Smartphones

Is Android destined to be the Windows of mobile computing?

With the spread of Android accelerating, the assumption that Android will become the dominant mobile platform is also gaining stream. But, how likely is it?

In the 18 months since Android first launched, the mobile OS has gradually gained a sense of inevitability. It has reached the point where it is often talked about in the technology industry as if it is manifest destiny that Android will be the dominant platform in mobile computing.

However, today's mobile market is vastly different than the PC market of the 1980s and 90s. Let's take a look at Android's  and how likely it is that Android will emerge as the platform of choice.

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The rise of the computer phone

During the first half of the last decade, the smartphone market was dominated by BlackBerry and Palm Treo (and Nokia outside the U.S.). At the time, these devices were primarily used as a way to get your mail and calendar on your cellphone, and occasionally to access a specialized business application that connected to one of your company's backend databases. The audience was almost completely corporate.

In June 2007, Apple changed the game with the launch of the iPhone. It brought a lot of consumers into the smartphone market with a touchscreen device that ditched the hardware qwerty form factor of the BlackBerry and the Treo and was much simpler to navigate and use. All the hoopla around the iPhone also had the halo effect of educating the public about smartphones and helped create greater consumer demand for smartphones in general.

With the iPhone, it took Apple another year to get the price down, add 3G connectivity, make it enterprise-friendly, and open it up to application developers. But, the revolution had already started. The race was on for other vendors to build mobile devices with three key features to match the iPhone:

  1. A touchscreen user interface
  2. Mobile Web capability
  3. An application platform

BlackBerry came out with the Storm. Palm launched the Pre and a completely redesigned OS to power it. Nokia made its play with the N97. HTC built the Touch Pro and then the Touch Pro2, both running Windows Mobile. And, Microsoft recently hit the restart button on its mobile platform with Windows Phone 7.

None of these "iPhone killers" did anything to stop the iPhone's growth and momentum. It wasn't until Google entered the smartphone market in October 2008 that the competition for the future of mobile computing really started heating up.

Android's ascent

It's easy to think of Android as a knock-off of Apple's iPhone OS--and in many ways it is. But, Google has also been working toward mobile platform for much longer than most people realize. The timeline below shows evolution of Android and how much progress it has made, especially in the past year:

  • July 2005 - Google buys the startup Android, Inc., which was developing a mobile OS
  • November 2007 - Plans for the Android OS are unveiled as part of the announcement of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 65 companies dedicated to building a mobile platform on open standards; Android is revealed as an open source OS and the first SDK is made available
  • October 2008 - The first Android phone, the G1 (a.k.a. the HTC Dream), hits the market; the hardware is awkward and unpolished but the OS has potential
  • October 2009 - The Motorola Droid--the first Android 2.0 phone--arrived with a big marketing push from Verizon; it brings Android out of beta and it's a serious competitor to the iPhone, in terms of the three features mentioned above, and it's also a competitor with business-specific devices such as the BlackBerry since the Droid features a slide-down keyboard
  • January 2010 - In partnership with HTC, Google releases its own Android phone, the Nexus One, which features a thin touchscreen form factor and outflanks the iPhone with a higher resolution screen and a faster processor; it is only sold online through Google (with T-Mobile for service) and sales figures are anemic, but it raises the bar for Android with the first device that easily stands toe-to-toe with the iPhone
  • April 2010 - The HTC Incredible debuts on Verizon; it offers most of the same features of the Nexus One but is paired with Verizon's market-leading data network
  • May 2010 - NPD reports that in Q1 2010, Android passed iPhone in unit sales in the U.S.; it's the first big market share victory for Android; In the report, BlackBerry was first with 36% share, then Android (28%), then iPhone (21%)

Will Android be the winner?

When you look at the escalating battle between Android and iPhone for leadership of the smartphone market, it's easy to draw parallels between the early battle between the Apple II and the IBM PC, and the later war between Mac OS and Microsoft Windows.

In both cases, Apple lost. Both times you had Apple, a company that handled the entire product soup-to-nuts, versus an ecosystem of vendors that released a broader array of products.

We see the exact same scenario playing out with Apple against Google (and its Open Handset Alliance). That's why most people in the technology industry expect Android to be the ultimate winner. They've seen it all before.

However, the smartphone market is far more fragmented than the PC market has ever been, and established platforms BlackBerry and Nokia's Symbian still dominate, even though they are struggling to keep up with the pace of innovation from Android and iPhone.

Both BlackBerry and Symbian have major platforms updates coming in 2010. Hewlett-Packard's purchase of Palm guarantees that the webOS platform will have the resources it needs to push forward. And, Microsoft has hit the reboot button on its mobile platform with Windows Phone 7. So, the smartphone market is not just about iPhone versus Android, even though they are the leading innovators.

Not all of these platforms will survive. But, it will be tough to put the genie back on the bottle with all of these platforms. Mobile is simply going to have more platforms and more choices than the PC market. There will likely be at least three big platforms and probably a couple niche platforms that serve specific audiences (enterprise, geographies or languages, etc.)

As all mobile phones become smartphones and as smartphones become the primary computing devices for most new users in emerging markets, this is going to be a huge growth market during the next decade. Nevertheless, even with all of its momentum, the lead isn't going to just fall into Android's lap.

In order to keep growing, Google needs to figure out the Android fragmentation issue (as I recently discussed), and how to keep innovating at a rapid pace without leaving too many of its users behind and thus creating disgruntled customers who could jump into the open arms of a competitor.

Also, don't forget that another front has been opened in the Android-iPhone war: Tablets.

Apple has scaled up its iPhone OS to run on its tablet computer, the iPad. There are a variety of vendors who would like to do the same with Android. Plus, HP has stated it would like to create webOS tablets and BlackBerry is rumored to be working on a tablet that would be companion for BlackBerry smartphones.

It will be important to watch the impact (and halo effect) that tablets could have on their smartphone cousins. Tablets have the potential to draw more developers to the platform, but they could also drive further fragmentation of the platform as well.

Also read:

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See photos of Android 2.2

Last week Google released Android 2.2, the latest version of the mobile OS. Take a look. Click the screenshot below to go to a photo gallery of Android 2.2.

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

92 comments
The Management consultant
The Management consultant

When we define mobile just what does this mean? The notion of mobile has clearly changed with smart phones the new netbooks,ipad,laptop,or mp3 player? Clearly opensource is very popular when developed and marketed as a mass market product? What of the new iphone OS? with failing sales in europe due to poor understanding of the market Android has now taken over from Apple as number one must have!! Apple's mangement reponse is to fall out with flash and tell the users not use porn... Many a joke has killed a company!

hfosteriii
hfosteriii

No, they can't even get the basics down for a phone! eg.totally hands free calling over blu-tooth. You have to press a button to start and confirm with a button press, plus the voice recognition is garbage!

Cayble
Cayble

When RIM released the Storm it was already behind the timing 8-Ball so to speak. The iPhone hadn't been out all that long and the iPhone already had numerous positive reviews and a growing legion of new users who by word of mouth alone promoted the iPhone well beyond what most normal advertising could hope to do. By time the Storm came out most people knew someone with an iPhone they could get a good look at. Needless to say that by time the Storm came out a lot of people who were considering a new smart phone had already invested in the iPhone or had at least committed to it based on its early reputation. Not to mention, the storms reviews were generally not spectacular. Now some time has passed, even early adopters of the iPhone are almost due for an upgrade/update in their hardware. Its at a point in time where one can feel free to expect that something bigger and better then the iPhone might be out there by now. Again, the iPhone has been around long enough that it is actually old news, even though its sales remain high and the reviews are still generally glowing, although they do seem to indicate that the design is no longer cutting edge. For Android to be getting a higher profile in the media now is very good timing for Google. They are just about where they need to be on the continuum to make an impact with anyone who is willing to try something new, much as the iPhone found itself when it was first released. That along with positive reviews put Android based phone in a very fortuitous marketing position to say the least. What could make it a rather narrow window of opportunity for Android to start dealing some ongoing killer blows is much of the same reason that gives some opportunity to Apple as well. Because the iPhone has been around for a while now Apple has had plenty of opportunity to knock what few cobwebs out of it they could and it should be just about ready for a significant overhaul. And of course we have seen recent news of this in the reports of the "found" next gen iPhone that was examined and photographed. Make no mistake, however complacent the general public has come to be over the iPhone, we all know the big hoopla that miraculously rises up out of the dust when ever Apple introduces anything touted to be new or improved. When it happens, not if but when, there will be a whole new rush on the "new iPhone" and its bound to create a new wave of iPhone purchasers who will not be buying Android for some period of time. So we will see how long Android enjoys this window of opportunity.

bio
bio

My wife - as technically unsavvy as they come - has a G1. It still makes her happy each and every day. Akward - ? Nope, Unpolished - ? Not in any way I can see. I'm a former Apple software developer and the G1 is still a great phone. I only wish the G1 would take the Android 2.x code without some hacking.

shakeelr7
shakeelr7

I have been using Android for long and found lots of bugs/errors and uploaded all on Android forum but very much disappointed by Android team and Its? OS. I still believe Nokia is the best.

meanppt
meanppt

... did a search on your article and didn't find any reference to it ...

robert.a.hatcher
robert.a.hatcher

For everyone else I wish Google well with Droid. I am sick of Apple. I don't use any of these various brands of mobile devices becuase I don't like small screens and I don't like small closely spaced buttons and I don't want to be tied real time to some small electronic thingy. I'll stick with a cell phone and a laptop.

tony
tony

Isn't apple bringing out a multi tasking OS for the iphone? That's got to be good

Dr.Vanostran
Dr.Vanostran

1. Blackberry can be used on almost every carrier in the world (over 475 of them). In the US, the iPhone is available on AT&T (T) only. 2. Blackberry is available in five form factors ? small keyboard, large keyboard, no keyboard, flip phone, and candy-bar. 3. Most Blackberries have keyboards, so you can actually type fast and with no errors. Helps while driving, walking, carrying something in your other hand ? all the time. iPhone: well? 4. Blackberry uses standardized (=inexpensive and available everywhere in the world) MicroUSB connector for synchronization/charging. iPhone has a much larger proprietary 30-pin connector. 5. Some carriers such as Verizon (VZ) and Sprint (S) offer unlimited international Blackberry data roaming for $40/month or less. iPhone does not. This could save you literally tens of thousands of dollars when you are abroad. 6. If your Blackberry is on T-Mobile USA, it also offers unlimited WiFi calling from anywhere in the world. This is with your existing number ? in and out ? so no new special number, procedure, etc. iPhone cannot do this (because it is only on AT&T; only T-Mobile USA offers this), and it can save you well over $100 per day when you?re abroad. Think $1 per minute savings, and you?re on the phone two hours per day. That?s $120/day. 7. Blackberry has expandable memory. iPhone is fixed and sold at 8, 16 or 32 gig only. 8. Blackberry has removable and expandable battery. iPhone is fixed. 9. Blackberry allows programs to multitask. iPhone has limited multitasking. 10. The newest Blackberry screen resolution is 480x360. iPhone is 480x320. 11. Blackberry allows communicating peer-to-peer via PIN identifier, circumventing the email system. No such iPhone equivalent. 12. Skype (EBAY) on the Blackberry? Yes, from anywhere to anywhere. Skype on iPhone? Only if you?re on WiFi. 13. Sling on the Blackberry? Yes, it?s free. Sling on iPhone? $30. 14. Google (GOOG) Voice on the Blackberry? Yes, it?s free. Google Voice on iPhone? Verboten. 15. Blackberry can be synchronized to multiple computers simultaneously, if you have multiple computers. 16. Multiple Blackberries can receive the same email feeds simultaneously, if you have multiple Blackberries. 17. Blackberry can sort the address book entries by company name, so you can scroll down a long list of names you don?t remember, but you just want to see who works for which company. Aside from sorting, the iPhone can take several seconds to search your address book, particularly if you have several thousand address book entries. 18. Blackberry isn?t slowed down by having, say, 10,000 or 100,000 address book entries. Try using an iPhone with 10,000 address book entries. 19. All major instant messengers are available on Blackberry. 20. Blackberry is available with multiple browsers from multiple suppliers. iPhone is available only with its standard Safari browser. 21. Blackberry synchronizes with iTunes ? and every other media management program. 22. Blackberry models with 480 pixel resolution and WiFi offer PrimeTime2Go, an $8/month TV service that works as a DVR. 23. Blackberry fits as many emails in the inbox as there is memory available (typically many tens of thousands). iPhone is limited to 200 emails. Yes, iPhone has a remote look-up capability, but that doesn?t do you any good when you?re on an airplane or are otherwise out of coverage. 24. Price: Unlimited iPhone voice/data service, including unlimited SMS, is $150/month. Blackberry can be had for much less. For example, unlimited Blackberry service is offered on Sprint for $100/month, T-Mobile USA $125/month, MetroPCS $50/month, although AT&T/Verizon match the iPhone at $150/month. 25. Prepaid ?no contract? flexibility: The AT&T web site says the iPhone is sold with a 2-year contract only, although once upon a time it offered a ?contract-free? iPhone if you paid close to $899 up-front for the iPhone itself. In contrast, you can get prepaid no-contract Blackberry service on any old or new T-Mobile USA Blackberry handset for $65/month (600 minutes, unlimited Blackberry/Internet, but no SMS), or you can get truly unlimited-everything prepaid $50/month service from MetroPCS, if its handset selection and coverage areas are acceptable to you. That?s ONE THIRD the cost of the iPhone, and there is no contract. 26. Blackberry is an encrypted military-grade security platform, with 100% market share at FBI, CIA, White House, Congress, Department of Defense, major consultancies and major investment banks. In contrast, iPhone has security vulnerabilities. Please see this document for details as to why the Blackberry is the only platform approved for use in our national security agencies. It compares against the iPhone and Microsoft Mobile platforms (.pdf). Taken from http://seekingalpha.com/article/155015-blackberrys-26-advantages-over-iphone

maj37
maj37

You miss an important point about the previous losses by Apple, not that I am an Apple fan I never buy their over priced stuff. In the previous fights one reason Apple lost was that they were already behind. IBM took over the microcomputer market when they introduced the original PC, because all of the corporate buyers thought the market was just toys until IBM entered. Then when the fight became Apple versus Microsoft there were so many more M/S compatible systems and everyone wanted to share files and the easiest way to share files with your friends then was to have a compatible system and hand them a floppy, so most people that bought a system bought one compatible with their work system or a friend?s system. Today with e-mail, the Web etc. sharing files, pictures or whatever, is much easier and you are not restricted to people with compatible systems. maj

BlingsWorld
BlingsWorld

(Sounding like Robot). "DRIODddddd!!!!!" I can't wait to get my IT Degree....I WANT IN! BlingsWorld.com....remember the Name. ;-)

rswinney
rswinney

The jury is still out. I believe the average consumer is not ready for any tablet due to price and/or easy portability (size). I expect a growing demand among professionals for a tablet, particularly the iPad increasing its capabilities for WiFi, but by the end of the year. The tablet is still too young to affect mobile platform for many individuals.

bookkeeper
bookkeeper

Don't get me wrong Android it a pretty kewl OS to have on a touch screen device but you also have to consider that the other company,s are not going to stand back and do nothing. If you come up with the right gimmick or fade you can compete with top dog. Signed Just an opinion

wjvelasquez
wjvelasquez

when i can install everything in the SD card and android support Push maill of msn i'll buy a android phone.

R_Sharpe
R_Sharpe

The Q1 figures are interesting but what is not taken into account is sales of the ipad (I know, technically not a phone but add skype to it??) and also are people waiting for the new iphone, which looks better and will obviously be technically superior to the current version?

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I have to agree that right now, Android's fragmentation is its Achilles' Heel. One thing Microsoft had going for it was that all the different hardware manufacturers worked to keep up with the latest version of Dos/Windows over the years; the OS was not fragmented beyond the physical capabilities of the hardware that used it. As yet, the Android devices likely have the ability to upgrade their OS, but because they each try to put their own front end on it, they don't dare try for fear of breaking the home screen that identifies the device for what it is. In other words, unless the manufacturers accommodate Android's update system better, Android will never become as ubiquitous as Windows. It may retain a significant share, but not the kind of dominance currently seen by Windows on PCs.

wescravn
wescravn

Google has no real chance of competing against APPLE. They may be marketing products which are rip-offs of apples much like Windows. All Apple's lawyers need to-do is claim infringement of patents, and Google's stocks will plument, leaving Android, falling out of space. The snow leopard doesn't reveal itself early it hides and blends in, but when it attacks the first strike is deadly! :)

jaxdevil
jaxdevil

They already have, go to Ebay and search for Android tablet. They have thousands, some white-label, some brand (like Archos). I have one with me right now. They range from as low as $90 to as high as $500+. The one I have was just under $200 with shipping and has a 9" screen. Just a tad smaller than the ipad, at less than half the price, and it is running Android. So I have access to the full array of applications as my Motorola Android phone, but in a tablet PC form factor. These are flooding out everywhere. I plan to get my wife and kids one each this payday. I think Android already took the market, we just haven't realized it yet. Even if Apple cut their tablets in half, they can't compete with a $100 tablet computer. Not to mention the shear number of free apps on the Android OS. The iPad might be pretty, but most people out here still work for a living and are going to think long and hard before dropping $500 (plus the cost of the charger, etc.) for the iPad when they can get 90% of the same thing for 20% of the price. plus if I drop this or it gets stolen, I am not going to lose too much sleep over $200. I can't say the same about $500+ dollars going poof.

DrToddK
DrToddK

I started life in smartphones in 97 with winCE mobile 2.1, I have been win mobile till 2000 I switched to blackberry, 2004 back to win mobile 3.0, all to april 2010 to win 6.5, on htc with verizon, my wife and I are now on motorola droids, we will never look back, we just dislike the iphone, android is open I can make my own programs as I have done, you can not with win mobile or iphone, so yes it will be the top of the heap

davidhbrown
davidhbrown

Actually, I think the fragmentation in the cell phone market is about the same as for early PCs, if not a bit less. I think you're forgetting all of the other players in the early non-IBM-compatible PC market that haven't survived as PC manufacturers today. Commodore, Radio Shack, Osborne, Texas Instruments, Timex-Sinclair, Wang... just a few off the top of my head.

tsecreto
tsecreto

I do not think we will or should ever have one system that will dominate the mobile industry. I am getting my first Android phone next month with the Sprint EVO because it is so much of a device that can act as a laptop for me. There is a but, as we all start using phones that have real computer operating systems in them we need to expect the issues that associate with computers. Too many people complain when a phone hangs or something does not work perfect, it took quite a while for computers to run extremely well and the same will hold true for PPC/Smart phones. My last 2 phones were Windows 6.1 and since I am in Tech with some advantages Windows has worked very well for me in my Palm Pro from Sprint and built by HTC. The bottom line is that with the momentum that Android is getting and being backed by Google and some pretty big players Android should be among the top tier operating systems for sometime. But just around the corner who knows. We are in for one heck of a ride in terms of cool stuff to come.

d_sarkar
d_sarkar

The biggest differentiator for the Android platform is it's openness - it will have similar success as Linux - at the least

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Let's wait and see what MS has up its sleeves. It may be a case of MS being too late to the party though.

smcpartlin
smcpartlin

Don't laugh but Microsoft will eventually come out with a usefull mobile OS. In fact it's not that bad now.. Sure it semes a bit slow and it love to eat a battery (Android phones eat battery's even more) but they can do a lot. I see the marketplace as a good start with microsoft's vision. (I do not want to have to connect my phone to a computer to install an app) Microsoft Exchange rules the email nest for corp's today. So whatever phone works best with Exchange is the way to go. (Blackberry) is going to loose ground due to the fact it's not needed anymore. Who wants a specail server to get your companies email in and out? Each new version of Exchange and outlook is what's going to cause the Windows Mobile market to grow. Windows Mobile will never apeal to "kids" and toy users who want an app to tell them the price of tea in China when they are in France. Andrioid may pass the Iphone but I'm not sure of even that. Droid is geeky not sexy.

jaxdevil
jaxdevil

Nokia is an OS now? Or are you comparing apples to oranges....

Hazydave
Hazydave

Actually, no, the personal computers were not toys.. there were plenty doing real work: Apple ][s, Commodores (particularly in Europe), CP/M machines, etc. IBM had two things going for it. For one, they were IBM... the same company that sold you your enterprise mainframe, if your company had a mainframe. So you believed what their salespeople told you about the PC. You never even spoke to the Apple salesperson, if you were the corporate IT guy. So they had a natural foot in the door. Next was spreadsheets. The original IBM PC was actually slower at most things that a tricked out Apple ][ or a faster CP/M machine. That is, until businesses started using spreadsheets for mathematical modeling. The PC didn't come with, but it had a socket for the 8087 FPU, which let it run your spreadsheet a few hundred times faster than the faster Apple or Kaypro. So in that, sure, they may have been seen more "serious", but really, there were plenty of business computers being sold in the 8-bit days. Just not to large companies.

Daughain
Daughain

I'm expecting the Android fragmentation issues to start clearing up as revisions slow down. I always felt Android 1.2-1.6 should have stayed in testing, rather than being released, but, everyone wants to show off their new toy, neh? With 2.2 Android should have a solid core OS that allows manufacturers to install their own front ends on, a move that may help with the brand loyalty concept. Companies don't need to design a whole custom OS for their products so users can comfortably switch to newer devices, they just need to keep up with the front ends. Beyond this, tablets are getting to the point where carrying both a smartphone and a "computer" is redundant. ICD has announced a trio of tablets that will completely take the place of most smartphones. They are Android based phones, in a tablet package effectively. No tethering needed, just connect your BT headset, and talk to your boss while looking up stuff on the web.At this point, why own two devices? I've been awaiting this development since I modded my first Moto V3 back in 05. Sadly, that phone could have competed with the other smartphones out there, if it hadn't been released with so much functionality turned off. when the poor thinjg finally died, I ended up with a Blackberry simply to retain functionality I was used to. So mucvh for my ramble. =)

meski.oz
meski.oz

For form-factor? They aren't including things that are a bit bigger, either (netbooks). Let's keep it to phone form-factor, and put the ipad with other tablet devices. What do the sales figures look like in that market?

meski.oz
meski.oz

But I'd think that the kind of abstraction layer that exists between the hardware and applications doesn't exist there. Gut feeling is that if they did it would sacrifice the battery or the speed of the device. So we probably have to put up with fragmentation. The alternative is tying yourself to a lowest common denominator legacy framework.

tonycopp
tonycopp

Fanboys who like it perfect so they don't need to think about the process are like toddlers with their Fisher-Price device. It does what it does, then you push the non-proactive brick aside and get another with embedded battery. It is designed to live until the juice runs out. Patent rights?...Apple doesn't bother to provide for copyright owner's right to be paid for their content, but that situation will be resolved rather soon as Jobs is being made painfully aware.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

That's quite a nightmare you've dreamed up (playing on your username.) However, Android hasn't topped out, yet; it's biggest advantage for the moment is its broad market exposure. I expect the reason Android is doing so well is people who want iPhones but can't because it's not offered by their service are buying Android as a 'suitable substitute' while the rest are those who want iPhones, but don't want Apple. It's possible that this market could top out soon, but honestly as long as Nokia and RIM have to scramble and bargain-basement-price their devices, both Apple and Android have a lot of room to grow. On the other hand, if the iPhone does become available on other services, it may just be that only the anti-Apple contingent and those directly advised by that contingent will be the only ones buying Android.

QAonCall
QAonCall

Or part of the media arm? According to HTC, Apple has done some infringing of their own!

slm
slm

Umm, Apple's lawyers already filed a boatload of patent infringement claims.

devolution23
devolution23

...a million units in the first 3 weeks. people might be thinking long and hard about the cost but an awful lot of them are still dropping the $500+ on iPads.

DoCAnalyst
DoCAnalyst

I think the iPhone set the bar, but like typical Apple mentality they keep it closed and proprietary. That is why the Mac has always remained a niche computer. It had the possibility of a great deal more, but they did not want to let anyone else in. That was the reason Microsoft was so much more successful, is they made an OS that was ?good enough? and licensed it to every company trying to make a PC. If Apple had done that with their OS at the beginning, we would probably be saying Bill who? As far as Android making it open source is going to gain ground quicker against Apple, and with AT&T?s hold on the iPhone market till 2012 Apple will suffer for it, even though they basically created the market for it, exclusive deals like that will only last so long. If they had sold the product though all the major cell phone providers I don?t think many people would even care about Android. As a user of the iPhone, I really like the phone and really appreciate what it can do, but what I do with it; I can do with any other smart phone out there, so when my contract is up. I doubt I?ll stay with the iPhone.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

There were a lot more platforms in the early PC market. The only difference is that there weren't as many of them that really gained critical mass the way we've seen with multiple mobile platforms. Still, I'll probably expand on this idea in a future article. So thanks for bringing it up.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

[i]"Microsoft Exchange rules the email nest for corp's today. So whatever phone works best with Exchange is the way to go."[/i] The problem here is that Exchange and Outlook are showing some serious issues lately, especially in capacity and timeliness. One corporation I know that uses Outlook exclusively for email and scheduling keeps running into issues with mailbox capacity (more than 200 emails in inbox stops new mails from arriving) and meeting alerts arriving as much as 2 hours after the scheduled time; making the recipient either late or absent from the meeting unless contacted by phone. Honestly, with these kinds of issues, is MS Exchange/MS Office really the best way to go? Is it really the most efficient application package to use? I'm not saying there's anything better available on the open market, but there's hardly anything worse, either.

meski.oz
meski.oz

Which is rather telling. They don't think they'd win against a company that has a similar number of lawyers, but think they might against a smaller overseas company. That's the morals I'm coming to expect from Apple and Jobs.

meski.oz
meski.oz

But that doesn't mean the iPad is going to make it long-term in the market-place. It's a version .0, and I predict a lot of bleeding edges on it. (initial guesses as to what they might be would be batteries, overheating, display problems including cracking)

jaxdevil
jaxdevil

of course the iPad is a huge seller, and it WILL sell more. But as far as taking over, it won't be the iPad. There are a lot of people who boght the iPad off the bat, and with tech like this quite a large chunk of those who can afford it, get it as soon as it becomes available, they don't wait, those who do are going to be looking at other options. Besides $500, and when we say $500 thats just for those who want to buy it and use it until the intial charge dies. It needs a charger and those cost extra. So, those people who buy them are not the great mass out there. The largest group of people it just is not in the cards to spend $500 on an iPad when you can get an apad for $100. Some of them don't have $500. My wife only brings home $1000 a month. I make a few times that on a single check, but she isn't alone, and not making the least by far. If she wanted the iPad she wouldn't have the money to get it until it had been out a year and she resigned herself to buy one that was a display model only, one that won't even turn on. has anyone gone to eBay and searched 'Completed Items' for iPads, then searched 'Completed Items' for "Android Tablet" and determine what the difference is.. I haven't done it myself but I can only imagine....

Hazydave
Hazydave

Critical mass is a relative thing. In the 8-bit era, a million units was a pretty amazing accomplishment, and many companies had a number of very good years, at 20% or whatever of the market. The smart phone market is working along very similar lines. The cell phone market is gigantic, but given that the smartphone market is small, and the applications market, in general, a tiny piece, most developers aren't going to see modern PC volumes on their apps for some time to come.. a few do, sure. So they're simpler programs, smaller development teams, shorter development cycles.. just as in the 8-bit days. It'll take a larger market and larger devices before larger apps are terribly practical. This may be boosted by tablets, at least for Apple, Android, and (apparently now) WebOS. Eventually, the complexity of app development could drive out the lesser platforms.. that was a factor in the early days of the 16/32-bit markets... MS-DOS hit critical mass, Apple's Mac was a distant #2, and there wasn't much room in the long run for the next in line, like Commodore and Atari, despite selling millions a year for awhile.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... because it's not the same kind of fragmentation.

paul.burden
paul.burden

Sorry but with more than 10 years of Exchange admin experience I can say with some certainty that these problems are due to the configuration of the server and not the product itself.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"The largest group of people it just is not in the cards to spend $500 on an iPad when you can get an apad for $100. Some of them don't have $500." I submit if they can't afford the iPad, they probably can't afford the 3G connection or home broadband connection and home wireless equipment to use a cheaper device. That limits them to using the device on free WiFi networks. Me, I'm not going to drop even $100 for a device I have to go to Starbucks to use. School or library use for kids may be an option, but a full-featured laptop would be more practical in that market and can be had for $350 to $400. The iPad comes with a charger. I've read some reports there are distribution issues getting a second charger, so users have to remember to unplug their original wall-wart before hitting the road. http://gizmodo.com/5458376/apple-ipads-myriad-optional-dongles-usb-sd-ac-bbq I acknowledge the article linked is undated.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Error #1: [i]"... when we say $500 thats just for those who want to buy it and use it until the intial charge dies. It needs a charger and those cost extra."[/i] The iPad does come with its own charger in the box--no extra cost. Any company would be foolish to do otherwise. unless they permit off-the-shelf batteries and provide the first set free. Since the iPad uses sealed-in proprietary batteries, and since Apple is not foolish, you get what you need to use the iPad out of the box--short of the initial set-up connected to iTunes on your computer. Error #2: [i]"The largest group of people it just is not in the cards to spend $500 on an iPad when you can get an apad for $100."[/i] Again you seem to be wrong, since the iPad is selling at an average rate of 200,000 per week. In fact, I would expect that you'll find that all those eBay tablets combined don't add up to what Apple sells in just one week. There's an old saying you should keep in mind: "You get what you pay for, and you pay for what you get." If you buy cheap, you get cheap. The usability, quality and reliability of these eBay 'white tag' tablets at $100 are going to be so poor that most of them won't last 6 months out in the wild, where the iPad is built to last at least 2 years. Yes, technology can advance a long ways in a mere 2 years, but when do you consider a purchase wasted money--when you've spent $100 every few months to buy/replace the latest something gadget, or when you paid $500 and managed to make it last 2, 3 or even more years? To me, a single larger purchase that endures is a much better value than a bunch of little purchases that become worthless within weeks.

gechurch
gechurch

Yes, there is software scalable enough. Exchange is an example of such a piece of software. It has to be planned a hell of a lot better, and done incorrectly you should expect all sorts of issues. That's not a limitation of the software though.

meski.oz
meski.oz

Which is why it's a mistake to try and use a centralised system like Exchange to do it. How many million gmail accounts do you suppose there are? Yes, I know gmail has issues regarding privacy, security etc, but the design is more scalable than Exchange will ever be.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

These people often need to keep email information up to and exceeding a year old in a very large international corporation. There's almost no stored graphics (other than tiny 'smiley'-sized gifs in their signatures) but the text of the message is critical information in the short term and essential data even months after the discussion has been 'forgotten.' A single software error might not be discovered until months after an application is installed, and the cause/proof may (and often is) found in that months-old email. Of course, I'm talking about systems administrators here, who tend to be information pack rats.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... my experience with the organization is more in making the customer access points easier to use for the customers. However, when a business has so many hundred-thousand employees, is any software really scalable enough to do the job correctly?

masonm
masonm

I have been supporting exchange for almost 5 years, and I have NEVER seen those kinds of issues. We have a relatively small organization (around 200 email users), but we have users with 5+GB mailboxes. I have never seen delays in mail being delivered or calendar info updating. In fact, the only performance issues we ever have are on the desktop side because people keep too much email which causes Outlook to be sluggish. (And yes, I know you can control that on the server side, we are working on that, baby steps :) Mason

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