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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
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    This Green Machine DF News Team Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    (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
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    zinethar 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!!
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    Droid DOES!! What iDoesn't Theme Developer Premium Member

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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
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    justin82 Super Moderator Premium Member

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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
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    gadgetrants Well-Known 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
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    Yakuzagang5 New 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
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    Guyute New 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!!
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    Droid DOES!! What iDoesn't Theme Developer Premium Member

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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
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    aaf709 Nice Guy Premium Member

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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
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    noo_too_droid New 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!!
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    Droid DOES!! What iDoesn't Theme Developer Premium Member

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    +1!! That is sooooo true!! dancedroid
  12. noo_too_droid
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    noo_too_droid New 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
  13. Dark Lazer
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    Dark Lazer Member

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    If there's one thing I'd like to have over Android are the games. I have an iPod Touch, and the games in the app store are definitely better. However, support from bigger developers has gotten a ot better in the recent months. Aside from the games though, I can do everything + more on my D2.
  14. nwlake
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    nwlake New Member

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    I am not much of a techie. I use a MacBook, was waiting desperately for a Verizon iPhone, and I love all things "i". But what won me over to android phones is the expandable memory and a consumer replaceable battery which opens up the possibility of carrying a spare. It's so simple. Love my X.
  15. thatisandwas
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    thatisandwas New Member

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    I think everyone is making great points. I laugh at the notion that Apple has better features and apps. I will give a great example of how android won over a die hard (ex) apple fanboy that i know.

    He went to the apple store to get an IP4. He waited in line for 2 hours. The reps were going over the various features of the phone while he was waiting in line. He finally got the phone and took it home. When he got home he realized that he would need to upgrade an entire OS before he could sync his ip4. Like, he literally couldn't use the phone because of this. I have never owned a mac but i believe he was running OSX and needed the newest version to use the IP4 with his macbook pro. This was going to cost him around 130 dollars. No one at the apple store told him anything about this. At all. he was there for 2 hours and they didn't bother to mention that his OS was not compatible. So they wanted him to pay the ridiculous price for the new phone, and then spend well over a hundred dollars more to upgrade his os, which by the way, worked perfectly with his 3g. He took the phone back the next day and went and bought a DROID X. He has been thrilled ever since. He says he will never give another dime to apple because of this horrible experience and the ridiculous price gauging that took place.

    Again, i'm not a mac user, so if any OS's i mentioned aren't right, i apologize.

    Android is great. My mom (who is on at and t) just bought the new galaxy s phone. She didn't even consider an ip4. After she saw my brothers G1 she loved it so much more than the iphone... a freakin' 1.6 device. My mom is NOT techy. She does NOT know what root means. To me, this is the "consumer" that Mr. Siegler is speaking of, and she went straight to android, no questions asked.

    Yes, the Iphone will sell a lot more when it comes to verizon. Yes, the iphone is a beautiful device, and the interface is great. But you must pay for EVERYTHING, and you are on LOCK DOWN. Isn't it true that you couldn't even change the background of the iphone home screen until recently??? Thats ridiculous!

    I have always blamed apple of purposefully holding back features so they can come out with the "next" version. Take the ipad...no camera...no usb..Come on, these are features that are readily available that people WANT. Jobs leaves them out because he knows he can just put em in next year and everyone will come flocking to drop another 500 bucks on a device that just isn't up to par with android.

    Android will continue to grow. The advertising campaign for the droid line by verizon, imho, is the number one reason people want droids right now. Not a lot of people knew about em before the campaign, and everyone knows now.

    I was an early adopter of the legacy android device, the g1. I had it for over a year and i loved it, and still do. I gave it to my brother when i got my moto droid last march and he still uses it daily. When verizon offered me an early upgrade after only being 6 months in to my plan last month because of a few defective droids, i jumped on it. I sold the good moto droid i got in exchange for the bad one to a good friend of mine, now he's hooked on android. Now, i am the proud owner of a Droid X. Its rooted. And today, i used wifi tether in the car on a road trip so my brother could connect the g1 which he doesn't have a data plan for (uses wifi at home only) so he could get online while going down the road. Try that with any Icrap.

    Chris
  16. Droid DOES!!
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    Droid DOES!! What iDoesn't Theme Developer Premium Member

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    Oh yeah, I completely forgot about the wallpaper thing! Way to go crApple!! Hahaha!!
  17. coheirnt
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    coheirnt New Member

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    Oh man I'm loving this thread!

    I agree with all the apple bashing here just let me say that. I tricking hate apple. I physically hate them. And here are the reasons. O 2 years ago i go and buy a 80 g ipod classic. Cause i do factory work and hey what better then to listen to anything u like while u do it. So i got the classic and my girlfriend has the newest nano 16g. We both love our ipods very much. We all love music and audio books here. So naturally a devices like those where well loved around here. Some time goes by we build a very respectable library. Bought alot utorrented alot. Either way we have/had a great collection. Now when i say bought we bought alot! Cause you have to support the artist you love and enjoy...right....right. so time goes by we accesorize the house the cars. Now we have ipod availabilty everywhere.and some of this is my fault i should've backed up the library. But there was a mishap and we lost the library with no recent back up. OMG! it was terrible. I was unaware that once something is on an ipod there's just no getting it back nope its just on there stuck. Gone doesn't mean dick. Cause if you plug it in and sync it o it wipes the ipod(what a great feature apple love that) so we buy a external program that allows us to retrieve the said such content. So were all hey cool no need to back up. O and apple didn't have the feature of downloading your purchases songs at the time.and then a couple months later. I don't know if it was really a couple months long enough for a newer version of itunes to come out. And then the computer crashes o no big deal we got the program right. Nope can't use it with the new itunes have to buy another one. Hahaha. So we got the new computer still haven't purchased the new program cause i refuse to spend anymore money on anything apple related. Because even after putting purchased songs on there from the ipods. Which by the way itunes will not let me retrieve all of our purchased material. And when u call them they do nothing nothing thousands of dollars in music books and stuff and apple has said shove it buy another program. Well steve jobs you can suck it. We will never give you another dime. O and after being loyal apple users for so long buying our music through them and all that wouldn't u know they offered us a discount yea fricking right. But hey i bought two albums from amazon for my droid x. And they seriously sent me coupons for the next purchase in like five minutes. So now we both have droids. I the X her the incredible. We love them use them all the time music books everything thank god for android. We are very grateful for these devices thanks. Oh and hey steve just know that the atmosphere of hell is greed. Just saying. So yep needless to say we are faithfull android owners. I will not jump ship if it comes to big red. Thanks for listening to my little rant guys lol
  18. OneTenderRebel
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    OneTenderRebel New Member

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    Wow what a surprise, this turned into another bash Apple thread..........my head hurts

    sent from the great depths of my phones internet (thanks Al Gore)
  19. Codiusprie
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    Codiusprie New Member

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    A very well written article, thanks. I agree with most of your points and appreciate the fact that you used data to back up your assertions, unlike many tech writers these days. I do have an issue with one thing you said though:

    "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."

    I do not this this is easy to assume since I am pretty sure the Galaxy S is the first attractive TMO Android phone to come a long in a long while. I would like to see data to back up that statement entirely.

    Also to those arguing about the app markets, I am sorry, but to argue that the Apple App market offerings is anything but better than the Android App market offerings is ludicrous. Not only does the Apple market have more apps, it has more polished apps and also far, far better games. Now, this is beginning to change, but the app market is one place where Android currently lags behind Apple.
  20. New2u
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    New2u Super Moderator

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    I think there are 2 things that people routinely say about the iphone as an advantage over androids. That would be music player.. You can't beat it sorry, i'm not a fan of apple but I've listened to music on both and well apple wins on that category. Second is the ease of use of the device, while andorids aren't hard to use, they are a bit more technical then iphones. Where i work we get many students that come in, and many have wanted the iphone because they were on verizon, but after actually getting an android and playing around with it, they changed their minds and they really could care less whether iphone comes to verizon anymore. I think the second thing is more a stigma to android than anything else.

    The reason that hackers go after windows is because there's where the majority of systems are that they could hit. It's about sheer numbers. Would you rather infect 1000 computers or 1 million. The fact of the matter is that more businesses / homes run windows, and that's who hackers are aiming at. Now if the numbers were reversed you'd see them going after iOS rather then windows. The fact of the matter is that proof of concept viruses have been written for iOS and malware can still infect iOS.

    While i agree with you on a small part of this, apple does have quite a few more polished apps then android, but they also about have 10 fold just as useless ones also. If android has 1 out of every 10 apps that is useful, i would make that number around 1 out of every 1000 apps that is useful with apple. I've seen both markets and for the most part they are equally as bad. The reason that apples is even remotely better is because they've had it out for alot longer then android has had theirs out.