Android has finally arrived. The comparisons to the iPhone are everywhere, and rightly so, as this is going to be a very interesting show down between Google + Open and Apple + one of the best design teams in the world. I tend to place my best on Open, but if anyone can compete against it, it’s the people that convinced the world that devices with non replaceable batteries are good investments.
It’s also interesting that the dramatic challenge in getting everyone excited by mobile wasn’t really a bump up in technology. 90% of what the iPhone can do today would be doable on your random flip phone from verizon, except the carriers block you from doing it. Carriers:
- block your access to the gps on the phone. Every phone has had a gps for the last few years due to e911 requirements.
- make it difficult to deploy apps to the phone, as they want a cut of every one.
- make it impossible to really provide free apps on phones (by the previous point)
A good instance of this is the fact that I’ve got google maps on my Sprint flip phone. Google wrote the app, and it does all the close searching for things like the iPhone does. It can’t tell me where I am, because sprint blocked the gps. But, when it comes to finding a restraunt in a strange city, it works quite well.
What Apple and Google have really been working on is getting the carriers out of the way so that mobile devices can really become a more primary platform for consumers. They basically forced AT&T, T-Mobile, and hopefully soon Sprint, to break down their walls against letting consumers really do things on the mobile networks. This is exciting. I’m eagerly hoping that Sprint (who is part of the Android alliance) puts an Android phone out by the end of the year, because I’m going to snap it up immediately. I’ve already got the Android SDK installed, and am going to start puttering around with applications that I’d love to be on my phone.