Thursday, May 27, 2010

Has Android really outpaced the iPhone with v2.2 Froyo

After the Google I/O conference, fans of the Android operating system, fresh from entusiasm of the tech demos shown in the Froyo keynote and general announcements made throughout have claimed that Google had surpassed Apple in terms of inovation in the mobile space. Add that to some reports that Android is outselling the iPhone in the US and you have the tech bloggers making some very biased conclusions.

I am far from being e tech expert myself, but I think a bit or some realism can paint quite a different picture. Let look into some of the more popular assumptions made by people when reading those stories

1. Google is developing the Android platform faster than Apple is own iPhone OS and is now ahead in features.
  • Its interesting but it turns out that development of both Android and iPhone OS started around the same time around 2005. I do believe that the numbering scheme that Google has choses for the Android platform does reflect the progress made in the operating system. Consequently a software platform at version 2.2 cannot be more feature rich as very comparable platform at version 3.1 For indirect proof look at the Chrome desktop browser being at version 5 now, ahead of Safari which is still at version 4. Clearly Google considers the desktop browser the most important software it works on.
  • the features which people find the Android platform to be superior, namely Gmail, Voice search and Turn by Turn navigation are part of the Google core competency and a differentiator, just like Apple has build its iTunes/iPod business
  • the more important general features which Froyo 2.2 added, such as Exchange and application data backup, have been with the iPhone OS since its own version 2.2 back in September 2008.
  • The really interesting features demonstrated at the Froyo keynote, such a push application purchasing and other types of over the air delivered features and content are not part of Froyo, but sneak peaks into some future release. Stiff, Google is a cloud company an its is to be expected that it will get ahead in the cloud services game, where Apple clearly does noBulleted Listt make a lot of effort at.
  • One of the reasons Google went behind Adobe as a application development platformis that is own Android SDK obviously sucked and Apple left it in the dust. Google hoped to use the iPhone platform as an incentive for developers to create app that could easily then be easily converted to Android using Adobe tools and quickly close the gap in number of apps the iPhone enjoys. Clearly a tactic not worthy of a allegedly superior platform.
2. Android is now faster than the iPhone OS and its mobile phones have surpassed the iPhone in terms of hardware.
  • The iPhone 3GS was introduced in min 2009 with worldwide availability. While some resent new offerings carry bigger displays and newer generation components, none of them has reached significant availability. An not all of them are superior the iPhone in terms of end user performance. I am not talking about feature specs, but actually battery/software performance, display quality in all lighting conditions, hardware reliability and so on. Only one device with the Android operating system can be compared with the iPhone in terms of overal market impart and that is the Motorola Droid. I will go on the record by said that its success in the US in particular has to do with nothing else that the name DROID. George Luscas has spend 3 decades encoding that word into the American popular culture trough the Start Wars francise, and Motorola just rode the wave.
  • All these new generation of Android phones: The Nexus One, the Droid Incredible, the EVO 4G and so on are 2010 devices. Just because, Apple is the only company that does not announce its new hardware just prior to actually being able to ship it, does not mean that comparisons with the iPhone 3GS, 2 weeks prior the the iPhone A4 are still valid. In recent performance tests with the Nexus One running the latest Android 2.2, the iPhone seams to have lost the edge in speed it held for 10+ months now. But not by a significant margina and that is to be expected. What people miss to notice however is that the speed diference between the iPhone 3GS and the Nexus One running Froyo is much less than the hardware spec advantage the Google phone seams to have. The 2009 iPhone had a 50% clock speed increase / 2X RAM increase over the 2008 iPhone resulting in system wide 2X performance increase. 2010 The Nexus One has 70% clock speed increase / 2X RAM increase over the 2009 iPhone, yet it seams to enjoy a small system wide performance advantage over the 3GS only when it does now make significant used of its other alleged advantage: background processing. What would the results be when Apple matches or exceed any current or projected Android hardware with the iPhone 4A? Should'n we wait a few more weeks and make a 2010 Android device vs 2010 Apple device comparison instead, before making claims Andorid is faster.'
3. Android is outselling the iPhone in the US.
  • It's funny how people ignore things like cheap Android phones with 1.6 or even 1.5 still being sold in buy one, get one free fashion. Everybody can sell hardware at a loss, by tying people to two year old contracts. Everybody that does not value its customers beyond the point of sale. Not Apple
  • Why not compare iPhone Sales in AT&T with comparably priced Android phones sold just by Verizon. That's a fair comparison in my opinion as it matches the the overal price and service and leaves the actual experience and value of the device to shine out. People like bashing how Nexus One seams to edge the iPhone 3GS in some ways but never mentions its actual sales. The wide public seams to associate the Android with these top/flagship devices even though they are not the bread and butter of the sales. The exception being the Motorola droid, which has sales figures compared to the original iPhone prior to its price drop.
  • Android sales will quickly level out when the introduction across all 4 major US carriers is complete in less time than the first adopters had a chance to go trough their 2 year contacts. At that time people would know whether they want to have the same experience again or switch to the iPhone. The thing about the iPhone is that very few people ever switch away from it, some of those come back eventually and some do it for no other reason than the service provider AT&T
  • Why are not people counting the iPod Touch as sales? Oh, because it's not a phone. In many ways the iPod Touch is more of a smartphone than many so called smartphones sold today. Apple will eventually add a phone feature to most of its iPods. You should not discredit sales of a particular product based on definitions that constantly change but rather on the impact that it has. One can argue can a person with a dumb phone and an iPod Touch has in effect a smartphone. One can also argue that people owning iPod Touches are not likely to also carry a touch screen smartphone. So again, why not count those as sales too if they can be a substitute for a canonical smartphone. Everything will make since if only people compare sales by operating system, not by specific hardware features. After all a person with an iPod Touch running OS 4 and a MiFi in his pocket can have a better Skype phone functionality than most smartphones today.
So has the Android latest update and the new handsets available from its hardware partners really outpased the iPhone? No. Neither are features, speed, sales or potential.

1 comment:

The Geeks said...

hi..Im college student, thanks for sharing :)