Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why Google's Android Will Repeat Microsoft's Mistakes

How fast and how predictably can Android users upgrade their system?  It is a big fragmented mess reminiscent of Windows in the 1990s.

Google is making the same mistake with Android as Microsoft did with Windows in the 1990s.  It is a fragmented market. recently posted an article on the rather torturous path Android upgrades have to travel to get to the different Android phones.  First before we proceed, does anyone know how many different Android phones there are now?  Does anyone know what versions of Android OS each phone is running?  Even more MORE important, does anyone know which of these relatively new phones qualify for an upgrade to the latest Android OS?  We think not many if any know these things.  We certainly do not.  This confusion causes indecision on the part of customers.  Even though, many Android phones are selling, even more could be sold if there was a clear understanding of what Android OS they run and what features ALL Android phones have in common with each other.  This is NOT the case with the iPhone.  There are a limited number of iOS that those phones can run.  Most apps can be run on all of the different versions of the iOS.  And IF someone owns an iPhone they usually have a very clear idea what things that phone will be able to do with ANY other iPhone.  Keep it simple stupid!  Choice is good but NOT when it confuses the customer!

Case #1 - The Overall Situation
Here is a video we found on YouTube which explains the confusion pretty well.  Formula1matt is very accurate in his statements and obviously knows the situation with Android phones well.  He is technically oriented, referring himself as a technoratti and he still has questions, imagine a simple end user with no time or interest to keep up with these things.  If you cannot see the embedded video here is the link:

The confusion reigns.  Now people complain about Apple's brutal suppression of open architecture or of anything that Steve Jobs does not approve of.  But perhaps these same people should consider that the end result is a dependable and easy user experience.  This is a feature that has been missing from most Microsoft products and with the Android platform as well.

Velocity Micro Android Tablet
Case# 2 - Velocity Micro Android Tablet
This product is a tablet being sold by Amazon as a "Android Table."  It is the Velocity Micro 7" Android Tablet.  It is being sold for $218.00.  A very attractive price, but in the term "Android" it is not clear what you get.  It would inconceivable to an iPhone user that if he purchased an iPhone he would not have access to the Apple's App Store.  But in the Android world this is totally possible.  We will quote from some of the user reviews on this product.  One purchaser wrote in a review:
How about I play one of the tens of thousands of games on the android market? Ummm, let's see, where's that Android Market app? Sorry - no Android Market. There is the Cruz Market, though, so that's gotta have the same apps I like, right? Nope. In fairness, I didn't search for Czech HangMan, just those Angry Birds, which were nowhere to be found.
The question is what do you get when you get something that runs an Android OS?  You cannot be sure.  All you can say, we suppose, is that you get a device that runs the core version of the OS.  That is all.  Another reviewer wrote: 
The functionality is extremely slow, the touchscreen is very unresponsive and about as sensitive as a rock and the application store is nothing short of a joke. I wouldn't recommend this product to anyone for the simple fact that you can spend an extra 200 dollars and get an i-pad which makes this tablet seem like a 20 year old piece of technology.
Now to be fair, this is not Google's fault.  They did not manufacture this product.  But to an uninitiated user, they will judge it as an Android device.   Google will get the black eye on this product.  This in our opinion is the key to Apple's success.  They have control and can therefore assume complete control over the quality of the user experience on ANYTHING that has Apple's logo on it!  This is why Steve Jobs is such a fanatic and dictator.  This is why his products are selling in astronomical numbers.  This is why they will always be the finest manufactured and detailed devices.

Case #3 - The Samsung Galaxy S 4G
click to enlarge via: computerworld
This phone which was introduced several days ago sports Android 2.2 (Froyo).  Apparently though, many Samsung owners are a little angry about this development.  They are wondering when they will be able to upgrade the phones they own NOW.  The statistics are pitiful.  The mighty Droid had to wait 54.5 from the time Android 2.2 was released to be able to get on their phones.  HTC handsets had to wait 56 days.  Samsung had to wait 159 days!  Computer world released this chart which detailed how many "Android" phones can have the latest version of the Android OS.  It is shocking.

You might ask why this is the case?  Why would it take so long to upgrade?  Gigacom explains what we have known for a time:
Two recent studies illustrate the issue, which to be fair, is complicated not just by handset manufacturers but by the carriers too, who have to test them, integrate their own services, then push them out to handsets. Having said that, all handset makers have to deal with the carriers, and several manufacturers are far faster than Samsung.
Wow!  What happened to the glories of "open architecture?"  Where is the openness here?? Carriers have to test the phones with the OS?  They have to "integrate" their own useless money-costing services?  It is quite simple obviously, the carriers want to control the user experience - and Google is letting them.  This will cost Google a lot in the end.  In an iPhone it is Apple that controls the user experience not AT&T or Verizon.  It is true that the dropped calls in AT&T have caused Apple some PR, but in the end it would have been far worse if Apple had allowed AT&T to control everything.

Until this fact changes, the Android OS will NEVER surpass Apple's iOS.  If it outsells the iPhone it means little.  Apple is still selling millions at a greater profit than HTC or Motorola.  Apple will still be "the innovator."  Apple will be the sterling brand for those who want the best in hardware and integrated software.

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