Google Android Shortcomings: 10 Essential Fixes to Best the iPhone

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-05-09 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

News Analysis: Android is besting iOS in overall sales. But on a device-by-device basis, Apple's iPhone still reigns supreme. Find out what Google and Android smartphone makers need to do to have a chance to overcome iPhone's technical and market advantages.

Apple's iPhone has been an unbridled success since its launch in 2007. Apple announced earlier this year that it has sold over 100 million iPhones since that launch. Now that the device is available to Verizon customers and the long-awaited white iPhone is finally on store shelves, Apple's star only continues to soar.

Android-based devices, on the other hand, aren't necessarily as successful in relation to the iPhone as the sales figures would suggest. As a whole, Android-based smartphones are easily outselling the iPhone.

However, that's mainly due to the fact that there are so many Android-based devices in the market. On a phone-by-phone basis, it's hard to find a single device that can even come close to matching iPhone sales.

In fact, a recent report from Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley claimed iPhone 4 sales are outselling Android devices on AT&T and Verizon's network "by far," according to AppleInsider. Even the iPhone 3GS and iPad 1 are outselling new Android devices in some cases, he claims.

That's quite troublesome for Android vendors. It seems that as Google's platform continues to gain popularity, the smartphone makers aren't reaping the benefits to the same degree as Google itself.

But they can change that. With the right strategies and some tweaks here and there, Android smartphone makers can go a long way in improving their chances of besting iPhone sales.

Read on to find out how:

1. Work with Google on Android.

Android is a fine operating system that has come a long way over the last couple years. But it still has much further to go to catch up to Apple's iOS. For one, the virtual keyboard on Android just isn't as nice as Apple's iOS option. Moreover, the software suffers from some odd design quirks that cause it to be a frustrating to use at times. If Android smartphone makers want to catch up to Apple, they will need to work with Google to continue to improve Android. The operating system is almost there. But with a few tweaks, it might finally be able to match iOS.

2. Make the update process smoother.

One of the biggest issues in the Android ecosystem is the update process. Those who have older versions of the operating system are offered over-the-air updates to the latest version. However, those updates take an inordinately long time to reach devices. Apple's iPhone, on the other hand, is easily updated from the user's computer. It might seem like a small issue to those running the latest version of Android. But for those who have been stuck with Android 2.1 for far too long now, it's a pain. Simply put, Android smartphones are being held back by the poor update process.

3. Deliver solid marketing.

One of the key reasons Apple has been so successful in the mobile market is its marketing. The company knows how to effectively convey a message to consumers around the world. Android handset makers, on the other hand, haven't been so effective. Motorola came closest to matching Apple with its slate of commercials, but they weren't enough. If Android smartphone makers want to beat the iPhone, they will need to double down on marketing and make those efforts as appealing to customers as possible.

4. Promote the 4G Advantage.

So far, Apple hasn't jumped on the 4G bandwagon. Speculation abounds that the company won't even do so until next year when 4G networks are more readily available and it can plan for the design tweaks that might go along with the change. Many Android devices, however, allow users to connect to those ultra-high-speed networks. Considering the importance of high-speed connectivity and the fact that Apple hasn't joined the fray just yet, Android smartphone makers should be doing everything they can to make consumers aware of the benefits of 4G. At this point, it's arguably Android's biggest advantage over the iPhone.



 
 
 
 
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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