Monday, April 11, 2011

State of the mobile tech industry

Apple has revolutionized the way we think of mobile devices. Both with their iPhone which they first launched in 2007 and their iPad in 2010. No doubt each technology has uniquely influenced the tech industry. Since then, there has been a blossom of competitors to Apple's mobile ecosystem. Starting with Android which started in 2008 and since that point, has nearly doubled in market share and has been an evolution of what we saw with Apple's iPhone. So today, I thought I'd give my mobile technology industry analysis.
If you're not familiar with why Apple has gained in such rapid numbers, this is a good time to reflect on the pros and cons of Apple's mobile offerings. The new trend the media has applied is to classify Android, Google's mobile platform as "open" and Apple's iPhone (iOS operating system) as "closed." I hate to say this, but I kind of agree with Steve Jobs. That stereotype is quite "disingenuous" as Steve Jobs has famously said. Apple isn't necessarily more closed than Android or all the other competitors, Apple simply has less choice is all. With Apple, they choose the hardware, not you. With Apple, they choose the software, not you. Before iPhone came to Verizon, AT&T was the only option in the United States. Now you finally have choice of carrier, but you're still quite limited in choice. However, if you're not really that picky in hardware or software, then iPhone and iOS (The operating system) is not a bad choice. iOS has a constant reliability rating. Unlike Android, where everything is nearly unpredictable. One day, your device would function as normal, but the next day, or the next hour, it may just decide to crash on you, randomly restart, or even freeze. Whereas iOS and iPhone and iPad seem to be quite a bit more reliable. With iOS, you have a centralized place for content. Applications, music, TV shows, and movies all can be acquired from within the iTunes Store.
Android, as I've compared to iPhone earlier, is quite more diverse in both hardware and software. Android is a mobile operating system designed by Google with the Open Handset Alliance. Unlike Apple, which keeps tight lock over its platform, Google's Android can be run from practically any device. This allows you to choose the carrier first, then the device. In 2008, when Android first launched, there were barely any apps (or applications), now that is not the case. There are more than 200,000 applications from games to productivity to medical to business to utilities and so much more! The variety of applications you can get on Android is amazing now! Many of them free or relatively affordable. Unfortunately, Google doesn't have a centralized place for content at this point in time. They do have an application "Market" but it's really poorly organized. Amazon has introduced cloud storage along with an Android application marketplace, but it has a long way to go before anybody is willing to use it primarily over Google's Marketplace. Nonetheless, it's a great effort by Amazon. -- Android has great integration with Google's services. Makes sense right? When you login with your Google account on your Android device for the first time, your contacts are automatically downloaded onto the device and any changes of the contacts on the device are synced with your account online. If you have a GMail account, then you can choose to receive email on your device through the GMail application. Unfortunately, if you do not use GMail or use a corporate email system, the separate email application for Android is mediocre. Luckily, you can fix that through external solutions that you can download through the market. (I recommend K-9 Mail as a solution to this problem.)

It may be too early to judge, but I personally predict that Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 operating system is going practically nowhere right now. The software update fiasco has really injured the platform's reputation. Despite the recent update that has implemented copy and paste (not consistently), Windows Phone 7 still is far behind Android and iOS in functionality and capability. And as far as I can tell, the Windows Phone 7 application store is quite limited in quantity, quality, and variety of applications. If this is any indication, Windows Phone 7 may be stuck back in 2007 for a long time. Frankly, I tend to agree with Mr. Leo Laporte of the TWiT network, "If Windows Phone came out before the iPhone, I would've thought this was amazing!"

No comments:

Post a Comment