Counterpoint: Android surging because it gives consumers the gift of choice.

Discussion in 'Android News' started by This Green Machine, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. This Green Machine

    This Green Machine DF News Team
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    (This is a guest post by Dave D. from ThisGreenMachine.com the original article can be found at this link.)

    As I scrolled through tech headlines the other day, one in particular caught my eye: “Is Android Surging Because Apple is Letting It?[1]” TechCrunch is a site notorious for blatant link baiting, and I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Popular TechCrunch writer MG Siegler penned the aforementioned article after reading David Beach’s scathing editorial[2] on the current development pitfalls of Android. As a developer for both Android and iOS, Beach provides a laundry list of complaints from a developer’s perspective. Every point was valid, and I openly agree with his general view. While most of the article focused on how the user experience can be improved, it is prefaced with one strange statement. It is the belief of Beach that the primary reason for Android’s success is due to the fact that the iPhone is only offered on AT&T in the US.

    Having read Beach’s editorial, Siegler hits the ground running and continues the argument. For those that have not yet read Siegler’s article here is a condensed recap:
    • The iPhone is a superior device in every aspect except the fact that it is only available on AT&T in the US.
    • Taking the often abysmal AT&T service out of consideration, there is no objective reason to believe the overall user experience of an Android device is better than an iPhone.
    • Die hard fans prefer Android for its openness, but this is something the common consumer does not care or know about.
    • If the iPhone was available on Verizon it would sell double the amount it does currently.
    • The success of Android is because the iPhone is not available on any other network other than AT&T (in the US), and not because any single Android device is better.
    To be fair, Siegler does not give a tone of arrogance or Anti-Androidism in his writing. A hateful sentiment can be easily detected, and I didn’t find a trace. He is honestly confused and curious as to why anyone would prefer an Android device.

    I’ll start at the root, and work my way out. Is Android succeeding because the iPhone is only available in the US on AT&T? No. There is an easy logical answer for my belief. How can you explain the global growth of Android at the expense of the iPhone and just about every other platform? The notion that the US market is the only one that matters is naive and well, very American. According to the Financial Times Android’s global market share has leapt from 1.8% a year ago to 17.2% as of August[3]. Carolina Milanesi, research vice-president at Gartner, originally estimated that Android would reach the second-largest global mobile OS mark by the end of 2012, but has revised the date to the end of this year. If Apple’s contractual lock to AT&T truly is the only reason why Android growth is surging domestically, then the iPhone should still be able to dominate Android globally. Without AT&T to blame, I doubt you can still argue that Android is successful in spite of itself.

    Let’s for a moment disregard the global market and entertain Siegler’s point from a domestic view. If terrible service from AT&T is the only reason why a domestic user would choose an Android device over an iPhone, how does AT&T sell any Android devices? By my last count the Galaxy S sold one million US devices in 45 days[4]. This includes only the AT&T and T-Mobile rendition of Samsung’s top line Android device. With AT&T being the larger of the two carriers, it is easy to assume that over half the devices were most likely sold by AT&T. Perhaps it’s not so objective after all.

    At the end of the day, Apple is in control of its own destiny. It’s called business decisions and strategy. In this case, Apple made a poor decision to tie themselves up with AT&T for an extended amount of time. Coupled with the refusal to license iOS to manufacturers, and at most an annual refresh, it almost does not seem fair. Undoubtedly, if the iPhone were available on more carriers, they would sell more phones. But it is my belief that Android would be just as popular. Google has made it clear that they are going with the complete opposite strategy than that of Apple. Google chose a diverse strategy of openness, and not just in a software sense. Android is open to any carrier, manufacturer, and consumer.

    Yes Mr. Siegler, you are correct. The advantage of Android is its openness. But you are completely incorrect about the consumer not caring. While the average consumer may not care that the source code is available for download, I guarantee they care about the variety of performance, form factor, price ranges for all demographics, and availability of carriers all stemming from Androids inherent openness. The only objective statement I can make is that Android is continuing to grow and it’s because the consumers have decided they prefer Android to iOS.

    References: [1] TechCrunch, [2] It’s Beach, [3] Financial Times, [4] Fortune
     
  2. zinethar

    zinethar Active Member

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    For the most part I agree. In my small circle of close friends 9 have droids and 1 has an iPhone. Why? ATT coverage in my area is terrible. But a point that I think is being totally misread by the experts and carriers is the openness of the platform. Of the 9 having droids all but one is now rooted (and I had to help with 6 of them). Are 8 of 9 geeks? well perhaps but the primary reason they ALL updated was the fact that Verizon lied about the ability to tether and use wireless tethering and now wants to rip them off by charging again for data they already pay a fortune for. Several had already used pdaNet but prefer the rooted experience as it is so much smoother. Just thought I'd toss this in. Besides myself the only other rooter who did it for other reasons wanted his business logo as his boot screen.
     
  3. Droid DOES!!

    Droid DOES!! What iDoesn't
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    I agree with the OP completely! Since owning my Droid (and even before rooting), my iPhone has become just an iPod Touch with a contract. AT&T actually has better service at 90% of the places I go and I still prefer Android over iOS. IMO, the biggest plus to iPhone is the cover flow with the built in iPod. But, I can buy an iPod Touch and tether it to my Droid without paying an extra $100 a month for a service I don't use. It (iPhone) will be cut off in a month or two..just haven't decided whether I want to keep the actual phone or not. I love the openness and customization of the Android platform vs everything being closed on Apple's end. Not to take anything away from the iPhone though because it changed phones forever and is an amazing piece of equipment but, Android shines brighter IMHO.
     
  4. justin82

    justin82 Super Moderator
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    This is something that i have often wondered myself. If Apple were to let the i phone go to diffrent carriers 2 years ago how many of us would even know about android? or care?

    This is comping from a person who owned droid 1, droid inc (short period of time) and now the droid X.

    for me apple has waited too long to release the iphone to verizon. The people that would have purchased it have already gotten used to android and have learned to use it and like it.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Verizon would sell a lot of iphones still for the simple reason people that feel like the iphone is superior to android devices would love to make the switch from at&T to VZW.. But the numbers would have been signifigantly higher 2 years ago. IMO..
     
  5. gadgetrants

    gadgetrants Senior Member

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    This is an interesting argument, and I particularly appreciate the use of data to help support the story. I still remain unconvinced, though. A few thoughts:

    (1) Is it possible that the US market has a different personality from the Europeans? Certainly we differ in the basic pricing model: we go for cheap, subsidized phones, while Europeans tend to pay $400-$600, keep the phone longer, and gain the advantage of carrier portability. Who knows how that influences the success of the iPhone here versus abroad.

    (2) The use of the domestic Galaxy S data is hard to argue with. I wish I knew more about the phone, and what its user base looks like. Are the users like Droid1 owners? If so, then the majority would (probably) never go for an iPhone. It might be easy to explain by assuming the typical owner is reluctant to change carriers (though some are keen to do it often)...and that there are many AT&T people who are just cut from same cloth as us. :)

    (3) The most serious question is what happens when Verizon offers the iPhone. I think WE ALL KNOW a HUGE number of Verizon customers will jump on it. Come on people, most of us are sheep. That's not the issue though...the real problem is how that affects Android development, and more importantly, device sales. Worst case scenario (I'm just saying) is that when the iPhone comes over, one by one Android phones start to sell like the Nexus1 (niche owners only).

    Really, it's the last issue that isn't considered in the report: how will the appearance of the iPhone on Verizon change the Android development landscape?

    -Matt
     
  6. Yakuzagang5

    Yakuzagang5 Member

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    This is completely true. EVERY SINGLE PERSON I have talked to that has an android phone on verizon or sprint or TMobile has said if the iPhone was available on their network they would buy it. Im in the same boat. I completely disagree with how Apple locks everything down and love how open Google is, but the FACT (not opinion) is that the iPhone is thinner, has a better screen, has more features than any CURRENT android phone, better apps and games, has a much, much smoother and superior interface. If Android were to come out with a phone that was actually AS good, doesnt have to be better, but needs to be AS good. If the iPhone came out on Verizon or another network, it would be almost game over for android IMHO
     
  7. Guyute

    Guyute Member

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    I really hope you are kidding, if not you and your friends have no idea what you are talking about. I know several people who sold their Iphones just to pick up the Droid X. What makes you think the Iphone has more features, because it dosn't. I know for the Droid X we have HDMI out, memory cards, options for batteries, DNLA, bigger screen, WIFI cloud, and the holy grail of web surfing on a mobile device Adobe flash just around the corner. None of these features are available on the iphone. The only thing the iphone has is a front facing camera, big deal. Have you ever been on the Android market? Any good app available for the Iphone has an equivalent for Android. I for one would not buy an iphone over the Droid X I purchased.
     
  8. Droid DOES!!

    Droid DOES!! What iDoesn't
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    +1! I was one of the idiots that bought the $500 2G and it was stolen a month later (found out insurance wasn't an option the hard way)! Features??? Hahaha! Ok! You couldn't even do MMS messaging until last September (3rd edition of the iPhone), couldn't zoom on the camera until the 3GS (3rd model), no video recording until the 3rd model, and my FREE phones have always done that! The GPS is a joke! Heck, a flash for you camera wasn't even available until the FOURTH model! I'd rather have an iTouch than an iPhone! Talk about apps, Apple has a ton...of duplicates. Who in the world would/could have 200,000+ apps on their phone? Give Android credit! It has grown from 10,000 in March to 70,000+ currently (more than enough for me)! As an iPhone owner too (2G, 3G, and 3GS), I would never go back to another one since learning Android!
     
  9. aaf709

    aaf709 Nice Guy
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    Given the fact that Apple also makes computers and anyone can buy them, are they the most popular OS in the world?

    That being said, if the iPhone were available on Verizon at the same time as they were on AT&T, I might've had one. Maybe not. Nowadays if the Droid Pro came out at the same time the iPhone comes to Verizon, I'd probably go with the Pro.
     
  10. noo_too_droid

    noo_too_droid Member

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    ya mind sharing what apps/games are missing from android? and what features are better? anyone can make random claims like that, BACK IT UP.
     
  11. Droid DOES!!

    Droid DOES!! What iDoesn't
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    +1!! That is sooooo true!! dancedroid
     
  12. noo_too_droid

    noo_too_droid Member

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    ahhh doubt it i believe the consensus is that windows>>mac thats why hackers dont make viruses for mac, thats what ive heard