Google Playing Catch-up with Apple
Beyond that, the software is responsive when
users tap the touch-screens. And for the most part, Android phones boast a
design and feel that compares nicely to anything Apple releases. Simply put,
Android phones have the looks, design and software to make them a compelling
product for end users.
The App Store
But it doesn't end there. Users are still looking for an app store. Although the Android Marketplace doesn't have the more than 65,000 applications offered in Apple's App Store, Google has done a good job of bringing apps to its platform. Right now, the store has over 3,000 applications. Although that number pales in comparison to Apple's store, Google's marketplace has many more applications than RIM's BlackBerry World (about 2,000 applications) and Palm's Pre (approximately 30 applications).
There might be more variety in Apple's App Store, but many of the applications that users find in Apple's market can be downloaded onto Android phones from the Android Marketplace. Porting applications designed for the iPhone to Android-based phones isn't difficult for developers. That's a key feature as Google tries to bring more apps to its store.
But perhaps the most important reason why Google has a good chance to become a leader in the mobile phone market is its strategy. Instead of offering a single phone, like Apple does, Google has partnered with several vendors to provide the software and let them do all the hard work of selling the devices. And since it's an open-source platform, those vendors can tweak the operating system to make it unique to their vision.
It's doubtful that any single Android-based phone will sell better than the iPhone. Apple's product commands too much attention in the marketplace for that to happen. But it's not beyond the realm of possibility for Android itself to capture more market share than Apple's venerable device. With more available products, a compelling selection of apps and some nice software, many users might find that it's a solid alternative to the iPhone.
And in the process, they might just find that, at least so far, Android's experience is second only to the iPhone's.
So maybe it's time Android gets a little more respect.