Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Much Android About Nothing

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Woo boy, the Android v. iPhone wars are heating up and I’m gettin’ ready to cook some marshmallows over the fireworks!

It apparently started yesterday when Steve Jobs joined the Apple earnings call (which he never does anymore) and talked a little smack about the Android.

Quoting from Erick Schonfeld’s blog post from TechCrunch, said Jobs: “What is best for the customer—integrated versus fragmented? We think this is a huge strength of our system versus Google’s. When selling to people who want their devices to just work, we think integrated wins every time. We are committed to the integrated approach. We are confident it will triumph over Google’s fragmented approach.”

He went on to mention that Apple was activating 275K iPhones iDevices (including iPhones/iPads) a day, versus the 200K Androids per day, suggesting that Apple maintains its lead for now.

But it seems to me, the Apple vertical integration argument has some merit, and the Android fragmentation argument as well.

Just as with the Mac OS and proprietary Apple platform, Apple has for thirty-something years benefited from vertical integration.

Apple has been able to maintain quality control through the line on its portfolio, at least for the most part, and has in turned helped keep quality up on both their OS and the applications developed for the Mac.

How’s the mobile world going to be any different?

Sure, that decision to stay vertically aligned probably kept them from maximizing their PC market share (i.e., not licensing the OS to other hardware manufacturers), but one could also make the argument that’s why they are now one of the most valuable technology brands in the world and have some of the most loyal technophiles around.

Similarly, Google’s decision to sign up a range of smartphone hardware players as quickly as possible has also led to some Balkanization and so-called “fragmentation”: Some devices have this version of the Droid, others that.

Writes Schonfeld: Developers are left having to create multiple versions of their apps to work across different Android devices. ‘The user is left to figure it out,’ says Jobs ‘Compare that to iPhone, where every app is the same.’

But, I think over time, Google can easily address the fragmentation and QA issues, and then it becomes a carrier and application landscape discussion, particularly as the Droid UI gets enhanced.

All this characterizes the internal personal debate I had with myself when I switched from the Blackberry to…something new…a few weeks ago.

It was either a Droid or an iPhone, and I went with the iPhone, and largely for this fragmentation discussion (that, and the fact that I couldn’t get a decent Droid device on AT&T, which is why I say the carriers will continue to play a key role here).

It’s not without some irony that I can tell you now weeks into using the iPhone, that the only part I’m frustrated with is the “phone” part.  People can’t hear me when I call them, and I’m starting to get a complex.

Mr. Jobs, if you could finish up with that earnings call and get back to helping me simply make one, it would be much appreciated…and I promise not to switch over to the Droid.

Well, not anytime soon.

Written by turbotodd

October 19, 2010 at 7:49 pm

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