Daniel Eran Dilger
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Google I/O 2010 takes on Apple with PlaysForSure strategies

Daniel Eran Dilger

Last week, Google’s I/O conference presented a look at the company’s future plans, exciting the base of its enthusiasts. But will Google’s intended strategies, patterned after Microsoft’s PlaysForSure, be as devastating to Apple as media pundits would like them to be? No, here’s why.

Google takes on Apple with Flash mobile beta

An awful lot of pundits would like us to think that there’s a huge backlash against Apple in play, just because they would like that to be happening. They see Google as the company to exploit this supposedly grassroots uprising, and saw the announcements at I/O to be evidence that Apple and its iPhone are about to be buried by its search partner and, increasingly, its new rival in a number of areas.

Google’s I/O turned out to include a lot of negative jabs at Apple, starting with snipes targeted at the iPhone’s cold shoulder to Flash (contrasted with Android’s warm reception to Adobe’s initial attempt to deliver its proprietary HTML alternative in a form for mobile devices). Google’s first example of “leapfrogging” Apple (in the words of Gizmodo) comes from saddling its fast new Android mobile browser with a Flash plugin that makes Apple’s year old iPhone 3GS faster overall than the brand new Nexus One, despite the latter’s significantly faster new CPU. Without Flash, Google could brag (at least for a couple more weeks) about having a speedier edge in mobile browsing. This is why, you’ll recall, Steve Jobs really does love Flash: it’s an albatross around the necks of all who target it.

It turns out that Adobe’s latest Flash Player mobile is indeed a battery taxing CPU hog that lames up the mobile web experience, just like Jobs said it was three years ago. The problem today is that three years have passed and Adobe still hasn’t solved the issues of trying to shoehorn a web plugin designed for fast, full screen, mouse-based Windows PCs into touch-based mobile devices with physical, thermal and performance constraints. Who, besides Jobs, programmers, engineers, product managers, and reasonably intelligent technology enthusiasts could see that was going to happen?

Many of the pundits who fit into none of those categories still have faith that Adobe will fix all the remaining problems real soon now, even as it also ports its Flash runtime to several other mobile platforms. Even Google has fallen for the trap of hailing Flash as a feature to cite competitively against the iPhone, despite the fact that having Flash only makes Android slower, clumsier, poorer performing, and more riddled with ads. It seems Google has actually leapfroggered Apple, right into traffic.

Why Steve Jobs Loves Adobe Flash

Google’s PlaysForSure TV

Also unveiled at I/O was Google’s answer to Apple TV: an effort to layer third party TVs with an adware platform built on top of Android. Google made no secret about its motivations, throwing around talk about the billions of dollars in TV advertising that it wants to capitalize on. But despite the ease of pitting them as dramatic competitors, Apple TV and Google TV have little in common; the former is Apple’s hardware-oriented placeholder designed to port iTunes content to the living room TV, while Google’s effort is an attempt to put a layer of software into hardware makers’ TV products so that Google can sell ad space somewhere else other than the saturated PC desktop it already pretty much monopolizes.

Jobs keeps calling Apple TV a “hobby” because the company hasn’t identified set top boxes as a market with lots of obvious potential, nor much low hanging fruit to grab. Unlike the expanding MP3 market that Apple sopped up with iPods, or the exploding smartphone market Apple inhaled with the iPhone, Apple TV sits in a niche where nobody has done all that well. The popular TiVo has been hemorrhaging cash for a long time; Microsoft’s Windows Media Center products couldn’t stand alone as a separate product and were folded into Windows for free; Vudu sold itself off to Walmart; and there are really no other great success stories in the field anywhere.

Apple didn’t market its box as a way to watch or record broadcast TV nor present current listings; Apple TV is supposed to be a “DVD killer,” allowing users to rent movies or watch iTunes content on their TV. This is a somewhat limited, emerging new market, and nobody has anything like iTunes in terms of selling and renting a broad range of media, from paid downloads to free podcasts. While people like to harp on Apple TV as a failure, it’s doing exactly what it was intended to do: address a limited market without costing Apple too much to deliver.

In contrast, Google TV is primarily an effort to add web browsing to TV, focusing on YouTube videos and Picassa photos with the ability to also run special Android TV apps developed for the new platform, including an Office document reader. How much value there will be in that is hard to imagine, given that those are the least popular things to do with Apple TV (sorry, but nobody really wants to watch YouTube on HTDVs, and Internet photos on TV are nice but not a killer app) and that Google lacks an iTunes of its own to sell or rent content. If users were really excited about browsing the web on their TVs, then WebTV might have done better, and the Wii and PlayStation 3 might actually be seeing some significant use as web browser clients, given that 105 million of them are out there.

Google TV seems primarily to be an effort by the company to first get its software installed and then hope there’s a sustainable business model that erupts afterward, much like the company’s existing smartphone strategy with Android. Both are patterned after Windows Mobile and PlaysForSure, platforms which Microsoft heavily subsidized in the hopes of someday discovering a way to profit from.

Contrast this with Apple’s iPod, iPhone, iPad and Apple TV strategies, which are all oriented around selling hardware. Microsoft and Google don’t sell hardware, so the point of their getting into consumer electronics is all based on the hope that they can replicate Microsoft’s Windows monopoly of software control over other company’s hardware, which the company pulled off in PCs but has failed to successfully replicate ever since in any other business.

Microsoft frets Google’s Nexus One will suffer Zune’s failure
Why Microsoft Will Slaughter Its Windows Mobile and PC Partners

Open advantages or just monoculture drawbacks?

Apple is often beaten up for not being as “open” as Microsoft was with Windows or as Google is being with Android. What the people who say that really mean is that Apple integrates its software and hardware into a single product, and that being “open” about installing software on a variety of hardware maker’s products is supposedly better for everyone involved. But that’s simply not true in reality; not in consumer electronics nor in any other industry.

Like the Windows PC, Android is riddled with excessive complexity and compatibility problems. To an even greater extent than Windows, elements of Android smartphones work differently across vendors, creating inconsistency in the user interface, leaving lots of users behind with old versions of software they can’t update, and making it far harder and less rewarding for developers to attempt to create native apps for the platform.

While Windows keeps getting cited as the holy grail that Google is trying to replicate in its Android phones and tablets and Google TVs, a better analog would be PlaysForSure. Microsoft talked a lot about openness and choice in describing why PFS was such a great model for delivering media players, but the reality was that this model only resulted in complicating things for users, leaving them with old versions of software they could not upgrade, and exposing conflicts between the hardware makers and software stores Microsoft was trying to corral together on its PFS platform.

The company finally admitted this when it produced the Zune based on the iPod model, which subsequently became more successful than any of the existing PFS products, even if the Zune wasn’t very successful overall. In consumer products, particularly mobile and embedded products, integration is far more important than it was in PCs. That’s why Apple won over all of Microsoft’s mobile efforts, and it’s also why Google hasn’t taken the market by storm over the past three years while Apple has with introductions of iPhones, iPod touches and iPads.

I/O featured a lineup of Apple competitors such as Sony showing up to explain why they don’t think they’ll remain beaten by Apple in the marketplace for much longer, thanks to the new third party Android-based Google TV software, as if Windows had given Sony a powerful presence in PCs, or as if licensing the Palm OS had given Sony a successful PDA business, or as if licensing the BeOS had enabled Sony to sell lots of eVilla Internet appliances.

Google TV is slated to arrive around the end of the year on a variety of third party hardware. Yet again, it looks like Google is rushing into busy traffic simply because it desperately needs new places to put its ads, rather than actually building out a sustainable business strategy as Apple is. This can only be good news for Apple, as Google TV isn’t really an Apple TV competitor (they don’t do the same thing, aren’t sold the same way, and aren’t mutually exclusive to users).

On the other hand, Google TV as an effort should keep the company mired in unproductive territory and serve as a distraction away from focusing on making Android a good platform for smartphones and tablets, something Google has been slow to deliver. Everyone keeps forgetting that Android isn’t really newer than the iPhone OS, it just hasn’t done nearly as well over the last three years. The problem is that there’s big money in smartphones, but not really much in smart TVs.

Android 2.2

Google’s biggest news surrounded Froyo, Android 2.2. It includes a lot of features iPhone OS 3 doesn’t support, such as tethering. Oh wait, iPhone has been tethering globally for a year now. Apparently, Google will deliver software support for features rejected by carriers such as AT&T, and AT&T will simply jump to support Android in ways that it isn’t supporting on the iPhone for some reason. Perhaps the same kind of wishful thinking will magically allow Android phones to deliver WiFi sharing features without raising the ire of mobile companies in a way that Apple is naively believed to have failed to happen upon as a concept.

Either that, or Google is promising things it isn’t in a position to deliver.

Android 2.2 does deliver a variety of other fixes that bring the experience closer to last year’s iPhone release (such as the ability to update apps all at once, or load significantly sized apps onto the phone from Marketplace, both of which are rather severe limitations that have helped stifle the Android marketplace), while also adding things that are currently missing on the iPhone and are not likely to be addressed even in the upcoming iPhone OS 4 release (such as integration with Google features like voice recognition, Google Voice, Maps Navigation, and a native Latitude app).

However, Google isn’t talking as much about how Android 2.2 still doesn’t support Exchange in a way that’s useful to companies (this requires strong hardware-software integration, in this case hardware encryption support, not just a layer of hopeful symbiosis between DIY software and cheap Chinese knockoff hardware); nor explaining why Android’s poor battery life has been blamed upon third party developers rather than being managed by the platform itself (sort of like how Microsoft always blamed its stability and security issues on third parties rather than addressing the issues on the platform level); nor presenting why a poor beta of Flash that slows the browser down to a crawl is being promoted a key feature (despite Google’s reported interest in pushing open web standards).

Instead, we keep hearing that Android has surpassed the iPhone in every way, even though users are complaining that it delivers an inferior experience, it feels buggy and unfinished and inconsistent, and that commercial app development is nowhere near that of the iPhone. This sounds a lot like the pundit talk surrounding Windows 95, except in a universe where the Mac OS hadn’t sat immobile through nearly a decade of slow progress in features.

If or when Apple fails to deliver forward progress on the iPhone, we can expect Android to remove it from the leading position in smartphones, tablets and mobile software. But that certainly hasn’t happened yet, and as long as Apple continues to maintain its technical lead, it will have certain advantages over any monoculture platform that exists, whether that is Android, Symbian, or Windows Mobile.

Android 2.2 to do things we assumed it already did

A frog leaping into the fire in other efforts: VP8, mSpot

Other efforts announced by Google and portrayed as devastatingly competitive blows against Apple include the new VP8/WebM, a free codec positioned to replace VP3/Ogg Theora as the world’s free codec that works well enough to make it worth avoiding MPEG LA royalties. While pundits like to position VP8 in an Apple-Google rivalry between it and H.264, the reality is that Apple supports H.264 because it is the best video technology openly available to anyone who wants to license it, not because Apple owns or is otherwise somehow ideologically attached to it.

If VP8 delivered what Google promised it does, it would be a no-brainer for Apple to adopt it, just as if Flash actually delivered for mobiles what Adobe promised it would. The problem is that both Flash and VP8 have serious problems that their proponents are failing to acknowledge. Those drawbacks are so serious that Apple wants nothing to do with either. And both VP8 and Flash desperately need Apple’s support to become useful to mobile users.

Unless all these serious problems in both VP8 and Flash can be magically addressed within the next few months, and they simply can’t, there’s no way Apple will support them and no way they’ll become any more entrenched than they already are. You can’t effectively push a content platform, whether Flash or VP8, to mobile users while ignoring the 100 million iPhone OS users out there globally.

The next technology announced at I/O that pundits say is supposed pitted against Apple is mSpot, a cloud-based music streaming service Google acquired. Apple has been working on something similar for a while now, but appears to be having trouble lining up all of its music, TV and movie content providers. Google can’t do that any better than Apple, as it a) doesn’t have content provider partners, b) couldn’t get them to buy into its plans with any leverage as it doesn’t have any, and c) it doesn’t even have an iTunes or an iTunes Store. So this isn’t really a competitor to Apple at all, just another acquisition that Google is unlikely to ever profit from unless it successfully figures out a way to stuff the service with ad views somehow.

Steve Jobs says no to Google’s VP8 WebM codec

Chrome OS vs Android

Google also announced a Chrome web store, which will vend apps to Chrome browsers and Chrome OS devices. While it’s interesting to see if Google can replicate the success Apple has had (in selling native iPhone OS apps) in the world of paid-web sites, the more interesting thing to consider is whether Google is still focusing on Chrome OS as its tablet OS or if it will be pushing Android, or some weird combination of both at the same time.

Google is already forbidding Android tablet licensees from bundling support for the smartphone Android Marketplace. That indicates that Google either wants third parties to make up their own software stores for tablets (in order to prevent Google from having to support the same kind of integrated experience Apple has built to scale App Store offerings from the iPhone to iPad), or that it wants to relegate Android native apps to the smartphone and push HTML5-based apps on everything else.

That correlates with what Google employees have told me: that Google doesn’t see any future for Android apps, and expects everything to move toward HTML5 apps real soon now. If it didn’t, the company would be working harder to establish Android apps the same way Apple is working to cultivate a vibrant market for iPhone OS apps.

This all happened before

But wait, you might be asking yourself, aren’t we talking about Google here, the company that never fails and simply churns our success story after success story? Well no, the Google that actually exists only has one exceptional success story: paid search.

That goldmine is enabling Google to spend wildly on a number of crapshoots, the same way Microsoft’s monopolies of Windows, Server, and Office have allowed that company to ineffectually blow billions on schemes to clone the Palm Pilot, PlayStation, Tivo, iPod, and deliver a lot of alternative tablets, tables, media platforms, and other consumer products that simply didn’t ever amount to much.

To put Google’s I/O announcements into perspective, consider what the company unveiled last year: Wave, a wildly hyped communication tool that ultimately didn’t revolutionize anything. And consider that Google has been unable to deliver its own competition to websites (the very thing Google is supposed to be really good at doing) such as YouTube (Google Video flopped, prompting the company to buy its competitor for $1.65 billion), Twitter (Google’s Buzz imploded at launch, thanks to an excessively aggressive push out the gate, while its acquired Jaiku didn’t go anywhere), Facebook (remember Orkut? Maybe if you live in Brazil), and Wikipedia (Google’s own Knol didn’t ever gain any traction).

If Google can’t manage to effectively or consistently compete against websites with adware business models, how can it be expected to take on Apple, a highly competent hardware and software maker with a proven track record in software platform management, practical product development, marketing, online and brick and mortar retail, and customer support? One only has to look at the disappointing sales, poor service and inept marketing of Google’s Nexus One for clues.

  • Mark Hernandez

    Excellent article, as usual Dan. Thanks for that!

    But one thing that hasn’t been focused on and articulated clearly and/or consistently is the marketplace for Google’s products.

    It’s clear Apple absolutely understands WHO the iPod, iPhone and iPad are designed for. Was there any mention of who Google’s products are intended to be marketed to? Was that sidestepped by Google and it’s up to the hardware partners to figure that out? Certainly geeks can handle Google’s stuff, but what about “everyone else?” Isn’t this one of the most fundamental facets of success?

  • LuisDias

    A nice article, except that it fails to account for the big Android surge happening in the last few months, with Android now being second only to RIM. Apple’s answer to that is interesting for the developers, in so much that iPods really matter to those who develop to the iPhone too. But nevertheless, to portrait Android’s venture as somehow lacking in its success is evidently a big distortion of yours.

    I agree that Android is not as interesting as they portrait it, and even Engadget aknowledges this. They are very excited at it, but in its podcast they outline the same problems that you do here, they are very critical at Google’s TV, see bad issues on flash and Topolsky was very clear when he spoke that if we hoped for an “iPhone level experience”, you wouldn’t get it with the latest android phone.

    So, I think that the “pundits” are not exactly “wrong” on this. The hype is androids, for the moment, but given that the iPhone is already one year old, and that in two weeks, a new one will be released (people even mention video chat!), we clearly see who’s winning the war here.

    Still, the article *does not explain* current android’s fever on *market share*. I think that Android will surpass iPhone easily because of their wide variety of phones and carriers (in the US at least), and also a good entry price level.

    In this regard, pundits are right: this *is* W95 all over again, in the sense that quality won’t *matter* much in the end game. Consumers will be duped into android thinking that *if it’s google its awesome* and any problems they encounter they will think it’s their own fault, not Google’s.

    Heck, even myself, being poor and all, am not very interested in buying an iPhone. But I am considering an android… since it’s the second best thing.

  • sunglee

    When windows phone 7 gets released, most of the android phone makers will produce window phone 7 smartphones also. So android will lose the market share they are currently getting by replacing window mobile phones. Rimm and apple are not losing market shares. Also, because of all the flaws of android, the initial hype will be over soon and users will get disillusioned with android phones. If apple releases iphone for verizon, it will be a triple whammy for android.

  • gus2000

    My prediction for the most popular Android Marketplace 2.2 download: “Tap2Flash”.

  • Mark Hernandez

    Remember that because of Apple’s business model and margins, mostly because they make hardware, they don’t need to have the biggest market share to thrive and be successful. We have to watch out for that “whomever sells the most wins / is the best” thinking. It’s not easy comparing Apples and oranges. The two platforms are fundamentally different in some ways that make comparisons complex.

  • http://www.van-garde.com adobephile

    I don’t think we can ignore the aspect of “sustainability”. Sure, Android may be “surging” at this point. But isn’t a lot of that due to bogo offers, multiple carriers, and for some an AT&T backlash?

    On the other hand, Apple built its market from scratch with an expensive phone and with an exclusive arrangement with one carrier. This unusual business model has been steadily thriving for three years now.

    Why? BECAUSE of all the “horrible” things Apple is doing. But the key factor is the relative genius design of the whole integrated package. My wife is no dummy, but I’ve been the one to have to figure out every previous cell phone we’ve had and then show her how it works. Not with the iPhone. She quickly figured it out herself–because it was so well designed.

    It continues to amaze me how factually inept these would-be competitors are proving themselves to be. Not only inept but functionally stupid to the point of ignoring the sheer genius, not only of the iPhone ecosystem overall, but the genius of even one of its essential components: Xcode and Objective-C with its various design patterns such as MVC. Because of this, software can be rather easily modified to run on any iPhone OS device (assuming it makes functional sense to do so) by changing relatively little code.

    They just don’t seem to realize or appreciate the sheer magnitude of effort Apple has invested into its iPhone OS products and system. Until they do, they won’t enjoy any comparable success.

  • http://themacadvocate.com TheMacAdvocate

    Don’t forget Sony’s use of the Chumby OS in their Dash, the tricked-out alarm clock that was supposed to signal Sony’s resurgence in CE. Too bad it got panned by reviewers.

    Just like Microsoft, when they’re forced out of a template, Google makes some pretty horrible products. GMail? Pretty awesome, but screwing up the basic functionality an email client is harder than burning water. Your mention of Wave and the boatload of other services that flopped show the true limitations of Google as a company that groks UI.

  • iLogic

    That’s exactly why everything Google buys turns into mediocrity.

    thank you Daniel,

  • http://allasloss.com Nick R

    I think you are wrong about the Apple TV and YouTube. I know 4 Apple TV owners, and one of the #1 uses is browsing YouTube. It harkens back to your post awhile back about Lo-def being the new Hi-def. I realize just how little people care about pixelation and artifacts when they are being entertained. Watching YouTube videos at my parents house, in the family room, on a 50″ HDTV has become a new tradition over the past couple years.

  • FreeRange

    Thank you Daniel for finally posting your much anticipated response to Google’s I/O conference. Having watched the youtube videos of the keynotes, I have to say that their presenters, like their CTO, were arrogant smug pricks. They are truly clueless. Their current ride will slow down quickly when consumer figure out what a mess they have created. Sure, they have some really cool features that I wish I had on my iPhone. But this is not a feature contest! Its about providing the best overall consumer experience, and once Apple expands its carrier base in the US, as they have done elsewhere in the world, they will increase their share here exponentially and leave Google in the dust.

    One of the most offensive things Google did at the conference is suck up to Adobe and Flash knowing full well what a piece of crap it is – they did it just as a wedge issue with consumers but only the ignorant techtards will bite on this. Anyone with half a brain knows what a POS flash is. Apple is doing exactly the right thing in panning flash on mobile devices so that the marketplace starts developing and adopting intelligent open source solutions instead of letting this pig live on.

  • ChuckO

    @LouisDias 2,
    “Heck, even myself, being poor and all, am not very interested in buying an iPhone. But I am considering an android… since it’s the second best thing.”

    There’s a lot of screwy logic in your post but this one I found particularly confusing. How is buying an Android phone cheaper? Your going to pay $100-$200 for the phone and $2400 over two years to the carrier. Why go for Android if you want an iPhone? To save $100 bucks?

  • JohnWatkins

    Speaking of Google I/O, I loved that stanky syntho-Hip Hop theme music, but was anyone else expecting Ali-G would be presenting, or was it just me?

  • ChuckO

    Don’t forget Verizon bought Androids market share with a $100 million advertising campaign and buy one/get one deals. I can’t believe that’s sustainable.

  • HCE

    Enough with the Android bashing! I get Android’s weak points. However, some credit must be given to the positive things that are happening in Android space. That is what I don’t see on this blog. It won’t kill you to say a few good things about Apple’s competitors once in a while.

    It is amazing how much better Android 2.1 is than the early versions. 2.2 seems another big improvement. If Google’s demos are to be believed, then speed of many programs has increased dramatically. Then there are the features that you mentioned – free navigation with Google maps, google voice integration etc. The most impressive feature of Android 2.2 for my money, though, is the over the air syncing of apps and data. This is something that Apple does not have – hopefully, iPhone OS 4 will introduce this – otherwise this is one area where Google just leapfrogged Apple.

    Face it, Android is growing pretty dramatically. Their worldwide market share is a little over 9 percent – which is where the iPhone was a year ago. You can’t blame this on carrier exclusivity. From what I understand, the iPhone is exclusive to one carrier in only 3 markets (the US being one) – in every other market the iPhone is available on multiple carriers. Getting the iPhone on Verizon is not going make this problem go away.

    I still think that overall the iPhone is a better platform – which is why I am sticking with it. I certainly don’t believe the whole Google-are-saints and Apple-is-evil line that the press seems have adopted of late. However, I think it is important to give Google (and other Apple competitors) credit for the good things they have done.

    – HCE

  • ChuckO

    The other leading indicator that Google going to face plant is Dan Lyon. He’s giving up his iPhone for Android. When he jumps on your ship you know your in trouble.

  • http://motorizedmount.com Alan

    @ChuckO “Why go for Android if you want an iPhone? To save $100 bucks?”

    How do you figure only saving $100? Let’s compare the unlimited plans for example with an iPhone on AT&T vs an Android Phone on Sprint. For AT&T that works out to be $135 a month. (I added the voice dial for $4.99 and GPS for $10 which are free on Sprint) The unlimited plan on Sprint is only $99 a month. But for most people the $69 plan makes more sense. It offers unlimited calling to any cellular phone on any network, unlimited data/text/GPS and gives a bucket of 450 anytime minutes for landlines from 7AM to 7PM M-F.

    T-Mobile also matches Sprint with a $99 unlimited everything plan or even cheaper at $79 if you choose not to go into a contract and get a subsidy on a phone.

    So If I wanted an unlimited everything plan with a phone subsidy and did not have any sort of corporate discount, I would save $840 over a 2 year contract with Sprint or T-Mobile. That is no small chunk of change. I didn’t add Verizon because I think they are as expensive if not more expensive as AT&T.

    Since AT&T raised their ETF to $325 starting in June, that is a pretty good indicator that they are probably losing their exclusivity soon, maybe even by the fall.

  • HCE

    A couple of other points.

    All Android bashers keep talking about how there are so many phones on older versions of the OS. You know what – it is happening to the iPhone as well. The original iPhone will not be upgradable to OS 4. Right now, the problem is particularly bad for Android because of the pace of OS upgrades. As that slows down (which Google indicated it will), the problem won’t be nearly as bad. There will still be a lot more fragmentation on Android than on the iPhone but that is a price you pay for a multiple-vendors strategy. It remains to be seen if any of the other steps Google is taking to limit fragmentation will work.

    The notion that the iPhone will decimate Android the moment it becomes available on Verizon is wish thinking. Android is doing quite well worldwide and in most countries, the iPhone *is* available on multiple carriers. I am also inclined to doubt the notion that the arrival of Windows Phone 7 will cause Android phone sales to tank. By the time Windows Phone 7 does arrive, the Windows market share will be down to less than 5 percent. They will be starting from scratch and even though they are Microsoft, it will be an uphill battle. Android will have yet another release under its belt, an even bigger market place and a huge selection of devices.

    – HCE

  • gus2000

    Pointing out the factual shortcomings of Android is not “bashing”. Daniel wouldn’t need to point them out if they weren’t being completely overlooked by the giddy tech media who think that Android will sink the iPhone (“no chance” of that happening).

    There are many things I wish the iPhone did…over-air syncing is not one of them. Frankly I don’t see the point. I have MobileMe, so my mail, calendars, contacts, and bookmarks are all kept in sync. I can get music and apps anytime from the iTunes store. The wired sync to my computer updates my music and videos, maybe my apps, and makes a backup. Why would I want to do this over the air at 1/10th the speed?

  • John E

    Android’s international sales are still very small at this time. do the math. about 1/2 of the iPhone’s sales are outside the US – so 7% of its global 14% market share is international. Android’s a little ahead of iPhone in the US market, so about 8% of its 9% global share is US domestic, leaving just the other 1% international. not to say Android won’t do better overseas once it expands to many countries, but at the moment it is a US phenomenon, because it is the only decent smartphone you can buy – at a very cheap price – on 3 of the 4 telcos here. and it is about to lose that temporary advantage later this year …

    and the hype – what has happened is Google has managed to capture all the old Linux fans, who for years had no popular product to cheer for. there are a lot of these guys in the blogsphere, but not in the real world. and in their excitement to at last identify with a “winner,” they have chosen to ignore the fundamental truth about Google – its parasitic appropriation of content created by everyone else in the world for its own ad platform without any payment to the content creators. who then slowly die as a result. “do no evil” indeed.

  • http://www.roughlydrafted.com danieleran


    “Face it, Android is growing pretty dramatically. Their worldwide market share is a little over 9 percent – which is where the iPhone was a year ago. ”

    Well interestingly, the actual fact is that all of the world’s Android vendors together now amount to slightly less share than Apple had a year ago with just the iPhone 3G. But Android didn’t come out a year after Apple’s iPhone did (the G1 trailed the iPhone by a couple months), so to call this “catching up” is to redefine what it means to catch up.

    My point is not that Google and Android have nothing good about them, but that the perception that a Windows/PlayForSure monoculture platform strategy is fated to win is simply not correct. It hasn’t happened in iPods, isn’t happening in smartphones, and isn’t something we see in other consumer products, from kitchen appliances to cars to peripherals to watches to really anything other than the quirk that was PCs–and that was largely because Apple dropped the ball in the late 80s and Microsoft was able to thwart free markets with antitrust violations with immunity. That’s not what happens when there is a functional market, as there is in smartphones today.

    I don’t have to flatter Google, just as I don’t spend a lot of time flattering Apple for issuing upgrades and new features. What I do is take apart fallacious arguments about where things are headed.

  • http://motorizedmount.com Alan

    One more point to make, does anyone honestly believe that as slow as Apple likes to incrementally add features that without a viable competitor like Android, the pace of added features to both the iPhone OS and hardware has been dramatically sped up. Without Android, this next iPhone would probably just be the current 3GS version if that. I also think that Windows Phone 7 is far too little too late. In a lot of respects you lose a lot of functionality that WinMo 6.5 already provides. I don’t see how MS can make a real comeback in the phone arena. The smart phone future looks more and more like Apple (assuming Apple go to other carriers in the U.S.) and Android continuing to gain with Blackberry going into third place.

  • http://berendschotanus.com Berend Schotanus

    “…as media pundits would like them to be?”

    I like that kind of reference. It is pretty accurate. It allows you to be relatively neutral against Google accomplishments, while still fully expressing your feelings about what pundits are making of it.

    As to Google:
    Their biggest accomplishment today is that they are taking over mindshare that used to be Microsofts. No-one is talking about Microsoft anymore.

    As to Sony:
    I think it is sad that one of the greatest brands in technology is leaving the UI design to non-exclusive partnerships (with Windows, Palm OS, …) Don’t they see that user interface is an essential part of user experience and for that matter of the brand experience? Don’t they see that they need to incorporate that to survive as a brand?

  • John E

    “If users were really excited about browsing the web [on a TV] …”. well, the real problem with web browsing on a TV screen on every product to date has always been the UI. the standard cursor up/down/left/right approach simply is too crude for a web page compared to the computer screen mouse. plus the need to frequently zoom in/out to see smaller stuff – another toggle button. oh, and a keyboard sure helps. all efforts to solve this to date – like the Windows Media Center keyboard/trackball – have failed to attract consumers. and Google TV will have the same problem with its browser, and so the same limited appeal. this is all Sony et al know how to do.

    but otherwise social surfing with family/friends on a TV would be fun. “look at this!” “do you want to buy that?” (and big screen porn) etc.

    Apple solved this UI problem with the iPhone touchscreen. the trick would be to combine AppleTV with an iPhone/touch/iPad as the remote. not like the iPhone Remote app does now with its old-school cursor mode, but rather with the same touch gesture (and keyboard) controls the iPhone uses.

  • HCE


    > Well interestingly, the actual fact is that all of the world’s Android
    > vendors together now amount to slightly less share than Apple had a
    > year ago

    As per the Gartner report 1Q ’09 market share for Apple was 10.5 percent. Android’s share in 1Q ’10 is 9.6 percent. The first Android phones were released around a year and a half after the original iPhone – so it looks as though the two platforms have similar growth curves. Yes, Apple’s share was based on the iPhone alone and Android’s share is based on multiple handsets by multiple vendors. So what? That’s the nature of the Android platform.

    > My point is not that Google and Android have nothing good about
    > them, but that the perception that a Windows/PlayForSure monoculture
    > platform strategy is fated to win is simply not correct.

    Why should there be a single “winner” at all? This doesn’t have to end up like the PC market or the PMP market where one vendor dominates. It could remain the way it is right now – with 4-5 leaders plus a bunch of bit-players. I think both Apple as well as Google could be part of that “leaders” group for some time to come.

    – HCE

  • http://motorizedmount.com Alan

    As far as the TV, I think Netflix has been the clear winner here. You can use it on the Xbox, PS3, Wii, most any blu ray players, Roku, computers, and many other devices. And all for $8.99 a month. They even recently added HD streaming to many movies and shows for free.

    Apple’s model with iTunes is just far too expensive. Isn’t it like $1.99 for just one TV episode? Apple will need to either do a deal with Netflix to play on the Apple TV or offer something similar themselves. People really don’t want to buy a store movies and TV shows on their hard drive. They generally only want to watch them once. Unlike music where you want to listen to a song many times.

    I probably spend more time on my PS3 watching Netflix than I do for playing games or even watching DirecTV where I have to pay around $85 a month. I am almost to the point where I might even consider canceling DirecTV because I rarely use it anymore.

  • ChuckO

    @Alan 16, My thinking was $100-200 for the phone, $100 for voice and data assuming you are on either AT&T or Verizon. I don’t take t-mobile or Sprint seriously and that’s admittedly based on an assumption that they have dicey reliability and are more the choice of kids without money.

  • ChuckO

    @alan 21,
    “One more point to make, does anyone honestly believe that as slow as Apple likes to incrementally add features that without a viable competitor like Android, the pace of added features to both the iPhone OS and hardware has been dramatically sped up. Without Android, this next iPhone would probably just be the current 3GS version if that.”

    C’mon, that’s just flat out crazy.

  • ChuckO

    @Nick R 9,

    ” I think you are wrong about the Apple TV and YouTube. I know 4 Apple TV owners, and one of the #1 uses is browsing YouTube. It harkens back to your post awhile back about Lo-def being the new Hi-def. I realize just how little people care about pixelation and artifacts when they are being entertained. Watching YouTube videos at my parents house, in the family room, on a 50″ HDTV has become a new tradition over the past couple years.”

    I think you make an important point here that there’s a generational issue involved. I also think you make another important point in that it’s the parents TV. How many YouTube fans are going to pony up for a GoogleTV appliance to watch YouTube? How are you doing this now? I suspect few people want to pay extra for a TV with this built-in plus having this built in seems like a bad thing kind of like buying a TV with built-in dvd or blu-ray players.

  • http://motorizedmount.com Alan

    @ChuckO “I don’t take t-mobile or Sprint seriously and that’s admittedly based on an assumption that they have dicey reliability and are more the choice of kids without money.”

    Lol, wow that was a pretty ignorant and snarky comment. Actually I switched from AT&T to Sprint because I got tired of the dropped calls, an average of 5 a day. Sprint, at least where I live, has far better coverage. I even live in a 4G WiMax city and have pre-ordered the new EVO. I have zero dropped calls now, at least on my end. When I talk to my friends with an iPhone that happens a lot. (Local coverage should always be the deciding factor.) Their 3G map is also a lot bigger, second only to Verizon and far bigger than AT&T’s 3G map. So if paying a lot more money for inferior service makes you feels superior, enjoy being an “adult”. I can use that extra $840 in savings to buy an iPad for example.

    P.S. Sprint beat AT&T is customer satisfaction this year.

  • http://themacadvocate.com TheMacAdvocate

    I think a lot of the carrier sentiment boils down to where you’re located. I *hate* AT&T in the NYC/northern NJ area, but not enough to be saddled with an inferior handset.

    “P.S. Sprint beat AT&T is customer satisfaction this year.” – by a point. C’mon, dude: that’s not a talking point, it’s a rounding error.

  • ChuckO

    @Alan 29,
    “Lol, wow that was a pretty ignorant and snarky comment.”

    Actually it’s neither. It’s just the way I think of it.

  • beanie

    Daniel Eran Dilger commented:
    “world’s Android vendors together now amount to slightly less share than Apple had a year ago with just the iPhone 3G.”

    That was NPD 2010 Q1 numbers. At Google I/O, they said they were activating 100,000 Android phones a day now. Back in Q1, they said they were activating 60,000 Android phones a day. If you do the math, then Android is selling about 9 million a quarter. Apple sold a little less than 9 million last quarter.

    I noticed me.com traffic rank has been fading for the last couple of months. Any reason for this? Could it be Android?

    [You are imagining a mass exodus of me.com users to Android? Because that’s pretty weak sauce analysis you got there.

    There is no doubt Google is satiating the channel with Android phones. The question is whether that will result in a strong user base of software buyers who don’t churn (verizon’s churn rate is going up) and whether this is sustainable. And whether MS and HP will offer any competition. We know Apple will. But enjoy inventing numbers while Apple prepares for its next launch (which last occurred a year ago, before there were any serious Android phones on the market!- Dan ]

  • drheywood

    Google: Self-important engineers boldly going wherever makes them feel good about themselves, and then offering whatever they find for free.

  • tino.klumpen

    I question why Apple rules. What hardware and software empowers their iTunes Store? or Mobile Me. Tell me. ‘Cause this really is more interesting than any other knowledge about Google CEO’s, I/O’s or GTV’s. Tight hw/sw integration. We were never told what powertools Apple uses…

    [iTunes is now a WebKit-based, thick client app that ties into a WebObjects backend likely built using big Solaris boxes. MobileMe uses a SproutCore web app client, and thick client apps for Mac and iPhone, that tie into WebObjects services, custom apps, and standard big Sun JSM mail servers.

    It’s not really important what it uses, but rather that it works. iTunes is powerful enough to deliver billions of downloads with very high availability to lots of thousands of accounts. MobileMe is just good enough to deliver push messaging and basic web apps (although they could use some work). The vast majority of Apple’s revenues come from Mac/iPhone OS hardware however, not from iTunes/MM, which are really just there to ad value to Apple’s core products.

    In a way, its like how Maps, Gmail, Docs and all the other visible Google products are only there to provide new places for Google to put its ads. Google makes all of its money from ads, not those things you see and use. – Dan]

  • luisd

    @beanie 32 and in general those tooting Androids activation numbers.

    Google’s business model is selling adds and harvesting personal information. For that they need a massive customer base. That is why they give the OS for free and have managed very successfully to convince the handset manufacturers to almost give them away. Carriers are pushing them 2 for 1, etc… Whatever the maths for how the carriers or manufacturers may or may not make money out of the deal, it is Google who is pressing the OS in as many users as possible.

    It will only start making money out of android when all those people and many more start clicking on the ads.

    The problem I see, IMHO, is that if it keeps pushing this hard it is going to squeeze out any margins left to the manufacturers in the race to the bottom. It is the PC/Netbook race all over again. Is it sustainable?

    The winners will be those manufacturers than somehow manage to stay out of the race and have alternatives… Nokia, RIM, HP/Palm? I don’t know which ones. Those pundits who say that it is windows 95 all over again, may be right. But it is all happening in fast motion, it took MS 12 years to reach the race to the bottom bottleneck… Google may manag to reach it in less than 2 years. How long before google and its manufacturing partners hit the bottom end of the race and are left with meagre margins?

    Just my 2 cents

  • ChuckO

    @luisd 35,
    All good points. I don’t think Android can keep growing like they are, the way they are. There are too many examples of where the race to the bottom get’s you (MS Windows, American car companies) for this to work in the long run. Apple business discipline is the way to go. Get people to buy or you don’t need them. This whole thing of figuring out the profit generator later is for chumps.

  • John E

    exactly. selling smartphones for $25 each up front (plus that ever-present 2 year contract) is going to squeeze everyone but Apple (and RIM?) in a race to the bottom-priced commodity product market. Google trash talks Apple, but is really killing MS and Nokia. Apple of course is selling you a whole ecosystem and so has a solid hardware market segment to itself. 25% of anything that big is huge.

  • http://jakehamby.blogspot.com/ jhamby

    @gus2000 “My prediction for the most popular Android Marketplace 2.2 download: “Tap2Flash”.

    Fortunately, no need for that app. In the Froyo browser app, tap Menu -> More -> Settings, select “Enable plug-ins”, then choose “On demand” for Click2Flash style behavior, or “Off” to disable Flash completely, for the full iExperience (sorry, couldn’t resist).

    Disclaimer: I joined the Android team at Google a few months ago, and I’ve been following Dan’s blog since I discovered it (from a Google search on WinCE) around the time that my then-employer Danger (perhaps you’ve heard of them) was acquired by Microsoft (which totally sucked). I finally got around to blogging about my experience and thoughts on the Kin fiasco (I’m waiting for Dan’s inevitable post on that failure and their inevitable future failures), so if you’re interested in reading one “insider’s” thoughts, check it out. (http://jakehamby.blogspot.com/2010/05/halloween-xii-reckoning.html)

    Anyway, very interesting post and comments. I think you have a fair point about the Google I/O keynote presenters coming off as a bit cocky and arrogant on YouTube, but in their defense, they were presenting to a rabid crowd of 5000 Android/Google developers, so I’m guessing that it played quite well to the attendees. Perhaps they were unconsciously copying a bit of Apple’s famously smug presentation style?

    Personally, I find a little cockiness endearing, if the presenter can back it up with the goods, but it seems that if the listener is anti-Apple, or anti-Android in this case, then they just interpret the attitude as smugness, and turn off completely. Perhaps that’s why the Mac vs. PC ads are ending. They’ve served their purpose and now they’re probably doing more harm than good. The fans are already sold on the product, now it’s time to win over the undecideds.

    2010 is shaping up to be a very interesting year, regardless of which team(s) you’re rooting for. The competition is definitely keeping everyone on their toes. As I wrote on my blog, the brain damage of Microsoft in the consumer space has for the most part been completely neutralized (after 10 years of holding the industry hostage to the utter black hole of stupidity that is Windows CE), and that is something we can all be grateful for!

  • uthne

    “Google’s first example of “leapfrogging” Apple (in the words of Gizmodo) comes from saddling its fast new Android mobile browser with a Flash plugin that makes Apple’s year old iPhone 3GS faster overall than the brand new Nexus One”

    — Steve Jobs public letter with his thoughts on Flash was probably not just his personal views. Of course Apple have been testing Mobile Flash on the iPhone. They probably have had Flash running in the labs since iPhone 1.0.
    When Jobs state that Flash is a resource-hog and a batterydrain, it is as a result of testing… not just his opinion.

  • uthne

    Here is one early adopter of Android 2.2 aka Froyo, and his comments on how Flash works on the phone:

  • http://www.ericperlberg.com Eric in London

    Regarding GoogleTV I keep wondering; For as long as I can remember people have been looking for ways to avoid looking at advertising on TV so why does Google think that large numbers of people using GoogleTV would suddenly add to their advertising revenue? That implies that somehow in the middle of some NBA game or movie I’m going to think, woa, and ad for toothpaste… cool, and click on it, be taken away from what they’re watching and be presented with an advert of indeterminable quality or length. What am I missing?

    When looking at the smartphone market which will gobble up most of the mobile phone market in the next few years, there are going to be several players each with their own walled garden including RIM, Samsung (BADA), Windows Phone 7, iPhone, Nokia/Symbian and HP/WebOS (and possibly others as Android becomes a commodity and forces manufacturers to differentiate through tack on UIs like Sence or move to alternative OSs like Azingo). If Google launched Android to save the world from one man, one company, one phone, then they’ve already succeeded, or indeed needn’t have bothered. But if Google thought they’d keep the mobile space open with Android, and by open here I mean open to Google advertising, then they may truely wind up with far less than they hoped for. If they can maintain 30% of the ultimate smartphone market for Android they’ll have lost 70% to walled garden apps where the OS maker can skim off some revenue and IMO leaving Google the dregs.

  • ChuckO

    Most of the internet “TV” options (like GoogleTV) are heralded by the blogosphere for one simple and flawed reason: They see them to be a cheap or free way to get cable style TV. We’ll be waiting a very long time for this to happen and even if it did the cable companies would just hike your broadband bill through the roof to make up what they are losing on lost cable subscriptions.

  • SkyTree

    Just had a friend show me “the first Android phone in Japan”, from NTT DoCoMo. He kept switching it on and off, because the battery life is so short. He said it has taken years off his life, if he gets frustrated with it one more time he will smash it and get an iPhone.

    That said, he could connect to some YouTube videos that I couldn’t on my iPhone, but the video quality was much worse than the iPhone would have been if it had worked ………..

    One of the problems he mentioned was “copy and paste”: you can’t, at least if an email includes a phone number you want to call. The only way that worked for him is to write the number down and then dial it ………

    This could be NTT DoCoMo’s fault for messing with the Android setup, just the same way they messed with Symbian on my previous Moto RAZR. But then, that’s part of what Apple did to make the iPhone successful, stop carriers messing with it to scrape a few yen from the users at the expense of the usability.

  • Mark Hernandez

    Okay, so everyone has laid out pretty clearly the differences between the platforms, but there’s still a huge education problem ahead.

    So many people, including tech people and pundits, are still locked into the old-style thinking that Android handsets > Apple handsets = Success.

    At the very least, we have to make people realize that Apple is not like any other company, and keep the focus on how one can’t compare the two on the same terms.

    User Experience
    User Experience
    User Experience

    And Apple makes their own integrated software AND hardware and does not have to have more than the other guy to be very successful. However, the Android players must play the quantity game into order for it to be profitable and sustainable.

    Case in point, just now I saw a headline that points to Android handsets > Apple Handsets in China, for example, as though that was meaningful in the way it would suggest. People probably wouldn’t read the article, even if the article were actually to point out what is really meaningful.

  • Mark Hernandez

    Here’s something else I/we don’t hear about…

    Apple doesn’t like to quote hardware specs as we all know. It just leaves it to people to notice that the iPad experience is really zippy, for example.

    But I’ve been waiting to hear someone point out that BECAUSE Apple does both the hardware and the software, their 1GHz A4 chip may not perform like the 1 GHz Snapdragon, for example.

    Because Apple designs the processor, there may be amazing instruction set optimizations for executing Cocoa Touch, OpenGL, etc, not to mention utilizing Grand Central Dispatch and OpenCL technologies that certainly must be involved at this point. Is the Snapdragon processor or any other optimized for executing the Android environment?

    We know from WWDC09’s colliding galaxies demo Apple’s software technologies can surpass 1 TeraFLOP of performance under your desk.

    I would LOVE to know more about this!

  • tundraboy

    Apple will never be a dominant market share player in smart phones. Why? Because they’re not aiming for it. If they were, they’d have an iPod-like spectrum of smart phones to blanket the market from top to bottom. Instead, they’re gunning for the profitable premium end and will leave Android & WinPho7 (somehow I have a sudden craving for Vietnamese noodle soup) handset makers to duke it out on razor-thin margins. Basically the Mac strategy.

  • mike lee

    Google is comparing Apple to 1984 but they are refusing to hand over the wifi data they collected in Germany to the authorities.
    Who is the big brother now? They are in a heap of trouble in every country.

  • fazillatheef

    I don’t understand the article completely. Google said many things during the I/O conference which I think were correct.
    The main points I saw in the above comments were the following :-

    1. Google is controlling and trying to steal all our information for their business and may even have ties with government
    Ans) Firstly they didn’t force you to use their service. They didn’t ask you to give your correct name, address .. If you want to do something , make a fake id with fake info. Or better use other services that you think will protect your privacy. I believe there are many who are just trying to educate people that we can’t allow one person to handle all our data. And that’s the reason their are many services out there. Hotmail,Yahoo, Rediff are other email services that you could use. Google gives you Orkut , but you can use many or even better social networking services like Facebook. Everyone should be educated that the internet is not governed by a big visible organization like Google. There is always choice.

    [Sure there are options to Google’s services. But there are no real options for Google’s Rank and links. If Google wants you to disappear, they just erase your PageRank and nobody knows you’re there anymore. This is the basis of a suit where a shopping site suddenly dropped in rank after Google entered the same market. Google acts as a government over search results, just as Microsoft acts as a government over the PC.]

    2.Android OS is better than the iPhone OS(Mac OSX mobile OS) OR
    the iPhone OS(Mac OSX mobile OS) is better than android OS
    Ans) I don’t look at the looks of the OS. But it does matter to a normal user. What Google aimed for when they started the project was to create a good OS for mobile devices. So that they can have everyone to use internet through mobile phones. And they can have more of your data(your location,your contacts,etc..) for improving their search service. And I believe they have done a great job. Now many here told that the iPhone OS is tailored to the phone so closely that the applications run in the most optimized way. But let me correct one thing. I believe currently the best mobile OS that runs so close to the hardware is the Symbian OS. In fact just imagine Symbian OS running with a Gigahertz processor and 512 MB of ram. And we all know that its not the performance that makes a platform the best. The best solution will always be the one that’s perfectly balanced. And I believe that’s what Google has done for their platform. Just imagine what would happen if every Chinese mobile with Android OS floods the market in Asia. And I predict that it will happen in next 2 years. Maybe sooner. And in that case Google clearly achieved what it targeted.

    [Google really isn’t concerned with making a good OS experience; it is very clearly only interested in being acceptable as a medium for delivering ads to mobile users. Yes, Google is working to infect Chinese knockoff hardware with its viral monoculture platform. Linux served the same purpose and became big in China on Motorola’s phones, but that didn’t profit Motorola nor deliver a real challenge to phones in the West. Look it up.]

    3.Flash support is not needed for the mobile platform
    Ans) Who is Apple to say that. If you look into the many apps in the Apple app store. There are many apps that simply present data. Which can be done easily by using a web page by anyone. Now its up to to the developer to choose what kind of application they need to use to develop. And its up to the user to choose what application to use. This is what a completely open architecture should be. Now Google supported flash even though its completely proprietary. But if users don’t want it, they can simply ignore flash and eventually flash will either improve or die(ignored). No one is compelling you to use Flash on mobile. Its just available as a choice. What apple is trying to do, is total control what the users should use and what the developers should develop. This is convenient for all those Apple (ignorant or dumb or rich) fans. Now Apple decides what you need so that you don’t waste time choosing. And you are ready to swallow anything they give you. And that’s what apple taught their dumb followers as the concept of open. And they swallowed it too. As once Linus Torvalds said about gnome applies here too. He said “If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it”. And its so true. Apple supports trusted computing. And I am totally against it.

    [You seem to think Apple outlawed Flash. What Apple did is stop waiting for Adobe to deliver it for mobiles and embark on an alternative strategy that didn’t require waiting on or investing in Adobe’s proprietary platform. Flash is not currently shipping on any smartphones, and the few Linux/Windows devices that it does work on are not popular or gaining any share. Apple’s marketing talk about Flash is an explanation of why they think it’s not important enough to chase after, not some conspiracy to stop Flash. Adobe killed Flash itself. No amount of weeping or assailing “Apple’s lack of freedom!!!” changes that fact. ]

    4.Apple App store VS Google Market
    Ans) One point is enough to explain the openness of the android platform. In the android market, Google has put an option to return the purchase within 24 hours if you don’t like it. This makes the market very transparent. And this is how the market should be.

    [It makes the market very unattractive to developers, who already have to work harder to target even a third of the Android installed base. That’s why the “50k” apps for Android are all crap, while a large percentage of the iPhone’s apps are significant and worthwhile. Even the most Android-happy Apple critics are candid about the fact that Android apps are a pale comparison to their iPhone counterparts. More developers are motivated by money and audience than by ideological fanaticism. Android developers are ideologues and hobbyists.]

    5. Google is just copying apple
    I don’t have to mention what apple copied from Nokia and others. But what that really matters is what’s it gives for the users.

    [What did Apple copy from Nokia? Yes, if you want to make a point, you do “have to mention” what those facts are. Copying concepts is fine. Android is hobbled by not being able to copy a number of Apple patents.]

    6. Fragmentation
    This is something that Google didn’t anticipate. But the android OS has even been ported to the apple hardware. That’s an achievement. People need the Android OS everywhere. And all the devices that people like to use will exist in the market, that means less profit for others. And don’t forget what Google wanted in the first place. They wanted everyone on the Internet on their mobile devices. And it seems that’s happening very fast. Apple’s weakness has always been their problem to identify friends and enemies.

    [Nobody is going to use Android on their iPhone. It’s a funny novelty and exercise, but that’s it. There’s nothing wrong with Android existing, and in many ways its just another Linux distro with Google’s own VM on it. Linux was already popular on a variety of embedded devices, and the standardization of Linux under Android is somewhat of a benefit. But to suggest this openness is always a good thing is just ideological wishful thinking. Linux hasn’t created very many good products because it’s a lowest common denominator OS used by people making cheap products. That’s fine for some products (routers and set top boxes and whatever) but isn’t very attractive on mobile devices where you want a sophisticated experience that just works. Which is why Android hasn’t made much progress outside of the US where 3/4 of providers can’t sell the iPhone. – Dan ]

  • brew57

    Despite the “beating” Android took in this article, Andoroid devices seem to have just passed iPhone in sales…

    Would Apple have to settle for second place?