browser sucks. The lack of apps sucks. The lack of integration into Google’s many excellent systems like Google Voice, Google Contacts, Google Mail, Google Calendar, or Google Maps sucks (I still don’t like Bing’s maps as much, and that’s the most competitive web service Microsoft has going in my view).

And Windows Phone 7 is superior to Nokia’s OS and RIM’s OS, which have even more significant problems to solve (bad user experiences, difficult developer systems, inadequate app stores, very few modern apps, etc).

So, if I take off my iPhone-loving-hat and look dispassionately at the field I see that 2011 is going to be a great year for Android, a moderately good year for Windows Phone 7, a struggling year for Nokia and RIM (unless they noticeably change the game), with a wildcard year for Palm/HP (we’ll know more about that in about a week, because they are announcing some stuff at CES).

So, what about iPhone? Well, there is one thing neither Fortune nor Fred Wilson are including in their analyses: the Verizon phone. It came up at dinner conversation last night with family members (who aren’t geeky and don’t read Techcrunch). There is a LOT of pent up demand for an iPhone on Verizon. If all the rumors about an iPhone on Verizon are true, that’ll give iPhone a big shot and continue keeping it in the top two of the superphone category (unfortunately Nokia has started calling a wide range of its phones “smart phones” which makes the term “smartphone” totally useless). Most people, when they think of a modern high-end phone are thinking of iPhone, Android (and only when put on a big screen phone like the Nexus S), Windows Phone 7, RIM, Nokia’s N8, etc. This is the only category of phones I care about. I really don’t care that in some poor country Nokia sold hundreds of millions of single-chip, small-screen phones that barely can use text features, not to mention have decent access to the web.

But I don’t see how Verizon will sell enough iPhones to keep it in the numbers race with Android.

Now to why I hate this.

In my usage of the Android-based Samsung Nexus S, I’ve found it’s still behind Apple’s iPhone in almost every way. Even AT&T is far superior to T-Mobile (T-Mobile doesn’t even work in my house and I live 16 miles from Silicon Valley. Arrrrgggh).

The iPhone is easier to use. Smoother, especially when scrolling tweets. More consistent UI. Better designed hardware (the Samsung is, while the best Android phone on market, according to Engadget, not even close to as well designed as the iPhone).

Plus, overall, the apps on both iPhone and iPad are still noticeably ahead of those on Android platform. Today.

Yes, I know both platforms have their fans. I’ve argued both sides of the argument with friends and family. The Android wins if you want Google integration. The iPhone wins if you want best overall experience.

But with the Nexus S Android has caught up to be “close enough” to iPhone that I can no longer confidently state that the best system is Apple’s.

Add price into that equation and I will be recommending Android to a wide range of people in 2011.

I hate that. Because it’s not the best designed device.

So, what can Apple do?

1. Push onto more carriers.
2. Lower price.
3. Come out with some major innovations, particularly for developers (if you haven’t watched my interviews with the smart people behind the funding of Siri, that was bought by Apple, you really should — that interview gives insights into what Apple could do this year to stay in the game. Part I. Part II).
4. Integrate further with other systems in the home. One of the demos of the iPad that gets everyone going is when I show off how to use my iPad as a remote control for my Apple TV.
5. Make a deal with Facebook. Normal people are ADDICTED to Facebook. Ever sit in a lobby at a restaurant and watch what people do on phones? I do. Facebook is #1 app by far. What if next iPhone had best-of-breed integration with Facebook?

Anyway, unless something major happens this year (it probably will, the world keeps speeding up) it looks like Android is gonna take off.

I hate that.

I sure hope Steve Jobs has one of those moments where he shocks the world again and keeps this game interesting. I sure would hate it if Google took over the world of mobile the way Bill Gates took over the world of desktops. And, yes, it sure does feel like early 1995 in the mobile world. So, Steve, what you got up your sleeve?

UPDATE: I did a followup to this post about why 2011 isn’t 1995 for Apple.

Comments

  1. I agree that iOS still offer the best experience, but most likely Android will outnumber it in 2011. But I don’t see how Android over iOS is THAT terrible outside of bragging rights.

    Think of Android as the Windows of smartphones – Apple seems to be doing nicely with just a small piece of the computer marketshare. Go to any conference, and it’s full of Apple laptops – even with those w/ Android phone have Apple products. Apple still has serious mindshare in a world where it has not much marketshare.

    The smartphone arena is big enough for Android and iOS. Not the end of the world (and not saying Robert that YOU think or saying it is). I agree with you though Apple needs to kick some things into gear and not simply release the next versions of iPad and iPhone for the coming year. You top 5 list sounds like good suggestions.

    There’s also the argument that even with greater marketshare, will app developers still develop on iOS because of less of a fragmentation issue and the fact that iOS users tend to actually spend money on apps?

    1. It’s little things, like how every app’s top bar navigates to the top of the screen (Android ones all behave differently, and, yes, I know there are four buttons at the bottom of the screen that do much of the same). Battery life still isn’t as good, but that’s probably because my phone is on T-Mobile, which has no coverage at my house, which means it constantly is searching for a cell tower. Apps overall are better on iPhone, too, especially the Twitter app. But you are right, which is why I can’t confidently say iPhone is better.

      1. A bit off the topic. I didn’t even realize the function of the app’s top bar. It would be nice to be able to “look over the shoulder” of an iOS power user to see what other cool functionality is hidden in the iOS interface. There probably is an YouTube video that would let us duffers do just that!

      2. Would you please cease & desist being a pontificator. What do you know about User Experience Design? All you know is your opinion. It isn’t qualified, nor or you, to render some unilateral judgment about what is superior in the hardware and software combined experience design of touchscreen devices. I understand you have a name and reputation. But don’t you and other “Definitive Answerers” ever get tired of your own hot air?

        Show you your testing methodologies, put it to video, and post it on youtube, and let people critique you thoroughly, and your holes in methodology– and call you out every single time you simply make untested statements like “especially the twitter app”. Let’s see it. Prove your claim vs being the Popeel Pocket Fisherman. Show them side by side, show function by function, show a use case scenario and have someone replicate it on multiple OSs. We’ll be the judge, not your singular statement.

        There is no doubt that Apple completely transformed the touchscreen industry by magnitudes, leaving Windows Mobile in the dust despite WM’s 5 year head start and a huge developer community and installed base. The absurd 6 point type and stylus driven UI was a stone-age device compared to Apple’s complete rethink of what a touchscreen should be — starting from the very word “touch” — as in finger, thus driving a finger tap and slide user interface that changed the entire paradigm.

        Anyone who contests that is a fool.

        But to suggest Apple stayed ahead of the pack the entire time Android reared its head and HTC and Samsung and Motorola made devices operating on Android is just a bit disingenuous. Go back and read how many critical features we all consider “essential” today were missing from iOS 1 and 2. Yet Android had them out the gate, and on and on.

        I’m not arguing android is better. I am arguing the stupidity and arrogance of statements like yours that seek to make the case that only the Apple experience has been the platinum experience, and everything pales in comparison.

        I have owned and loved and greatly preferred Apple desktop products since 1986 and my Mac SE… and I still buy Apple computer products 10:1 over windows. But I have long ago given up the juvenile argumentations that Apple is 100x better than Windows. I have become more and more platform agnostic because i live and work in a world where i have to hop from computer to computer and though i adore the mac OS, i really could give a **** when I am faced with work to do and i need a resource whether someone hands me a windows XP or 7 computer or my MacPro or macbook pro.

        Same goes for mobile computing and touchscreen devices. Aren’t you old enough to grow up? For god’s sake, it’s a slab of glass and metal and more and more they are converging into similar experiences. Big deal. Are you going to be arguing in 10 years at 3 am at some iHOP or Dennys like some pathetic old S.V. denizen wanting to rehash for the 10,875th time whether Xerox PARC invented the Mac OS, or whether Windows stole it from Apple?

        I am so tired of this same old argument. But it’s your blog. Now lets see if you ban me and delete my comment.

          1. Hey I don’t wonder…. I don’t give a toss what people think about me. My opinion is my opinion, and his comment – or should I say novel – was total drivel.

            “Would you please cease & desist being a pontificator. What do you know about User Experience Design?”

            Cease and desist being a pontificator… what does that even mean… to ‘normal’ people.

            And what does Robert know about UX Design?…. probably exactly the same as Richard SF does… bugger all… Robert is basing his opinions purely on his experience of using his devices daily. He doesn’t need to be a user experience designer to understand what works, what doesn’t, what is more polished, what doesn’t make sense, blah blah blah.

          2. Thank you for not adding anything to the discussion, other than cuddling up to a brand name of S.V. — by that I mean the blog author. Explain why it was drivel, Brit? It actually had a thesis, and made a case. You, on the other hand, can’t form meaningful sentences. “Cease & desist” is a joke. Do you not know what a DCMA is? Just because you can’t process a complex argument doesn’t invalidate it. Now go back and enjoy some pie and chocolate milk. Leave the user-experiencinininin to the pros.

      3. Yes, it’s the small things. Like having a menu button and a back button in every application at the same place – oh this is on Android…

      4. What about notifications? Absolutely broken on iOS.

        “Battery life still isn’t as good, but that’s probably because my phone is on T-Mobile, which has no coverage at my house”

        OK, then try another carrier. You also invalidated your objection by saying the second part of the setnence. If you don’t have experience with other phones battery life, then you can’t complain until you provide some real data to back up those assertions. FWIW, I think that the iPhone does have better battery life, and I’m a happy EVO user. But your reason falls apart.

  2. Would be best if there is tough competition between two, three or more players, inspiring some creative development.

  3. After almost 2 years with an iPhone I just made re switch to Android via a Droid X. The default settings on android don’t compare to the iPhone. But as a geek you can take advantage of the widgets, and custom launcher (launcherpro) makes it feel like this phone can be whatever I want it to be, instead of just what apple wants.

    Apple drives the innovation but android will mop up. The cost of android will continue to drop. Just wait till you can get a non dataplan android phone, wifi only without a contract. 2012 will also be the year of android as devices come to market that fill in the gaps, not phones, not pads, watches?

  4. Why does this bother you: “I sure would hate it if Google took over the world of mobile the way Bill Gates took over the world of desktops”

    But if Steve Jobs took over the world of mobile, that would be OK? I really don’t understand fanboys.

    1. I’d hate it if Steve Jobs totally took over the world too. That would let him relax and get lazy. The best situation is when there’s a few competitors all going at it. That’s when the consumer does best.

      1. Speaking about future major innovations from Apple..could you give us some of your predictions?
        I would like to hear more about the innovations in its notebook/PC line.

      1. Wow…really?

        You are in the iOS world and your going to keep buying whatever Steve says is ‘style’?

        Sorry…give me Android where I have an open platform AND competing form/styles to choose from.

        1. Cool, glad you love living in that world. I have a drawer full of Android phones, none of which stand up to iPhone. Openess is great for developers. For everyone else? Not so sure and even with the openess, there aren’t many better apps on Android that didn’t already come from Google.

          1. (( I have a drawer full of Android phones, none of which stand up to iPhone.))

            NAME THEM, model by model.

            Let;s see if you name any high end phones. And if you do, then be specific. These bullshit tossaway statements are so childish. It’s completely fair to say “I completely prefer the iphone to any android phone, from the form factor and product design to the OS and UI and overall user experience”.

            That’s a valid statement, and many would agree with you, and that is all well and good. But these cavbalier statements are just so ridiculous but you can say them because you got your street cred and everyone just loves to cuddle up to see what you have to say next. Great. But how bout really presenting your statements with backup more than a casual toss of the hairdo — let’s hear some examples. Maybe if you actually made your case, people would be more impressed by your conclusions. But me? I don’t find arrogance particularly persuasive.

            You make waves, yes. But do you make sense? No, not really. But you think you do, so i guess that’s all that matters.

  5. Android may be the leader but it won’t be a re enactment of Windows vs Mac because Steve learned his lesson about pricing. P.S. Gillmor may kick you off his show for this article! hahhahahhahahh.

  6. I somewhat disagree with this idea that Android will suddenly explode next year. If there is a Verizon iPhone next year it would have a dramatic affect on US sales. AT&T, which is considered the worst carrier by CR, had almost 2.5x the amount of new subscribers than Verizon in the last quarter mostly because of the iPhone. In fact AT&T has beaten Verizon in growth for every quarter for over a year. From that alone it seems Android is getting their growth (in the US) is coming from people who upgrade their phones and are choosing the closest thing to an iPhone.

    As for price, from what I’ve seen it doesn’t seem to be that big of a factor. The average middle-class person cares much more about the about the monthly fees of a smartphone than the initial cost. People chose the iPod over much cheaper mp3 players because most will pay for quality if the price is reasonable enough. Also there is a $99 iPhone.

    Lastly, Android’s platform seems to be mostly ad-based. While some developers can live off of this, not all can or want to. I wonder how an app like Omnifocus or Screens would sell on Android.

    1. I don’t think you know anything about android or its platform or how many carriers carry android phones, nor how many phone makers make android phones. You’re just yakking to hear yourself talk.

      (( From that alone it seems Android’s growth (in the US) is coming from people who upgrade their phones and are choosing the closest thing to an iPhone. ))

      The most absurd statement on this page NOT made by Scoble. Jesus, you guys ought to at least browse by a university campus and talk to people before making unilaterally stupid (as in unfounded) statements.

  7. I sense that ask but the most devout of iPhone users are starting to tire of its form factor and this is a trend that I see accelerating in 2011. Android of course doesn’t have that problem.

    Also where you see consistency of UI, some people see monotony.

  8. As Android developer, I completely agree that the quality of Android apps is not as good. A fairly large reason for that how ambiguous Google has been with its UI guide. This guide http://d.android.com/guide/practices/ui_guidelines/index.html has changed a lot and didn’t exist for quite some time. Last year at Google IO, Google show off some new suggested UI patterns but didn’t tell anybody how to do them. 3rd parties had to put together libraries in order to actually use the new patterns (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3059155/android-quick-actions-ui-pattern).

    All that to say, Andy Rubin knows this is a problem. He said so at Drive into Mobile.

    I think Google will *start* to address the UI inconsistency and usability issues with Gingerbread and really push forward with the version after that.

  9. I think that Apple and iOS will continually be more polished than Android – it’s what they do best. But keep an eye on Honeycomb and beyond, the little that I’ve seen/read of Honeycomb has shown that the Android team is now committed to improve the user experience. So sometime in the near future we may see Android come within viewing distance of iOS’s great user experience. And if the developers do follow Fred Wilson’s advice, we may see higher quality on the Android platform.

    I also don’t think that a Verizon iPhone will bring an enormous rush of users either. Decent? Yes. Enormous? Don’t think so. I look at what my non-techy friends/family are saying and a lot of them either want something super cheap (free or under $50) or something more specific (hardware keyboard or very large 4.3″ display). It’s ironic that the Android fragmentation issue that the press keeps pushing is what’s probably going to make it succeed.

  10. Sorry. It is crass, but I don’t care about market share and I don’t care about what happened in the past. It’s not ignorant, either. It’s the way to look at companies that go up and go down. Everyone thought Alta Vista would always be #1 in search, too, remember? I didn’t. People said I was nuts back then too.

  11. The huge innovation on the horizon is complete home/office computer replacement with a mobile device.

    Imagine: bring your mobile to work, use wireless input devices and a big screen that you keep there. Bring it home and use another set of wireless input and display devices (including TV) there.

    Your entire computing needs met by a handheld mobile device and a handful of input and display accessories. How fast a processor does a mainstream user need for this to be a reality? How far away is it?

    1. You do not have to treat mobile as storage, If all your apps are web based you have it now. I think Apple is now merging OSX and iOS experiences. But, again, there won’t be custom, corporate apps, so only option is the web.

  12. the iPhone defenitely broke a huge barrier but has heavy dependency on Apple products for developments and usage — Macbook for development, iTunes to sync. These products have not been popular outside the silicon valley and far lesser outside the US because of their price (macbooks are pricey). Apple should open up its app development onto other platforms if it wants adoption from countries all over the world — its no more a game of selling stuff to hackers in silicon valley or just in US market. The whole world sees your product now.

  13. “Smoother, especially when scrolling tweets.”

    THANK YOU for saying this. Why do Android users always think I’m crazy when my first test is to see if the phone can scroll without skipping? For me that’s such a slam dunk obvious thing to have. iPhone had it on day 1. Seems like most Android phones still can’t do it.

    1. The Nexus S is getting better, but still isn’t as smooth. It’s a big deal for me because I read almost all day long on my phones, especially Tweets that keep coming in and require lots of scrolling.

      1. I don’t have any problem with TweetDeck on my Nexus One.. It’s amazing how many people flicks home screen a few times and say “this phone is slow”. Get Launcher Pro and enjoy 60+ fps scrolling on the same phone.

        iPad have very smooth scrolling in the browser, but waiting for page to render for 1-2 seconds is much more annoying. I’d prefer a bad scrolling but see the web page instead of the empty space.

  14. Predictions seem meaningless – We basically know the android roadmap, we don’t know Apple’s. If Apple follows their iPad strategy (multiple models at different price points/features) and is on Verizon, anything could happen. So far, in-store, customers haven’t generally been able to compare android/iPhone side-by-side in the U.S. When they can, iPhone wins if the price is reasonable in comparison.

    Also, Google has NO control over the manufacturers/carriers so no one knows what crap they could pull. Apple tends to control their own destiny.

    Gonna be an interesting year.

  15. As far as the official Twitter app is concerned on Android. I know very few people who use the official app. Most use one of the 3rd party apps like TweetDeck, Seesmic, Twidroyd or Twicca.

  16. I agree with you about Apple and Android. But I don’t agree with you on this phrase: ” really don’t care that in some poor country Nokia sold hundreds of millions of single-chip, small-screen phones that barely can use text features, not to mention have decent access to the web.” Discounting the bottom of the pyramid, which is where all the growth is, I know that companies like Nokia with a large installed base can sell phones into those countries all day long. People who are trying to survive do not want to learn new operating systems and features. They will eventually get to smart phones when their broadband infrastructure gets better, but I have been in African countries that have electricity only during part of the day, and the charging requirements for most smart phones make them a joke in those countries.

    1. The growth follows the tip of the spear. You really think that those markets are going to stay with substandard phones when they get the ability to buy something better? As iPhones and Android phones come down in price they will eat into Nokia’s market share (and already have around the world).

  17. Oops! Somebody already called you out on this. But I am thinking of the future. Every store in India and Africa already sells Nokia. Everyone already has an account. That’s not going to change tomorrow. Sure it will change in ten years. EVERYTHING will change in ten years. But for the intervening decade Nokia will not die,, Microsoft will not enter the market, and broadband infrastructure in developing nations won’t come on line so fas.

  18. As a semi-retired engineer/programmer I am blown away with the relative openness of the Android experience. A few weeks ago I purchased a Samsung Galaxy S. I’m blown away that I can get free development tools that run on Linux, or the Mac or Windows (I’m using Windows), and easily load these programs to my own phone.

    I have owned an iPod Touch (non jail broken) for the past two years and can appreciate the elegance of iOS vs Android. But I am put off by the fact that the iPod Touch (and the iPhone) are relatively closed devices, verses the Android. The Android devices seem to me more like the general purpose computers that such devices are.

    I am hoping that the competition presented by the Android and the newly available (and interesting) Windows Phone 7 will convince Steve Jobs to open up the the iOS platform a little bit: enough to encourage innovation without losing the design elegance of Apple’s products.

  19. Android is now besting iOS in terms of usability and features in many important application domains: Maps, GMail, Browser, Search, Voice Control and Navigation.

    Android is at parity with iOS in many other application domains (Twitter, eBooks etc.), and many of those areas where iOS still leads are not very defensible.

    Don’t take this wrong, Apple offers a very strong premium product (arguably the best), but don’t understate the real fomidable gains Android is continuously making in features and usability. It’s a juggernaut.

    But how the two systems compare head-to-head is not really the most important factor in market growth at this point.

  20. I only use my devices as voice phones about 5% of the time. So, while that’s important it is hardly the most important part of the phone. iPhone has been getting better for me, too. Except in downtown San Francisco, which I am rarely in.

    1. Crap! We all forgot! Nobody makes calls on phones anymore and you speak for the millions of cell phone users!

      Who ignorant of us.

      Lol. How does anyone take you seriously when you’re going to respond with such ridiculousness?

  21. Best thing about Android is it’s Google integration. As a paying GAFYD person if your platform doesn’t have 1st class integration you don’t exist :)

    Also the Galaxy S has swype which compared to tap tap tap input is a pleasure to use.

    I’ll be upgrading to a Nexus S as I recently took my phone out in the rain and it has lost its GPS function and the 3G reception is poor for some reason.

    Like you say Android isn’t as perfect as iPhone in some aspects, however it is good enough, which for a technical minded person is fine, I can deal with the minor issues that crop up from time to time.

    The one thing that I miss out on is iTunes integration, which is a bummer, though what I get out of native GAFYD integration far out weights this.

  22. OK and now for a really shallow but valid reason why Androids lack of differentiation matters.

    Even if there was an android phone that was “as good” as an iPhone, I would never buy it.
    Why would I carry an android phone of a certain brand that was better than the others?
    How would anyone KNOW that the one I have is better when they all more or less look alike, and yet they are all different in some way?

    Nope, you tarnish your brand, and thats it. Android is tarnished, so even if a good one came out, as a whole its crap and has been crap since day one. I dont give points for trying hard. I give points for making something I want, now…the first time. I would be embarrassed to pull android out of my pocket.

    That would be like saying my yugo is a great car because I put a rockin stereo in it.

    1. God this is so hilariously ridiculous where does one begin.

      (( Even if there was an android phone that was “as good” as an iPhone, I would never buy it.
      Why would I carry an android phone of a certain brand that was better than the others? ))

      What is the relevance of what Tom Dick and Harry are doing regarding choices you make? Are you really that pathetic? Do you make choices based on how great your brand sticks out?

      (A) you don’t know anything about branding and probably learned the term with the gap fiasco. (B) Your entire argument is nonsense to most rational people who buy products they LIKE that are AFFORDABLE and perform as they desire and are reliable.. And sure, if they want to make a fashion statement that may inform their choices. Sometimes there are arguments for brand consciousness to make impressions — people in real estate like to drive Mercedes or high end car to demonstrate their high status and success. Does it work? Probably.

      But your “Even if there was an android phone that was “as good” as an iPhone, I would never buy it.” just sounds like something a teenager would say. Are you a teenager? nothing wrong with teens. There’s just that maturity issue.

    2. Most consumers don’t know or care the name of the operating system of their phone. So Android, as much as it’s debated in the technosphere, has no identity or brand, just as iOS doesn’t either.

      People aren’t saying, “I won’t buy an Android because no one will know this one is better than that one.”

      They’re saying, “I liked the iPhone, but I bought a Droid X because Verizon has better coverage and I wanted a bigger screen.”

      The sneaky part of Android is that it offers a lot of the touch friendly environment of the iOS platform, but is customizable both by the manufacturer and the consumer. People feel like they’re buying a specific unit from their carrier. And they go to their carrier for help on porting contacts, etc. and Android makes that even easier with Google integration.

  23. While most of us techies can nit pick at the nuances of Android software and how iOS is so much better, the sad reality is that most (non-techie) people are not going to notice if their tweets don’t scroll smoothly. In their eyes, Android has caught up with iOS & it’s much harder to articulate the differences. When there was no Android, iPhone was so far ahead that you didn’t need to point out subtle differences like slow scrolling or menu bar anomalies. A few years ago, almost all mobile phones were running the equivalent of MS-DOS; now that some of them are running “Windows,” it’s a lot harder to convince someone that they should buy the better, more elegant “Mac” when Windows appears to be able to do the same thing just as well and is cheaper & more ubiquitous. Yes, Apple has substantial leads in marketing, brand cachet, cash hoard, stock value & in their retail stores, but the combined competition has a lot of that too. It’s going to be a lot harder for Apple to beat the competition going forward. Sure, their product is going to be better, but as history has shown, better doesn’t always win (Mac vs Windows, Betamax vs VHS). This doesn’t mean Apple can’t be a profitable mobile phone seller, but the healthy profit they currently enjoy from the carriers is predicated on strong demand for iPhone which may or may not exist as much in the future..

  24. Assuming other carriers get the iPhone for equivalent price brackets as other phones (99$/199$), and still delivers a better experience, why exactly will you recommend anything else?

    If you think iPhone is better than Android phones — even the 99$ one — why recommend otherwise?

  25. That’s a silly remark! Not everyone is using all the apple devices there are to be bought at once. I feel really stupid when I have to buy a piece of software to make my PS3 see my macbook in the network and I would never, ever, for anything in the world, buy an apple TV. Remember most people still have PCs and don’t give a shit about tightly connected iOS devices are!

  26. Yes, I know you hate it Robert, but how many folks can afford the iPhone? The point here is that, though not as polished, Android gives the same functionalities for a much lower price point.

    1. Hmm. My iPhone cost $200 for the phone. Around $2,400 for two years of AT&T and about $400 worth of apps so far. Android doesn’t reduce the total cost of ownership that much yet.

      1. Cricket (low price carrier) already has an Android phone for only about 50 dlls a month (unlimited everything). Other than the up front price of the phone, it’s much, much cheaper than the iPhone. So your statement is not accurate.

      2. If you had T-Mobile service in your area, as many urban dwellers do, you could switch to a much cheaper personal or family plan on your Nexus S. If there were a Sprint Android phone you liked (and I know there isn’t one yet), your savings could be even greater for those 5% calls you make, as Sprint plans have unlimited mobile to mobile calling. You could retire iPhones except for using international SIMs when traveling.

        Rural dwellers often go for Verizon nationwide because it’s the only choice. A lot of suburban or semi-rural places have fewer choices with carrier like you do.

    2. Actually, Android gives MORE features (personalization, 4G, near field communications, wifi hostpot, etc) at a lower price. Apple fans keep clinging to the idea that the iPhone is cutting edge when it’s blade dulled long ago. The iPhone 4 was just a catch up to the Nexus One (wallpapers, folders, partial multi-tasking, etc.). Because of Apple’s Reality Distortion Field (RDF), most people don’t even know that the EVO 4G had video chat before the iPhone 4. After CES, Android is going to take it to another level entirely, and you’ll finally see the RDF crumble.

  27. From a US perspective, the Verizon iPhone is relevant in managing the Android threat to Apple. Taking a global view, I do not doubt that cheap Android based smart phones will take over the market dominance from Nokia in non-first world countries. Apple will not play much of a role there.

  28. 2 things:
    - Tomi Ahonen envisioned 6 months ago that the smartphone war is an OS war, that Android will win in the end and that ‘Good enough’ beats ‘the best UI’ when it comes to dominate a tech market: http://bit.ly/c6Zfoe
    - every market winner isn’t a ’95 Windows doppelganger ; Apple closed garden with the horrible iTunes at the front looks much more like ’95 Windows than ‘submit whatever app’ Android Marketplace…

  29. You do realize that Android is outselling the iPhones (yes, there are 3 versions being sold) across the world? If not, I suggest you do some research.

  30. MeeGo is pretty cool – uses a new display server (Wayland) that Ubuntu is betting on as a replacement for X11. The only dislike I have for MeeGo is it uses C++ as its dev language and let’s face it, given the option of Java or Objective-C vs C++, most devs would opt for the former 2.

    MeeGo uses Qt, which is the best widget devkit available (in my view, design is superior to GTK’s as well as ease of use), but where Intel/Nokia can botch it is if they alienate developers.

    I hate to quote Ballmer – but he’s right in saying – “Developers, developers, developers, developers” :)

  31. ‘hate’ is a strong word to apply to a smartphone platform, it is ‘not’ a religion. And so what if android OS is not the best designed out there, if android phones really do lower the barrier to entry for the vast majority of the masses worldwide, I am not too sure it is such a bad thing. In fact it is a damn good piece of thing. I live in one of those poor countries as you put it and I appreciate what Nokia has done. And yes I do browse the web from a Nokia smartphone(for which you have nothing but contempt) occasionally.

    Here is a nice little link for you

    http://www.google.com/trends?q=verizon+iphone,droid

  32. Man I hate it too. If everyone had an iPhone, the world would be a better place. So many people I talk to think that the iPhone is a toy for kids with tattoos of Steve Jobs on their necks, and that the “real” work gets done on “real” platforms.

    And then they start showing all of the “really cool stuff” you can do on this Android. Isn’t it amazing? Hmph. I don’t have the heart to tell them that it’s a lot more seamless and organic on an iPhone.

    So I asked you six months ago if Mark Zuckerberg reads your blog…do you think Steve (or any repsentative from Apple) will pay any attention to this?