By >Akihabara News Team
Androids Pumping Up!
It’s been an eventful couple of weeks. Windows 7 got released and Apple, as usual came, up with silly Windows bashing commercials that are getting old fast. Worldwide Apple revised their product lineup with new improved MacBooks and a new 27” iMac. In North America Barnes & Noble announced “Nook”, their Kindle killer, featuring a gorgeous dual display with a 16 color e-ink as the primarily display and a full color 3.5” toushcreen LCD on the bottom. It comes with a more reasonable price plan than offered in the past.
Now lets talk about Androids. If you’ve been following the news lately you may have seen an important Android announcement published around the Web. Despite having the full backing of a gigantic company like Google, Android has seen relatively mundane progress in terms of software releases and hardware adoption until now, with the iPhone alone leading the way.
Android devices have popped-up here and there and a couple succeeded in making some buzz. Nothing outstanding like the “Jesus” phone until recently when Google CEO Eric Schmidt commented, and I quote, “Android adoption is about to explode.” While it’s not surprising for a CEO to make startling comments about their products, when someone like Eric Schmidt makes a claim like this I usually take it seriously. It seems he wasn’t just kidding around.
Things are kicking-up pretty fast with the announcement of Motorola’s “Droid”, the latest Android phone to be released by Verizon (some report Droid isn’t a single phone but a whole lineup). Reliable tech sites that got some quality time with Droid, or “Sholes”, proclaim it’s the best Android phone yet. Pretty heavy claims that we can only hope are true. Strong from these statements Verizon went so far as to make an “iDont” commercial showing everything iPhone doesn’t do that the new and more powerful Droid does flawlessly.
So far so good for Google and all Android fans. After all, there’s nothing better than competition to improve things, and what a better statement for Steve Jobs who needed some comfort in Apple’s early claim that all other Smartphones are still catching-up with their 1st generation iPhone. But hey Steve, go to sleep. Android 2.0 is here and alive!
Let me throw in my two cents here. Apple’s iPhone caused a paradigm shift in Smartphone usage, and so far the Jesus phone is quite unstoppable. Not only because of its unique user experience, but also thanks to its huge database of music. iTunes is the USA’s largest online music seller. Apple also provides a huge software database over 85000 apps strong that’s generated nearly 2 billion downloads to date.
Apple created what many in the Windows Mobile world tried for years and failed until today, possibly… Being the first company to provide a huge amount of software and being a real success at the same time is just mind blowing.
With such strong competitor Google has quite a challenge ahead. To make sure that things go in the right direction Google has no choice to be extremely involved in future development. It’s been reported that Google had a direct influence on Droid design, important and good as far as I’m concerned. It’s excellent news for Motorola too, who needs someone who knows what they’re talking about and aim big in the Smarphone world. So far having the coolest OS is only half the equation and Google really need to up their App Store. Like it or not, the Android market store is quite disappointing.
Like the iPhone targeting a wider variety of new Smartphone customers, the OS it runs doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Smartphone access to the largest music and application library is something that will help them make-up their minds.
This is where Google must concentrate their efforts. Developers follow the money and targeting the largest audience is the easiest to turn hours of coding into profit. Google is yet to have anything like an iTunes store, Apple’s core business sells iPhones, but here again things may soon change… According to rumors on the Internet, Google made a huge move a couple of days ago in this direction, having a huge impact on how Androids will be marketed in the future. By offering a more robust and complete OS, with a real app and music store, Google is shaping their future as a real iPhone competitor. Just what we need.
Being an Internet leader and reaching more customers than Apple, Google gives developers, recording companies and movie makers access to a huge number of customers ready to invest in their next mobile device.
A single device may not change the game in Android’s favor despite Apple succeeding with virtually only two models. Google via their Android OS will be offered with a bit more than of 50 models coming from the biggest makers available on the market. From HTC, to Samsung, LG, Motorola and many more.
No, I really don’t think a single device, like say the Drioid, will kill the iPhone in a year. I don’t think now there’s a possible challenger, but thanks to an improved OS devices currently on the market, and the unknown and yet unleashed force of the open-source world, Android has a bright future ahead, but it will take time.
“Maduranga Liyanage is a PhD student at Keio university. A technology enthusiast and a wireless follower.”