The race is on… the latest statistic to hit the headlines is that Google Andriod has surpassed iphone sales for the first time. Well, its not exactly apples to apples (so to speak) because Google is running across so many different phones and let’s face it, people are buying the phone, not the OS… not exactly a fair comparison.
On the other hand, Apple does have a lot to worry about :
- Android is open. The OS is opensource and the marketplace (actually there are multiple marketplaces) allow for any kind of application. Apple is notorious for shunning any developer who creates features that appear to duplicate those in the iOS. In fact Apple doesn’t give a good reason why they deny applications. They are taking on the innovation and fenced out competitors. Google has the opposite approach, they are leveraging standards to crowdsource innovation. The innovation bar is going to keep getting higher for Apple – can they scale?
- Wireless Carriers have always fought for control over the user experience. This has lead to consistent failures by every carrier who has tried to lock users into their platform. With Android, the carriers can create their own apps, themes and customizations while still allowing for compatibility with marketplace apps. It’s a powerful concoction which might allow carriers to add real value while they embrace a 3rd party OS – has Google cracked the code to engaging carriers?
- Android is Google. Even mapping on the iPhone uses google technology. Most iphone data connections start or pass through google. As Google improves integration between Android and Google.com they will continue to differentiate in ways that Apple can’t.
I’m not writing a tombstone for the iphone, and I don’t think the current headlines are telling the whole story but the pressure is definitely on Apple to earn its lead in the handset race.