|By Bob Gourley||
|January 23, 2013 03:54 PM EST||
In yesterday’s Mobile review, I went on a little (or not so little) rant about Gizmodo and TechCrunch articles decrying Android for cheapness. The articles can be found here: Android is Popular Because it’s Cheap, Not Because it’s Good by Sam Biddle (Gizmodo) and The Truth Is That Android Is Cheap, Not Good by John Biggs (TechCrunch). Both of these writers are die-hard Apple fanatics, you can read their trolling yourself, but even worse, when they “review” Android devices, it’s as a secondary device, they do not force themselves to actually use them exclusively. I am sick of the FUD that many mainstream bloggers see fit to spew forth, and wish to rectify it.
When I undertook the iPad Mini experiment, I forced myself to use the device exclusively. I still used my Android smartphone, but I only picked up the Nexus 7 to keep it updated, not to browse or anything more. I read books on the iPad Mini, I surfed the web, I used it for Evernote (and cooking) as well as watching YouTube videos. And I did not like it. My reasons are myriad, but I do not have the arrogance to claim my reasons are right (or the “truth”). Sam’s article regarding the rise of the Android platform includes gems like this one: “People without money happened.” The original pricing scheme for the iPhone was 4GB/8GB $499/599 with two-year contract. That makes the cost of the first iPhone over $700, for 4GB of storage. Buying that doesn’t make you smart or cool or discerning, it makes you a sucker. The first iPhone was a HUGE jump from non-touch optimized interfaces, but the rest of the applications, etc, were nothing great. Capability-wise it was not far in front of other devices, it was just touch-optimized. Anything else is pure revisionist history.
I have often decried when people will buy $1 phones on contract (devices such as the iPhone 4 or Samsung Galaxy S3 from Amazon Wireless) that they are doing themselves a disservice, I don’t like it when people will even buy $99 phones on contract (devices such as the iPhone 4S or the Motorola Droid RAZR HD MAXX). Because if you are buying on contract, you should get the most out of your commitment to the network, because they will take you for everything that they can. Sam denigrates that Samsung is marketing to African Americans by using LeBron James and the Galaxy Note 2 (if there’s a person for whom a phone as large as the Note makes sense, it’s the best basketball player in the world, but I digress). He references that the “Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project shows that Android is the chosen smartphone of people without money.” Not only is this a remarkably entitled and pompous statement, but it ignores other stats from that study, such as 50% of Americans use the mobile web for the majority of their browsing. In Sam’s words, Apple is both “too stubborn” and “too smart” to go after poorer Americans (I’ve noted in the past that Apple will struggle in the developing world until they create a pricing strategy that makes sense in those nations). Poor people need smartphones too, and they need other technology as well. Apple does not have to charge $329 for the 16GB/WiFi iPad Mini, or $500 for the 16GB/WiFi iPad, they choose to do so, to create a (false) sense of prestige and quality. Apple makes barriers to entry so high, that in my mind the best valued device is the 16 GB iPhone 5 ($199 on contract – the same as top quality Android devices). For every other mobile device, there is an equivalent Android device for less.
Here are some undeniable ways that Android is better than iPhone:
- Google Now – the Search and Personal Assistant capability scrapes your e-mail and web searches to return you information that you desire. This can be the traffic on your daily commute, the status of packages you’ve ordered, and the scores of your favorite teams. It can offer information on your flight status, and Google keeps adding more. Popular Science called Google Now the Innovation of the Year, no small feat. It is innovative, and nothing Apple has touches it.
- True Multitasking – the multitasking in iOS is bunk, and garbage. It barely works and only for a handful of programs. People throw around that “Android is open…thus better,” without realizing what the “openness” means. It means that any program can be running in the background, present in your notifications, enabling interaction with many tasks at once.
- Sharing – the Android operating system allows programs to talk to each other. It allows them to share data to any source. I can take something and instantly add it to any other installed app. I can share data to my Pocket application, enabling offline reading and consumption. This is simply not possible with iOS. iOS only allows you to share data with the applications of Apple’s choice, and then not as cleanly.
- Customization – Android allows you to download the browser, mapping, texting, email, launcher, keyboard and anything else you desire and make it the default app of choice. iOS does not. Plain and simple, you can create the Android experience that suits you, how it suits you. This includes things like widgets (available on both your homescreen and your lockscreen) and which apps even show up on your homescreen. I could go on for days, but the device that you use the most (smartphone) should be customized to fit your style, Android allows this, iOS does not.
- Google Integration – Google’s integration into Android is (no way!) extraordinary. You can access any of their top notch services from your Android phone, including Google Voice, Drive, Maps and Mail. My Google TV app is amazing, and annoying for others who want to control my TV. Google’s app development is so good, their apps are also recognized as top iOS apps as well. Google integration is a deal maker for me, and really hamstrung iOS’s compatibility with my life.
- App Scaling - I wrote about this extensively in my review of my time with the iPad Mini, but it is important. Yes iOS has more “iPad” apps, but only because it has to. If the app is non-optimized, it is a miserable experience. Pixelation, not even fitting the edges of the screen and more.
- Android lets you choose - There is no one-size fits all Android solution. If you like a skin, you can buy that OEM’s devices. If you want water resistant, there are the Droid RAZR series of phones, if you want removeable batteries, there are the Samsung Galaxy lines of phones. If you want a bigger phone (Galaxy Note) or smaller (Motorola RAZR M). Android gives you choices, in device, options, and capabilities. Everything about the Android ecosystem is designed to give the consumer options instead of having one company making all the choices for you.
To further this argument (and derail the “cheapness” argument), when I purchased my HTC Evo 4G it was the exact same price as an iPhone, except Sprint did not carry the iPhone. The same was true for smartphones on T-Mobile and Verizon. The iPhone is not as popular because it is not as universal, not because it is cheap. Cheap iPhones are always available off contract. The iPhone was not even available for any carrier besides AT&T until 2011 – which drove Android marketshare more than any other factor. Users wanted a similar experience to iOS, and it could only be found via Android. iPhones may be a symbol of the rich and success, but they are not only for the rich. Many users rely on MVNOs (pre-paid carriers) for their service, only Straight Talk is offering an unlocked iPhone on their network. Not making the iPhone available may have been a marketing ploy (and a result of Steve Jobs’ insane controlling tendencies) but it crippled iOS more than anything else.
Lastly, if Apple allowed Samsung or HTC or even Motorola to design an iOS product, they’d jump at the chance, but Apple won’t. The more you look at it, the reason that Android is trouncing iOS in adoption and use is Apple. In every way, they have made their devices harder to get and less universal. They are not bad devices, not in the slightest, but they are meant for a target consumer, and it shows. This consumer is invested in the iOS world, has a personal computer (Mac or Windows), and purchases content online. For those of us who do not fit that bill, iOS is not for us. I think despite Apple’s inroad into emerging markets, their target consumers mostly reside in the US, Canada and Northern Europe. The steep barriers to entry designed at countries with heavy middle classes do not translate to poorer nations. Apple is the reason Android is winning, not the other way around.
Despite my list, I do not think that Android is for everyone. I think for many users (especially those already invested in the iOS ecosystem) the opportunity cost is too high to switch. But, for others, Android is the perfect place for them to reside. When you start with a blank slate, both mobile operating systems are equally easy to learn and master. Making technology choices is an intensely personal decision, one that should be chosen on each individual’s needs and not because some tech blogger says so. If you are not informed when making technology choices, you are doomed to regret them. I often pull out my Nexus 4 and amaze iPhone users with what I can do, but I’m extra dorky that way. My problem is not that iOS is bad or anything, it’s that too many bloggers fill the net with FUD, in cheap attempts to garner pageviews and attention. Instead of providing true analysis, they spit rhetoric and opinion, and pass them as “truths.” Please keep your minds open when reading, and take anything guys like Biddle and Biggs write with a grain of salt.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Aug. 31, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 367
The Internet of Things is in the early stages of mainstream deployment but it promises to unlock value and rapidly transform how organizations manage, operationalize, and monetize their assets. IoT is a complex structure of hardware, sensors, applications, analytics and devices that need to be able to communicate geographically and across all functions. Once the data is collected from numerous endpoints, the challenge then becomes converting it into actionable insight.
Aug. 31, 2015 07:00 PM EDT
Consumer IoT applications provide data about the user that just doesn’t exist in traditional PC or mobile web applications. This rich data, or “context,” enables the highly personalized consumer experiences that characterize many consumer IoT apps. This same data is also providing brands with unprecedented insight into how their connected products are being used, while, at the same time, powering highly targeted engagement and marketing opportunities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nathan Treloar, President and COO of Bebaio, will explore examples of brands transforming their businesses by t...
Aug. 31, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 246
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts, GM of Platform at FinancialForce.com, will discuss the value of business applications on wearable ...
Aug. 31, 2015 03:15 PM EDT
While many app developers are comfortable building apps for the smartphone, there is a whole new world out there. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Narayan Sainaney, Co-founder and CTO of Mojio, will discuss how the business case for connected car apps is growing and, with open platform companies having already done the heavy lifting, there really is no barrier to entry.
Aug. 31, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 144
With the proliferation of connected devices underpinning new Internet of Things systems, Brandon Schulz, Director of Luxoft IoT – Retail, will be looking at the transformation of the retail customer experience in brick and mortar stores in his session at @ThingsExpo. Questions he will address include: Will beacons drop to the wayside like QR codes, or be a proximity-based profit driver? How will the customer experience change in stores of all types when everything can be instrumented and analyzed? As an area of investment, how might a retail company move towards an innovation methodolo...
Aug. 31, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 460
The Internet of Things (IoT) is about the digitization of physical assets including sensors, devices, machines, gateways, and the network. It creates possibilities for significant value creation and new revenue generating business models via data democratization and ubiquitous analytics across IoT networks. The explosion of data in all forms in IoT requires a more robust and broader lens in order to enable smarter timely actions and better outcomes. Business operations become the key driver of IoT applications and projects. Business operations, IT, and data scientists need advanced analytics t...
Aug. 31, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 421
Contrary to mainstream media attention, the multiple possibilities of how consumer IoT will transform our everyday lives aren’t the only angle of this headline-gaining trend. There’s a huge opportunity for “industrial IoT” and “Smart Cities” to impact the world in the same capacity – especially during critical situations. For example, a community water dam that needs to release water can leverage embedded critical communications logic to alert the appropriate individuals, on the right device, as soon as they are needed to take action.
Aug. 31, 2015 12:00 PM EDT
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Aug. 31, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 896
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Aug. 31, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 233
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
Aug. 31, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 164
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
Aug. 31, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 661
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevOps to advance innovation and increase agility. Specializing in designing, imple...
Aug. 31, 2015 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 308
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lee Williams, a producer of the first smartphones and tablets, will talk about how he is now applying his experience in mobile technology to the design and development of the next generation of Environmental and Sustainability Services at ETwater. He will explain how M2M controllers work through wirelessly connected remote controls; and specifically delve into a retrofit option that reverse-engineers control codes of existing conventional controller systems so they don't have to be replaced and are instantly converted to become smart, connected devices.
Aug. 31, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 127
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
Aug. 31, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 427
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Aug. 31, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 457
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Aug. 28, 2015 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 222
Akana has announced the availability of the new Akana Healthcare Solution. The API-driven solution helps healthcare organizations accelerate their transition to being secure, digitally interoperable businesses. It leverages the Health Level Seven International Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (HL7 FHIR) standard to enable broader business use of medical data. Akana developed the Healthcare Solution in response to healthcare businesses that want to increase electronic, multi-device access to health records while reducing operating costs and complying with government regulations.
Aug. 26, 2015 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 196
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
Aug. 2, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 559
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Aug. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 488