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Android 2.0 — Competition Against the iPhone and the Rest 347

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-stop-the-commercials dept.
GMGruman writes "Every few months, it seems, there is a new 'iPhone killer.' Android 2.0, in the guise of the Motorola Droid, is the latest such 'killer.' But what will it really take to beat or match the iPhone (single page), and does Android or any other mobile OS have the right stuff? There's a lot more to the answer than is usually discussed. This article takes a look at the strengths that may allow Droid and Android 2.0 to provide strong competition to devices like the iPhone and the Blackberry, as well as the obstacles it continues to face that could inhibit adoption."
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Android 2.0 — Competition Against the iPhone and the Rest

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  • by Old97 (1341297) on Friday October 30, 2009 @10:13PM (#29931429)
    Really. There will always be some number of viable devices competing. Each will appeal to some group that values its strengths over what the others have to offer. The only way iPhone can fail is to lose to several competitors, not just one. The iPhone isn't the market leader now. So how can one phone or O/S kill the iPhone or anything else?
    • by pete6677 (681676) on Friday October 30, 2009 @10:42PM (#29931599)

      The biggest reason this will not be an iPod killer is that it is made by Motorola, a bloated bureaucratic mess of a company known for poor quality. The Razr was a disaster. How will they compete with more stylish Apple or more nimble LG?

      • by bored_engineer (951004) on Friday October 30, 2009 @11:22PM (#29931865)

        The Razr was a disaster.

        Really? The Razr is commonly touted as Motorola's last great success. I knew several people who bought, and were happy with, the Razr, including my wife. I considered one, but decided that I'd rather keep the LG that randomly stops working. (I'm not a big fan of ubiquitous communication.)

        To respond to your point more directly, Motorola are not competing by themselves. they're using a form factor that is proven (see Nokia devices for several examples.) Motorola are using an OS that has already seen modest success; an OS sharpened by a company (google) who strive for ubiquity. The Droid also has some components that the iPhone is missing.

        As long as their implementation is sound, I see no reason why Verizon, Motorola and Google shouldn't enjoy profits from the Droid. They are entering an established market; each is an experienced competitor; and there are lots of us who have been shut out of the iPhone market because we are Verizon customers. (I've heard complaints, but frankly, I've had nothing but positive experience with the company.) Further, Verizon seems to be marketing this harder than Motorola or Google. I have modest respect for Verizon, and find it difficult to believe that they would allow Motorola to sully their name.

        I believe that this phone will enjoy moderate success. It doesn't have the cachet of Apple, but it's entering a market with a good deal of potential. Besides, Motorola is getting hungry: They played a big part in defining the cell phone market, and they nearly died by failing to follow through with their earlier success. Motorola has lots to lose, and I think that they really want to get it right.

        All that aside, I figure that it's an open platform. If Motorola really gets it wrong, within 3 months, I'll be able to update it with a more friendly platform. I've already told my wife that she's getting one, and finally, after 7 years with the same phone, I intend to buy a new phone.

        Maybe you hate Motorola phones, but I'm really looking forward to the Droid. I hope that it lives up to my expectations.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by aliquis (678370)

          The Droid also has some components that the iPhone is missing.

          Let's just correct this, though I know it was in the news item to.

          It's not "The Droid", it's "Motorola Sholes". The Droid name seem to be something Verizon will put into the names of their Android phones. Also on the HTC Eres if that was the name of that phone.

          Also before it was released I was hoping for something special, atleast in the lines of HTCs Sense UI. But now it looks like it's a basic and standard Android 2.0 installation with nothing special in it (not necessary a bad thing.) So if we get some o

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Drathos (1092)

            It's a bit of inconsistency on the part of Verizon, I think. They're marketing this particular phone as the "Droid" or sometimes "Motorola Droid" while the other Android devices they've got coming (so far a pair of HTC devices is all I've heard about) are marketed as "Droid Eris" and "Droid Passion." Sholes was the internal code name that Motorola used for the Droid during development, but even they are calling it "Droid by Motorola" on their site.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          Man, that Razr V3 I got for free lasted me 3 years of rough handling, dropping in toilets, skipping across parking lots, the whole nine yards. It made great calls, and I could let it go a week without a charge and still make a call. Finally, the battery started only lasting a few hours, then a few minutes, but this is after three years of the worst possible treatment. And it still looked pretty good. I got the black finish and it was surprisingly sturdy.

          I wasn't thrilled about the way it looked when I f

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MoeDrippins (769977)

            +1 I'm with you there. I'm still using my Razr V3 after at least one complete dunking (while off, thank goodness) and it's still going strong.

            I haven't found batteries overly expensive though... In 3 years though, I've only replaced it once.

            That said, I'm still seriously considering a Droid.

      • by fullgandoo (1188759) on Friday October 30, 2009 @11:33PM (#29931919)
        I bought the original Razr when it just came into market. It was a great phone. Beautifully designed, sleek and stylish even by today's standards.

        Too bad Motorola had monkeys design the user interface and idiots write the software. Completely fucked up a superbly designed piece of hardware.
        • by davester666 (731373) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @01:40AM (#29932417) Journal

          Um, I believe the 'monkeys' you are referring to work for the major carriers in the US. Each of the carriers decided that the phone needed to be customized for their specific customers (maybe they've classified which kind of idiot signs up with them). This of course makes advertising the capabilities of the phone itself difficult (at least in the US) for Motorola, as the UI and even what features the phone had was totally different from carrier to carrier (other than, "You can dial a number on it").

          • by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @05:27AM (#29933051) Journal

            GP does get a key point: The software is key. Carriers (and freaking Verizon in particular) in the US simply refused to understand this. They build the network, while all the innovation is in the handsets and the software, but for some reason, US carriers seem to think they are the true innovators and handset providers are fluff. Now that Verizon has screwed up on handsets for three years straight, they finally realize that their strength is simply the network they build. Maybe they've been listening to their own adds. They're finally going to ship a modern phone, without screwing up the software first. Stupidity at Verizon may be going out of style.

            Anyway, as said before on slashdot, Android vs iPhone is just like Windows vs Mac all over again. With Verizon on board, Motorola building 20 new Android phones next year, and 50 Android sets in the works around the world, Android is set to finally deliver on it's promise of unifying the software across a broad spectrum of handsets. There wont be any single iPhone killer, just as no single PC was ever a Mac killer. However, I see nothing that can stop Android from becoming the world's dominant smart phone OS.

            The Motorola Droid isn't quite as exciting of a device as the Sony Xperia X10 [ghacks.net]. I suspect we'll keep seeing Android based "iPhone killers" plunk away until Adroid wins the race.

        • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @04:50AM (#29932927)

          I bought the original Razr when it just came into market. It was a great phone. Beautifully designed, sleek and stylish even by today's standards.

          I had one for a few years also. It was everything everyone claims Apple products are - style with little substance.

          As you noted, the software was ghastly. But frankly I had issues with the hardware alone as well.

          The buttons, were the worst I ever had on the phone as far as being easy to type. I was always missing numbers with those damn slanted keys with hardly any feedback as to where you were.

          But the worst sin, was making a flip phone with BUTTONS ON THE SIDE. This totally eliminated the advantage of the clamshell where you couldn't accidentally hit buttons. I hung up on people pulling the phone from my pocket and often slightly changed settings getting it out.

          It did feel good in the hand when talking or just holding it but like I said they had issues with both hardware and software.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by puto (533470)
        You mean the phone that sold 110 million units in its first for years? It was a great simple,slim phone, when it came out. You need to really hand it your geek card. Plus, there was a day when everything thing that was Motorola mean quality. Also they made the first phone with Itunes, that Apple designed and crippled. LG? You mean the revised the Gold Star that was known for crap electronics for years?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is especially true considering that the iPhone is essentially a single model with multiple revisions, whereas Android is an OS. The Android OS will almost certainly sell more than the iPhone device, but the ramifications aren't nearly as straightforward as comparing one device with more sales than another -- especially from a developer's perspective.

      • by Admiral Ag (829695) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @12:49AM (#29932227)

        I disagree.

        Both Android and the iPhone OS are ultraportable computing platforms. The iPhone isn't really a phone per se, but a mobile computing device with phone functionality. Apple will even sell you one sans phone if you want it.

        Successful competitors to the iPhone will be those that understand that the point is to make a better ultraportable computing platform, not necessarily a better phone. I think Google may be able to do that, but I don't think RIM can, and Microsoft's development team appears to be a circular firing squad.

        As usual, competition is only good for end users, so I hope Android does well.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by dangitman (862676)
      It means a psychopathic serial killer who has a fetish for sucking the ions directly from the heart of a still-functioning iPhone battery, and then has a TV cop drama made about him.
    • "iPhone killer" means that everyone sees the writing on the wall - namely Apple is poised to dominate the smart phone market (and possibly the handheld gaming market as well as the general mobile electronics market, GPS for example) like it currently dominates the mp3 player market. It hasn't happened yet and may not happen but everyone is betting that it will given current competition, hence the search for the "iPhone killer".

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by aliquis (678370)

        As an end user I don't really care that much whatever my product is dominating the market or not, in this case third party titles affect things but beyond that no.

        I guess I shouldn't go into the mp3 player market so I'll just leave it that there is plenty of alternatives which will be just as good or better as the iPod (except the touch maybe since that's more of a crippled iPhone which gives it multiple advantages not into the pmp-area.)

        Poorly executed and planned text-writing to follow:

        Anyway, _IF_ Apple

    • by InlawBiker (1124825) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @12:09AM (#29932071)
      Shhh! It gives journalists something to write about, and the headline is really catchy. Just shut up and consume.
  • by Desert Raven (52125) on Friday October 30, 2009 @10:20PM (#29931467)

    I don't think it will be an iPhone killer. At best, it will slow Apple's growth to a significant degree. However, with it's exchange integration, etc, it could take a measurable chunk from Blackberry.

    And, as a long-time Palm user, this will likely be the last nail in the coffin for Palm. I'd decided months ago that the replacement for my 700p was not likely to be another Palm, but nothing was really grabbing me. I was resigned to go to a crackberry. Now though, I may end up an early buyer of the Droid.

    My wife will almost certainly get one, since she was on the edge of buying a GPS device.

    • by lewko (195646)

      I'm a very long time Palm user, and I have been hanging for the Pre to replace my aging Treo 680.

      However, with the speculation that Australia is going to miss out in the near future, I'm tired waiting.

      Giving serious consideration to the iPhone and hoping I can learn to live without a keyboard.

      Would also be interested in Android, however the hardware choices are overwhelming (Motorola, HTC et al). At least with the Palm or Apple, you are only required to choose from one or two models.

      • hoping I can learn to live without a keyboard.

        I use an openmoko with an on screen keyboard. I don't miss a dedicated keyboard with moving parts. My sons ipod has the same keyboard as the iphone. I find it easy to use and he taps out emails like a pro.

      • by zullnero (833754)
        I've had a Pre since it was released. They're launching it in Canada, and it's supposed to be on other networks here in the US in the next few months. It's a damn good phone, does everything those Android phones do. Easier to program for, too. The hardware looks nicer.

        It's a shame though how many people who've never even given them a chance are already calling it dead. The OS on it, webOS, is an exceptionally nice mobile OS to use and develop for, once you wrap your head around the notion that it is
      • by beelsebob (529313)

        hoping I can learn to live without a keyboard.
        Go for it, my experience of iPhone keyboards is that you are as fast as joe with his blackberry for a week, and rather frustrated, and then suddenly you learn to trust it, and you tap out emails at an enormous rate compared to the hardware ones.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by masdog (794316)

      I don't know if Android would take that large of a chunk out of Blackberry's user base. It will probably draw away Pearl users and small-businesses, but Blackberry's core market (medium to large enterprises) will probably stay on that particular platform. Exchange integration is great (for the 95% of companies that use it), but as far as I am aware, on Blackberry with BES and WinMo w/ SCCM have true central management capabilities that enterprises want.

      As you put in your post, Android will probably have t

  • No Single Killer. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LurkerXXX (667952) on Friday October 30, 2009 @10:22PM (#29931481)

    I hope there's no single 'killer'. Diversity is a good thing, it gives choice and keeps competition driving things forward. It won't be too many years before pretty much all phones are smart phones, and there's a lot of room in the phone market for a lot of vendor's to exist and profit.

    So here's to hoping we see a nice market share for iPhones's OS, Android, Maemo, WebOS, and Windows Mobile.

    • Having four or five different OS's - iPhone, Android, Maemo, WinMobile etc mean the cost of application testing is to quadruple, and the cost development about the same too. Or application will be restricted to smaller part of the market. Big software developers can sustain multiplatform development more easily, but for small/independent developers that's a problem. One of the biggest strength of the iPhone app market is that there is only one current device and application have to be tested only for one d
    • I hope there's no single 'killer'. Diversity is a good thing

      I also hope there's no single killer. Instead, I hope they band together, muttering and sulking, then wait outside when iPhone walks out of the clob at 2 AM, then gang up on him, drag him into a dark alley and do unspeakable things to iPhone.

  • by CajunArson (465943) on Friday October 30, 2009 @10:23PM (#29931487) Journal

    It comes down to carriers, and Verizon Wireless does have excellent coverage. I'm on an expired contract so I could have jumped to AT&T without any penalties, but the Droid has got what I've always wanted: a phone that's open enough to let me hack for fun, while also polished enough that I don't have to hack it just to make the basics work.

  • is to market yourself as a 'iPhone killer'

    • by Homburg (213427)

      is to market yourself as a 'iPhone killer'

      Which is very specifically what they seem to be doing with the Droid [youtube.com]. A list of more-or-less random things that the iPhone doesn't do, with no real attempt to explain why you might want to do these things, or concrete vision of how the Droid might enhance your life in a way the iPhone doesn't.

      Admittedly, it's not as bad as T-Mobile's ad for the MyTouch 3G [youtube.com] (aka the HTC Magic), with its meaningless "100% you" slogan, which appears to add up to, erm, being able to change the wallpaper.

      Why does Apple seem to be

      • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Friday October 30, 2009 @11:14PM (#29931801)

        I think the Droid campaign has been brilliant so far, and has stirred up a lot of interest and buzz about the phone.

        As a Pre owner, I wish Palm had done something like that instead of using the strange scary-lady ads that didn't do anything for anyone.

        My bet is when the Droid is actually launched, you will see those ads showing what it can do that the iPhone can't and why it's cool.

        What has me puzzled is why Nokia hasn't got any commercials out for it's N900. It runs a Debian Linux variant, and runs full flash right now, and it's hardware is superior to the Droids in some ways. Why they aren't shouting about it from the rooftops, I don't know.

        • by tepples (727027)

          What has me puzzled is why Nokia hasn't got any commercials out for it's N900.

          No U.S. carrier partner is probably part of the reason. (That and the fact that U.S. carriers don't give a discount for bringing your own phone.) Or has that changed?

  • Horrible Article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlueBoxSW.com (745855) on Friday October 30, 2009 @10:41PM (#29931595) Homepage

    I hate to say it, but it just made no sense and backed up almost none of the opinions it presented.

    You can't kill the iphone by trying to copy it. You have to:

    1) Find a way to steal it's best customers in a way it can't keep up with.

    2) Wait for it to get big, fat, and lazy.

    Just copying the leader may get you investment dollars, but it won't get you market share.

    • by dbcad7 (771464)
      Yes I agree that the article was bad.. Your post was also "as bad", because you have twice in your post said "COPY".. which shows that you have no idea about Android, what it does, it's history, or how it compares.. To inform you a bit, may help you understand what is going on.. First, Android as a platform is taking off.. Where as there was a few months ago.. 1 phone, at 1 carrier, by 1 manufacturer.. there are now multiple carriers and multiple manufacturers.. Sprint has good offerings with affordable pla
    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @12:09AM (#29932067)
      And Android (not just Droid, or Verizon, but Android) is doing that. Right now the iPhone is tied into AT&T, if you are on T-Mobile, Sprint or Verizon you can't use the iPhone without some difficulty. Android will eventually be available no matter which phone company you prefer. Then there is the variety of hardware. Someone who doesn't like using a touchscreen for typing won't like the iPhone, yet the G1, Droid and other Android phones have physical keyboards and if you prefer an all touchscreen phone the Magic and Hero phones have that.

      The ability not to have to jump ship for the "latest and greatest" might be a huge feature of Android, especially if you are tied into a contract. While some phones will be carrier exclusive without a doubt, Android itself is cross-network. Android's power is not int he G1, Magic, Droid, Hero or any other phone but in the fact it can easily saturate the market better than any other platform currently offered. When even "dumb phones" can run the apps you have written for Android, it is going to reach more of the market than Apple's high-end exclusive offerings and make it easier than "jump through hoops to get it to run without using expensive data plans" problems that JavaME has.
  • This happened before, with Windows. Any platform that doesn't run the enormous legacy app base will have a hard time getting market share.

    The situation is now even worse- there is an entity which controls the hardware (AT&T, not Apple!), far different from the free-for-all PC ecosystem.

  • by RalphBNumbers (655475) on Friday October 30, 2009 @11:20PM (#29931847)

    One problem killing the iPhone, is that most of the iPhone's weaknesses are one policy change away from disappearing.

    Enough people want background apps? Well there they are.
    Enough people want customizable lock screens? Alright, that's easy enough.
    Enough people want shared file storage? There, done.
    Enough people want post-hoc approval of apps, like Android? No problem, it'll save Apple time and money to boot.
    Enough people want unsigned apps distributed outside the app store? Ok, here you go.
    Enough people want Flash, or other browser plugins? Fine, Adobe has been clamoring to put Flash on iPhone since it's inception.
    Enough people want root access? Fine, administration is their problem.

    Apple keeps those measures of control because they help to protect their platform's image from incompetent or unscrupulous coders, and their negative impact on most users is relatively minor. If that balance ever shifts, either due to more competent coders (supposedly Flash 10.1 is heavily optimized) or more demanding users (with friends whose phones do some or all of the above), the rules can change in an instant.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But by changing the rules they allow for the iPhone to become just another smartphone. That coupled with being on a single carrier isn't going to do much for their future.

    • by blanks (108019) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @05:53AM (#29933131) Homepage Journal
      "Apple keeps those measures of control because they help to protect their platform's image from incompetent or unscrupulous coders, and their negative impact on most users is relatively minor. If that balance ever shifts, either due to more competent coders (supposedly Flash 10.1 is heavily optimized) or more demanding users (with friends whose phones do some or all of the above), the rules can change in an instant"

      Ok thats a downirght B.S. excuese right there. The majority of the flash files people would be going after/ watching/using would be from youtube.com or google.com or myspace.com for video which last time I checked had some of the top people in the world dealing with compression, codexes and flash players in the world. Saying Apple is trying to keep bad ugly un-useful flash apps from their users is like saying Apple isn't trying to not lose money from forcing people to only buy videos from their itunes store.

      It has nothing to do with scary bad coders, it has everything to do with them keeping people from getting videos outside of what they control (itunes).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ShakaUVM (157947)

      One problem killing the iPhone, is that most of the iPhone's weaknesses are one policy change away from disappearing.

      Enough people want background apps? Well there they are.
      Enough people want customizable lock screens? Alright, that's easy enough.
      Enough people want shared file storage? There, done.
      Enough people want post-hoc approval of apps, like Android? No problem, it'll save Apple time and money to boot.
      Enough people want unsigned apps distributed outside the app store? Ok, here you go.
      Enough people wan

  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudsonNO@SPAMbarbara-hudson.com> on Friday October 30, 2009 @11:20PM (#29931849) Journal
    FTFA:

    And for most of the world, Nokia's Symbian is king

    Even Nokia is abandoning Symbian for maemo http://maemo.nokia.com/ [nokia.com]

    Maemo brings the power of computers to mobile devices. Designed with the internet at its core, Linux-based Maemo software takes us into a new era of mobile computing.

    Maemo is available on the Nokia N900 - a high-performance mobile computer with a powerful processor, large internal storage, and sharp touch-screen display.

  • There is no true competition in phones. If you want an iPhone you must go AT&T, if you want Android you currently will go T-Mobile, and so on.

    Once all phones are available on all networks, you will be able to have a valid feature comparison. Until then, choices will always be a combination of (how great the phone is) + (how much the carrier sucks).
    • There is no true competition in phones. If you want an iPhone you must go AT&T, if you want Android you currently will go T-Mobile, and so on.

      Seriously, stop being so damn myopic. Look around you and see all of the GSM carriers in other countries that are doing just fine with the iPhone and look at the happy iPhone users in the US not posting on the internet to complain about living in San Francisco on AT&T. The rest of the world gets it, SF sucks for AT&T service.

  • Every few months, it seems, there is a new 'iPhone killer.'

    Well, duh. Every new product generates hype, and to trend-conscious techies, the most obvious hype is that it's the "killer" of whatever product is already trendy. And, as you may have noticed, most new products these days are cell phones.

    But have you ever heard of the latest blivet killer actually killing off the blivet? You have not. Market shifts don't happen that way. This "killer" meme is content-free marketing noise.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday October 30, 2009 @11:51PM (#29931991)

    Why is the iPhone not dominant in the land they term "Asia"?

    Well actually it is.

    In Japan, the iPhone is now #1 in market share for smartphones.

    In China, they actually don't sell it at all (which is why they say it doesn't register in "Asia") but they will be shortly as they have partnered with a Chinese company to sell the iPhone. We know there is demand there as there have always been a lot of unlocked iPhones heading into China. And it has one of the better handheld input mechanism for chinese characters I have seen.

    • by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Saturday October 31, 2009 @05:44AM (#29933099) Homepage

      Why is the iPhone not dominant in the land they term "Asia"?

      In Japan, the iPhone is now #1 in market share for smartphones.

      In China, they actually don't sell it at all

      Don't you answer your own question? Japan isn't all of asia, it's a fucking small part of asia. And China probably sums up the situation in a large part of asia.

      The thing is that Apple support for other parts the the USA is kinda crappy. We in Europe got the iPhone waaay after the US to.

      It's not dominant there, doesn't matter why it's not, though yes, Apple probably got themselves to blame for the lack of success there. (The same goes for Europe, it has only been around for a short time here, if it had been around for as long as it has in the US it would have an even bigger market share.)

      Kinda everyone which are somewhat geeky/young/trendy around me seem to get the iPhone.

      And here in Örebro, Sweden, we don't have any fancy Apple stores, we don't have any retailers which actually "belong" to Apple and can help you out where Apple themselves might had put in some extra effort, heck a year or two ago we even didn't had a store which sold Apple computers.

      The Apple (buyer) experience is probably very different in the US compared to the rest of the world.

  • The G1 would have been more successful if it wasn't tied to T-Mobile.

    I knew a lot of people--non-techies by the way--that wanted it, but T-Mobile doesn't cover where we live.

    T-Mobile is great if you live in a major city (I think, I've never had them), but rather crappy if you don't.

  • by devjj (956776) * on Saturday October 31, 2009 @01:19AM (#29932349)
    MobileSafari uses Google for search results, and there are a lot of mobile searches being generated by iPhone users. Google is eroding marketshare everywhere else. If I'm Apple, I'm not scared of Google. If I'm any manufacturer representing another platform (Nokia, for example), I'm terrified.
  • As a hardware and OS platform the Droid is far more appealing than my current iPhone.

    But from what I've seen of the user experience so far, it's a no go. I've been spoiled on OS X on the desktop for years, and now on my phone. As much as I want to like the Droid and wish my iPhone had a slideout keyboard, I'm sticking with Apple for the time being.

    It's a testament to just how good Apple is at user interface design that Microsoft and Google with all their resources can't hold a candle to it.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday October 31, 2009 @02:31AM (#29932569) Homepage

    In the past, I have asserted that social popularity trumps technical superiority. Beta was superior to VHS and yet VHS won. Why? It was more popular... some would argue that it was more popular because porn was not allowed on Beta. Whatever the case, VHS was more popular and so it won.

    iPhone is ridiculously popular. I don't care to go into why it is popular, but I will say I don't fully understand it because I tend to measure things by a different set of metrics than non-nerds. Whatever the cause of its popularity, iPhone will not be toppled as "king" of whatever market it rules with attack/smear ads and it won't be toppled by technical superiority or versatility. It might be toppled by convenience if that were possible and it would have to be convenient to leave it behind and/or migrate from it.

    iPhone isn't just a phone. It's a hand-held computer with software applications that people use. In the past, moving from one phone to another was a matter of exporting data and importing that same data into the next phone. iPhone has applications for which there may not be equals on other phones. iPhone has applications that many have spent significant amounts of money on and people aren't willing to dump things like that so easily.

    Another means of entrenchment iPhone enjoys is the connection it has with a person's identity. In much the same way people build self esteem rooting for their favorite teams in sports, the iPhone enjoys a strong fan base.

    Microsoft calls what they have "critical mass." Microsoft isn't getting toppled because they have critical mass. Other reasons don't play into the current state of Microsoft nearly as much as that. People are not happy with Microsoft, but not unhappy enough to move to something else.

    iPhone has not achieved critical mass, but many of the factors that contribute to the state of critical mass are present in iPhone and it is certainly moving in that direction.

    Still, the iPhone doesn't rule in the way the hype and attention would seem to suggest. A recent trip through an airport showed me that Blackberry outnumbers iPhone 10 to 1. That's just an estimate I pulled out of my ass, but it's probably not far off. iPhone is limited by its exclusivity to AT&T (in the U.S.) and many people aren't interested enough in iPhone to change their carrier, but since the odds are that their non-AT&T carrier will carry an iPhone competitor, people are more inclined to give those competitors a try. Provided that the alternatives are good enough to capture an audience the way iPhone has (and that's not likely in my opinion) the iPhone's primary weakness can be exploited successfully.

    To be clear, the primary weakness of the iPhone is its exclusivity to AT&T. It limits its growth potential and its flexibility. There are other factors contributing to its weaknesses, but its close ties with and influence under AT&T are at the very least holding it back and quite likely to be the most significant factor that will lead to its death.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by R3d M3rcury (871886)

      What I think we'll see for US "smartphone" market share in early 2011:

      1. iPhone 4GSX (iPhone OS) with 25%
      2. Motorola Droid 2 (Android) with 17%
      3. HTC Wombat (Android) with 13%
      4. Blackberry Square (RIM) with 12%
      5. Microsoft PinkFon (WinMo 7) with 6%

      Apple will loudly proclaim that they are the most popular smartphone. Google will proclaim that Android is the most popular smartphone OS. RIM and Microsoft will say, "Hey! Remember us? We've got amazing stuff coming real soon now!"

      The point is that both Apple and Google wi

      • by erroneus (253617)

        I think you severely underestimate the pervasiveness of Blackberry today and how long it has been that way. Of AT&T subscribers, I can barely imagine that even half of all AT&T subscribers have an iPhone of any kind. But even if they had 100% of all AT&T subscribers, I think 25% would be an ambitious estimation for the future. For that to be possible, AT&T would have o dominate the mobile market by a much more significant factor.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by itsdapead (734413)

      iPhone is ridiculously popular. I don't care to go into why it is popular, but I will say I don't fully understand it because I tend to measure things by a different set of metrics than non-nerds.

      When the iPhone was first announced, the standard of UI design and usability on phones was completely abysmal. I'd just got a Windows Mobile phone, and while it out-featured the iPhone, half of those features were just plain unusable. It had a slide-out keyboard, a scroll wheel, a joypad, a touchscreen, on-screen keypad etc. In fact, it had so many buttons on every available surface that it was virtually impossible to pick it up without accidentally pressing something. To use it efficiently, you had to lear

  • I'm still waiting for the iPhone to catch up to my now-3-year-old Samsung i760 running Windows Mobile 6.1.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Henriok (6762)
      No one will catch up with you. You are running in the wrong direction.
  • Two months ago I got myself an Android phone. It does everything I expected it to do. And more. Around me there are several people using iPhones and, so far, I have not seen anything on the iPhone that matters to me and which I really miss. I actually like the couple of extra buttons on my phone. My criticism to Android is that it is almost too good and that I can and will do parts of my work while commuting on a crowded bus.

    If there is a difference, it's in the details. One of which is Apple's marketing

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