The Android vs iPhone War?
Since its release, the iPhone has been the leader of the smartphone world. Blackberry is a thing of the past, whose name is spoken only in hushed whispers by an embarrassed few devoted followers. Yet, in the past year and a half, the Google Android smartphones have been gaining ground.
Now, with Google coming first to market with a groundbreaking app like Google Wallet for Android, the competition is getting even hotter. Those techies who were the early adopters of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad are switching to Android in droves, and many consumers are following suit.
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The smartphone war – Android vs iPhone. What will it take for Android to beat the iPhone? There are a few things that would need to really fall into place for that to happen:
- The Android Marketplace has to continue to grow. The Android Marketplace has boomed in the past six months, but it still lags behind the Apple App store in terms of the sheer number of apps available. Android’s going to have to catch up to Apple, or at least get within striking distance. Given the fast rise in third-party support for Android, it’s likely that this could happen within 8-10 months.
- Apps have to work across Android devices. One of the biggest complaints right now for Android users is that not all apps work on all Android phones. That’s the price Android users have to pay for using a mobile OS that runs on multiple hardware platforms. Today, about 75% of apps will run on any given device. That number needs to be more like what numbers are for the PC platform – nearly 100%. Because Apple has a single platform, that’s where their compatibility numbers will stay.
- Google needs to leverage its other products. Google wouldn’t be wise to pull app support from the iPhone, but there need to be clear advantages to running Google apps on an Android phone. We’re close to that today, with a product like Google+ having more features and functionality on Android than on iOS.
- Google needs more products like Google Wallet. It’s a little bit early to tell exactly how Google Wallet will be received. However, if the buzz surrounding Google Wallet is to be believed, it’s going to be a compelling reason for people to think about switching from their iPhone to an Android device. It was leaked back in January 2011 that Apple would be including NFC (Near Field Communications) capabilities – which is what’s required to support smartphone retail credit transactions – in future devices. It’s noticeably absent, however, from the iPhone 4S.
Apple isn’t usually in the business of racing to keep up with the competition. Their hallmark has always been an innovative customer experience; Google’s strength, on the other hand, has been economies of scale. If Google can apply that principle to the smartphone marketplace while maintaining at least a basically satisfactory user experience, they have a chance of knocking Apple off the top.
So, what do you think? Have you made the switch to Android? Or are you thinking about it? What would push your decision over the edge?
Eric Greenwood is a seasoned writer in technology, specializing in online storage. You can find more of his articles located at OnlineStorage.org.