Thursday, October 2, 2008

Android, iPhone... now what?

Now that Android is out (and it even has Copy-paste although no standard headphone socket) how will this affect buyers when the time comes to choose their next smartphone?

Usually, people buying this kind of devices know exactly what they're buying - but there are also those who just want to "show off" and buy whatever the seller pushes them.

Because, let's face it - how many people out there now what an Android" is?
Most likely people would give that "is this guy nuts?" look.

In that sense the iPhone has a broader public "status" with more people knowing what it is - or at least having heard about it as the "touchy" phone you swipe your fingers over.

Maybe advertising it as "Google Phone" will be better - at least it will be instantly recognized for anyone using the internet.

On the other hand, is quite funny to see how volatile the "internet" opinion is:

While some constantly whine about Apple's "censorship" policy that keeps Apps out of their App Store as they see fit, others complain about the "openness" of Android's Market, where everything made by anyone will be available.

So, let's get it straight: what the heck do you want?

Regarding these device's user interface...

Although I have never been a Mac user, I always heard about Apple's attention to detail.

Thing like the subtle "fade-in/fade-out" transitions on the iPods, and even the completely unnecessary transition effect when you turn the airplane mode on/off on your iPhone, with the small plane zooming by and fading out.
As I said, that's completely unnecessary... but nice.
(Though there are lots of other more important "nice" things we should have and don't - like that "copy-paste" thing!)

For now, the Android user experience is nothing like iPhone's. It look like a bunch of programs quicly put together, each with its unique look, fonts, colors, etc.
I'm sure that - as things mature - it will certainly evolve into a much nicer looking and enjoyable experience, but that will take time and patience, until an "Android" look and feel is created.

I sincerely hope Google to be successful in this endeavor.
And I also hope Android might be the tipping point when it comes to DRM-free content.
You can buy DRM-free tunes from Amazon on Android, unlike iTunes Fairplay DRM.
And thankfully consumers are starting to take this DRM issue more seriously than ever (see all the complaints regarding EA's latest epic game: Spore) and even countries like Norway which are demanding iTunes to give up it's DRM so its music can be played in any MP3 player and not just iPhones.

And last but not least, for these devices to be successful there's something we can't forget about: mobile broadband internet access. Without suitable plans, affordable and a decent amount of data, none of these devices will ever take off.
For instance - here in Portugal, most iPhone plans still have a 250MB monthly limit - which is a bit short if you're always out of the office and relying on 3G internet access.
We also need integrated solutions so we don't have to pay several internet access bills: one for the smartphone, one for your laptop, one for your wired connection at home, etc.

Now that Google is starting to have it's own satellites, maybe it won't be that long until we can have free worldwide wireless broadband internet access...

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