Seems like every month or two another iPhone killer is released. First it was the BlackBerry Storm, which turned out to be such a bad device, the only thing it ended up killing was itself. Then there was the Palm Pre, which did not even threaten the iPhone’s throne in the least bit. There are of course many other devices along the way that caused people to throw out the overly used and ridiculous “iPhone Killer” title.
This time it’s Motorola, Google, and Verizon’s turn with the new Motorola Droid device. Now don’t get me wrong, this is one amazing mobile phone. It is thinner, faster, and sexier than most of its competitors, with a 13.7 mm body, a 3.7” multi touch capacitive touch screen. It boasts all the goodies you can possibly imagine given the available technologies of today’s mobile industry. That includes an accelerometer, a full QWERTY keyboard, blazing fast HSUPA, Wifi, Google GPS (more about this later), Stereo Bluetooth, a 5MP camera, Android 2.0, and 16GB of on onboard memory plus a MicroSD slot.
Seems pretty perfect, doesn’t it? Well it is pretty darn close, and the Droid is on the way to huge success in my opinion, but it, along with its predecessors, will not kill the iPhone. Here are five reasons why the Droid might cause a small dent in iPhone sales, but will not bring it down:
- Apps: This is the first and most blatant reason the iPhone will stay on top for some time. The App Store, as of a few days ago, has 100,000 apps for the iPhone. That number, according to experts, will stand on approximately 250,000 by the end of 2010. Now, I am not belittling the Android App Market with its 10,000 apps, but I kinda am…10,000 apps is an amazing number considering how young the Android App Market is, but for them to catch up to Apple’s numbers, it is going to take time, and from what I can tell Apple is not standing around waiting for Android to catch up. According to the App Store project manager at Apple, they approve hundreds of new apps daily.So when we are talking about phones at the level of the iPhone 3Gs and Droid, the kind of people using these phones are going to want apps, and a lot of them. I am thinking they will see beyond the Droid’s impressive specs, and look to Apple’s App Store to meet their software needs.
- OS: I am a big fan of Android, I really am. I have used the HTC Magic and the Samsung Galaxy, both very impressive devices. However, as nice as it is to have an open OS, and deep Google integration, at the end of the day, most mobile users want their phone’s OS to be as easy to use as possible.The iPhone has been around for a few years now, and somehow its OS never gets old. Not a day goes by when I don’t see someone showing off the iPhone’s UI to someone else. They might be showing off a cool app and how smoothly it runs on the iPhone or how impressive the photo viewing capabilities are on the iPhone, but somehow the iPhone’s interface stayed on top and I do not see that changing anytime soon.If Apple is known to release products only when they reach a level of perfection, Google, for better or worse, have been known to release their services at a very early stage when they are full of bugs and imperfections. I am not saying this is good or bad, there is something to be said for releasing a product in order to hear customer feedback about features people want to see, but Android is far from perfect. In my opinion, Android will catch up with the iPhone OS, and it won’t take long, especially with the release of Android 2.0 for Droid, but it aint there yet, iPhone OS is still the best.
- Text Input: At this level of mobile phones, iPhone and Droid users are utilizing their devices to do so much more than make calls. Whether it is email, Google Wave, Twitter, Facebook, or IM, people want to be able to type fast. Now, I know there is a heated debate about the iPhone’s keyboard, but from my experiences, it is by far the most superior keyboard on the virtual keyboard market. In fact, I use a BlackBerry Bold as my primary mobile device, and it is recognized by most to have the industry’s best keyboard, but the truth be told, I sometimes miss the correction software and sensitivity of the iPhone’s keyboard.The Droid is brand new, so there are not many in depth reviews of the device and its input methods, but the few I have read suggest it is more of a BlackBerry Storm (the first generation) competitor than an iPhone killer, at least when it comes to typing.
- GPS: Now this is a tricky one… The new Google GPS turn by turn app has certainly caused its share of hype over the last few days. GPS companies like Garmin or TomTom are feeling the results of that hype with their shares absolutely plummeting since Google’s announcement. However, and this is the name of the game, will iPhone users abandon their iPhone just because Google now offers their GPS app on the Droid? As sure as I was that the first Storm would not kill the iPhone, I am sure that the answer is no. There are enough GPS apps on the iPhone that offer perfectly strong alternatives to Google’s app, that if someone had already decided to get a Droid, the GPS might make them smile, but iPhoners are not going anywhere because of it.You want to pull the free card? OK, Google’s GPS app is free, I agree that is a huge advantage over iPhone apps like TomTom that costs users hundreds of dollars over time, but if we are talking free alternatives, there is Waze on the iPhone, which is not only free, but it adds a social layer to its turn by turn navigation. The maps, route, and directions are all user generated, and the app has widespread exposure, so you can be sure, you are receiving updated information.Just to emphasize, I am not saying the Google app is not awesome or that it is not a huge development in the location space, because it is, but this is not what will bury the iPhone, which is at its prime right now, the iPhone, even with the new Droid GPS, is gonna live a very long life.
- Uniformity: This might get a little philosophical, but I am under the impression that people like things simple, and the iPhone is simple. I am not referring to its user experience, but rather the fact that it is one device against the growing sea of Android devices out there. With iPhone, consumers know what they are getting, and developers know how they are developing. When it comes to Android, and this is a general debate when it comes to consumer products, there are so many Android devices from which to choose, consumers might feel overwhelmed and confused, which will lead them to make the simple choice and go with an iPhone.When it comes to development, it is true that Andoid’s API is open and Apple’s is closed, and it is true that the approval process of getting into the App Store is long and painful compared to that of the App Market, but at least developers know what device they are developing for. With Android development, not only must developers customize their app for different devices with a variety of screen sizes and specifications, no one knows what tomorrow will bring in the world of Android devices. iPhone is iPhone, both for consumers and developers.
Those are five reasons the Droid or any other Android device are not putting Apple out of business any time soon. In fact, when thinking about these five points, I am pretty convinced especially by the last one, that before Android dents Apple’s profits, they might very well be causing damage to their own with so many new devices from which to choose. Like MG Siegler of TechCrunch said, the iPhone killers we have heard so much about are indeed going to do some killing, but it is Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, and Nokia that should be worried, not Apple.
Would love to hear your thoughts, will Droid take a bite out of Apple’s market dominance? Let me know in the comments or tweet me here.