From Monkey Bites:
We’ve talked before about what Android might have that the iPhone won’t. Since Android has become a (semi) reality, let’s flip the script for a moment and take a look at what the iPhone has now which Android may be missing.
- Celebrity Skin — The iPhone is this summer’s, and likely this winter’s, top selling knick-knack. It’s the go-to gift if you’re looking for something special, and early gadget adopters were on it like a seagull on Fabio. The phone’s appeal rivals that of The Hills’ Lauren Conrad or High School Musical’s Hannah Montana’s Miley Cyrus. Sure, they look neat enough, but what do they do to get the fan attention they get? It’s a certain pink ribbon-packaged “je ne sais quoi,” I suppose. Fans, internet junkies and gadget hounds have been lining up outside of Apple stores for weeks and have all signed their name on AT&T’s dotted line, which leads us to our second list item.
- Contracts — Millions of them, in fact. In America, they’re two-year slammers which cost about $175 to break out of, courtesy of AT&T. Who’s left wanting a phone in the mobile marketplace? At best, Google will be competing for the slackers who don’t really care much about mobile phone technology and those who will end their existing contracts in the next couple years — depending on when the luster wears off on the iPhone. If lucky, its software will compete with RIM’s Blackberry for corporate contracts. However, it is unlikely for corporation’s IT departments to trust Android’s open operating system instead of RIM’s tried and true software. The SDK doesn’t even have a dedicated email program.
- A Stable SDK — Concerns about its non disclosure agreement aside, the iPhone SDK is smooth and polished. It has a nifty iPhone emulator, great hardware support and it works cleanly with Apple’s existing development tools (like XCode). You have to hand it to Apple here — it has a great track record of enabling developers to code by packaging its devices with up-to-date development environments and thorough documentation. The new Android SDK deserves some scrutiny, but compare Apple’s SDK to Android’s last out of date SDK and its skimpy documentation? Fuhgeddaboutit.
- Profitable App Store — Software developers can make money easily on the iPhone. Draw up a gadget nobody’s thought of, get it through Apple’s strict reviewing process, get featured on the App Store front page and you might earn $50,000 in your first month on the store. Write up an application for Android and you’ll be lucky to get any exposure at all, let alone figure out how to get paid for it.
- Bold Experimentation — We now know the HTC Dream will work with Android, but we’re also promised Android can be ported to any smartphone device. It means hardware developers need to write drivers for their devices, and without a decent headstart, we’re looking at another year or so of gradual adoption across other devices. Conversely, we know what we’re going to get with the iPhone. Apple’s hardware features have enabled plenty of accelerometer, internet, GPS and touch screen ideas which have pushed software development further. Who knew you could use your phone as a level, a cowbell or a tuning fork?
- Developers — Apple has a SDK, developer support and profitable App store, all of which have enabled it to attract a gaggle of developers. Meanwhile, without any new software, development or hardware support, many Android developers have jumped ship. Who knows if the newest SDK will draw them back? From a phone buyer’s perspective, less developers mean less applications, less functionality and more reasons to buy an iPhone instead.
Edited by stins - Wed, 20 Aug 2008 19:58:57 GMT