10 Reasons Why Even the iPhone Can't Stop Android's Rise

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-11-17 Print this article Print

News Analysis: The iPhone might be the leader in the mobile phone market, but that success won't be enough to stop Android's rise. Google's platform is simply too compelling and too appealing to consumers not to capture significant market share.

With the launch of Motorola's Droid smartphone, Google's Android operating system is officially on the mobile-platform map. It has been around for a while, of course, but until now, most people shopping for smartphones had little knowledge about its existence or the value it provides. It was, for the most part, an unknown entity.

But it certainly isn't anymore. According to most calculations, Motorola sold 250,000 Droid smartphones in the phone's first week of availability. Not only is this the most successful launch of an Android phone to date, Motorola has said it expects to sell 1 million Droid phones by the end of 2009.

That's no small feat. Although the iPhone still reigns supreme in the marketplace, Droid has ushered in a new era in the smartphone business. No longer is the iPhone the only viable touch-screen device on the market. Thanks to the help of the Droid, Google's mobile platform is now in front of a mainstream audience. It's becoming a household name. And not even the iPhone, with all its popularity and might in the mobile market, can stop it. Here's why:

1. Design matters

There's something that the Droid, the MyTouch 3G and several other Android-based devices have that so many other touch-screen devices don't: a nice design. A quick glimpse at the Droid tells you much of what you need to know about the device: It satisfies today's mobile users' requirement for a design aesthetic. It has a sleek finish, a physical keyboard for more accurate typing and a large, vibrant screen. It's a beauty. And consumers know it.

2. The law of numbers

The iPhone might lead the pack, but it's only a single device that's available via one carrier. Android is a different entity altogether. Rather than get into the hardware game, Google has decided to offer its software to vendors, so it can be found on multiple carriers and several devices. Over time, that could help Google capture more market share as Apple continues its own, single-carrier model with the iPhone.

3. Apps, anyone?

One of the major reasons why the iPhone is so successful is its applications. With over 100,000 applications in the App Store, it's leading the way in third-party software. But Google's Android platform comes in second. It may only have a fraction of the apps Apple's platform does, but the list is growing. And as more consumers start picking up Android-based devices, you can bet that mobile developers will migrate to Android with them. Expect far more apps in the Android Market sooner rather than later.

4. Touch screens galore

Although traditional phones like the BlackBerry Tour are still selling well, it's the touch-screen device that carries the day when customers look for new phones. Like the iPhone, Android-based devices have that market covered. The Droid, like several other Android devices, features a touch screen that reacts well to human touch. It's responsive, hand gestures are quite easily performed and, for the most part, the experience is better than that of many of the other touch-screen devices (although not the iPhone) on the market. That means something to customers.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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