"It's not about pretty icons, Apple fanboys, and its not about business use, Windows Mobile Nerds: its about giving people the true tools to build whatever they want without lame App Store limitations and OS handcuffs.
"It's about giving phone makers shackled to Symbian and Microsoft's phone OS the chance to build with something different and better and free. And who's going to complain about that?"
That's what John Maloney at Gizmodo thinks ("Why Android Will Soon Kick Ass"), but I don't entirely agree.
I develop for the iPhone, but I'll also develop Android applications and I think pretty icons really do matter, and so do business uses. That's why most people use Windows or Mac OS X as their desktop operating systems, and not Linux.
The first generation iPhone sold pretty well, but was only after the debut of tools like push email that sales of the iPhone 3G soared - the device became relevant to the business world.
But the most important concern for users is consistency - of user interface, of operation - mainly in how the device works for them. Consistency is far more important than the ability to change everything.
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For example, there are several alternatives to Internet Explorer on Windows, but the majority of users will never change the default. That's because they are comfortable with consistency - in this case the same browser is on all Windows machines.
In Japan, the i-mode wireless internet service became extremely popular, not because it was that much better, but because it was consistent across multiple devices, even to the extent of having a special i-mode button on the phone to access services. A consistent, familiar experience, made the product popular.
Another Apple benefit that Google's Android doesn't have is complete control of the hardware. Several Android features are noted as "hardware dependent". And with complete control of the hardware, Apple can push out complete upgrades to every user simultaneously, whenever they want or need to.
Android will out of necessity have a more limited upgrade cycle to allow the phone manufacturers to implement and test new code; manufacturers who also have other non-Android phones to deal with as well.
On the negative side though, Apple certainly suffers from control issues, but Google is not entirely innocent either when it comes to that. Apple could go a long way toward more openness and relations with developers, and they should. Google - a company of developers - clearly wins that round.
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Android has some things that the iPhone doesn't - the most obvious being the ability to run applications in parallel. It can be a pain on the iPhone when switching apps to have to start again when you switch back to the first one, but this hasn't yet caused me too much consternation.
And a geek like me might replace something like the phone application, but I doubt that will benefit the majority of users.
Similar comments were made when Java was introduced; write-once-run-anywhere software that would allow the development of completely open software.
But Java has yet to change the world. Android will certainly impress the technophiles, but when it comes to both the business and consumer audiences, I think iPhone still will win over most users.
Larry Borsato blogs for The Industry Standard