What are Your Thoughts on Google Android?

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A few months ago, I talked about how you can download the Google Android emulator. I played around with it a little bit, and it was interesting. I’m not sure if it’s something I’d want to run on a mobile device. David wrote in to tell me why he likes Android.

  • To use a baseball analogy, when Apple comes out with a product, they try to hit homeruns, but Google’s Android strategy is swinging for base hits. One good thing about the strategy is that over the next 2 years Google has many similar small announcements, it will become a greater threat to the iPhone.
  • One feature that may help differentiate the new G1 Handset from the iPhone out of the gates is its physical QWERTY keyboard. According to Garner, iPhone adoption has been “slightly hampered” by the reluctance of some consumers to adapt to a touchscreen keyboard.
  • Another key element that may work to Google’s favor exists in its ‘open’ approach to the Android operating system, which means developers can modify the operating system and develop third-party applications on the platform for free. The open nature of the software also means that Android can be quickly modified to run on many devices from the broad majority of mobile carriers.
  • In contrast, Apple has chosen a closed iPhone platform where developers cannot modify or enhance the operating system, and third-party developers must pay a nominal fee to belong to a developer group and submit applications to Apple for approval on the App Store. The iPhone OS will also only run on Apple-branded devices. However, the ecosystem which apple has created with apps and the apps store is nothing compared to what google may offer.
  • The key differences are that the Amazon store offers 100 percent unprotected DRM-free tracks, whereas the iTunes store only offers unprotected tracks from one of the major record labels, EMI. There’s still a catch, however, in that iPhone users can easily plug a pair of headphones into there handset to listen to purchased music, whereas G1 users will be unable to do the same without a USB adapter, given the HTC-developed handset lacks a traditional headphone jack.

As I said, my experience has been limited. I haven’t had my hands on an Android device. Yes, it’s open-source. But there’s nothing really revolutionary about it. I may have had issues with my iPhone… but I’m happy with it.

What are your thoughts on Google Android?


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10 thoughts on “What are Your Thoughts on Google Android?”

  1. Google sells to business an online advertising system.
    Now Google has to sell a development platform other vendors need to adapt.
    Why would the leaders in mobile phones (Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, SonyEricsson) bet on the technology of a new kid on the block? They are not going to give away their market domination.

    Selling the G1 phone: there is a big difference in selling an online web service to businesses and selling hardware in retail stores. A company needs to convince people to trust your product. That will require branding and marketing.

  2. It will be just like the windoze experience, poor. Why? Because everyone and his Uncle Buck will be making “junk” phones and apps for it. People are getting sick and tired of toasters (PC’s) that happen to run windoze, and are now upgrading to superior products such as Apple. The same effect will happen to Android. Once people see the cheap knock-off phones it runs on they will buy the iPhone instead.

  3. It seems that you are missing the point. You are only looking at it from the standpoint of the consumer.

    Speaking as a developer, the introduction of a totally open source operating system is very key to the adoption of the phone. With each group of vendors having a separate proprietary system, developing and delivering new apps for all of them takes a tremendous amount of ramp up time just to get your head around the operating system. With a totally open source system, you still have the ramp up time to learn the operating system, but once that is accomplished you can deploy on any vendor’s phone that runs the operating system.

    Granted, Google Android could take the road that Linux has taken. It has been a long road for Linux, although It is a quality operating system. The one thing that I believe has stymied Linux adoption is the plethora of devices and cards that do not have drivers for use in a Linux system. With a phone, however, there will not be that many issues since the phone itself contains all (or most) of the functionality.

    I believe that the first phones that come out will be the deal makers or breakers. If the phone operates at the speed of the emulator that comes with the Android SDK, then the phone will fail. If the first phones are snappy and responsive then I believe that Google could pull this off due to a grass roots effort by hobbyists who love to tinker and would like to “kick the tires”.

  4. It’s all about how much developers are taken care of. Google has provided the perfect way for developers to quicksy create COOL stuff that immediately works. You don’t pay google anything, you don’t have to run through all sorts of legal hoops in order for your app to work. It just does, and it’s a HELL of a lot easier to fix problems.

    Chris was having problems with his iPhone because a certain app totally screwed everything up and caused reboots. Apple provides NO way to see clearly what’s going on wrong on the phone for users to solve on their own. Android has a little bit more flexibility as far as this, since it will kill apps that are behaving badly.

    Maybe a better example might be that on an iPhone, you get the user interface level and that’s it. There’s nothing wrong with this, since it adds simplicity. Android, though, is allowing the user to access the entire OS, and if there’s something wrong, the user can identify the problem. This is different from the iPhone model where you have to wait for Apple to first recognize the problem, and then figure out a way in which to fix all the phones affected.

    Anyway, as a develpor, I’m glad the Android platform is here. I love working in it, and it’s free. How much better can it get?

    I think the real proof will be when the same apps on the iPhone show up on Android for free. (Not saying that all developers will give their apps away for free, but I certainly will)

  5. The Google Phone in my opinion will bring a sense of community to the wireless industry as it’s on an open source platform. The Iphone in my opinion is to closed and strict, potentially preventing new and interesting ideas from being allowed into the Phone. Android on the other hand is the complete opposite. OK it may not be the prettiest of all phones but it still gives the user more freedom in what the may want and may not want to do with the phone.

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