The Droid Purchasing Dilemma

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-11-23 Print this article Print

Well, one obvious answer is that such a device does not yet exist and if I want a new phone now, I might as well buy the Droid my heart was set on in the first place. A so-called Google phone may not appear on the market for six months, a year, if at all.

Another answer is the phone could be inferior to current devices. Just because Google may be building an Android phone in the tightly controlled, integrated vein, does not automatically make the device equal or superior to the iPhone, which pleases anyone from high-tech pros to grandmothers.

Yet against that integrated grain is another valid concern: the currently hodge podge, open source nature of Android. When Android was unveiled in November 2007, reception was mixed. Open source enthusiasts praised it as a liberator and field leveler of the largely proprietary mobile OS world manned by iPhone, Windows Mobile, RIM and Palm.

Others said Android could go the route of Sun's Java Platform, Micro Edition, fracturing the mobile OS market even further. Two years later, those fears look prescient.

Android developers are saying having three versions of the OS -- Android 1.5, 1.6 and 2.0 -- kicking around is a problem. Having custom firmware on phones and hardware differences between different gadgets is also problematic.

Tech-savvy consumers have already noticed this. A Google phone, being built from the bottom up with Google might alleviate some of the kludge issues, as McKechnie noted:

"By controlling all aspects of the phone, Google could create a mobile ecosystem where all of its various services/applications run seamlessly and are easily accessible by the user. Clearly, this means enabling more mobile searches, but a "Google phone" would also likely include tighter integration with Google Voice, GPS-enabled directions and mapping, location-based mobile advertising, Google Checkout (currently the only accepted payment platform in the Android apps market), and many other current and future Google services."

So more than ever, I need to ask: is it worth it for me as a consumer needing a new phone to hold off to see if the rumor holds true? I haven't decided.

All of this makes me wonder: how much business is the Google Phone rumor costing the current Android phone makers? How many others out there like me have hit the pause button on their purchasing plans because of the promise of a Google phone that could rival the iPhone?

None of this can make Google's Android partners very happy, particularly coming during the holiday buying season. Imagine if Apple secretly ignited these rumors to stymie sales of existing Android phones? That would be some great gamesmanship. 


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