Android Backers Dont Need a Sledgehammer to Make Their Point

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2010-06-24 Print this article Print


So here's how this all compares with what was the Mac in 1984. Imagine that in those days Apple was contending with a broadly supported open-source operating system with a vibrant developer community. Imagine that there was a wealth of hardware support from a variety of manufacturers on a variety of platforms and processors. Would Apple have even had a chance? 

Chances are, it would have, but chances are it wouldn't have killed off its young clone industry, and chances are it wouldn't have been able to stay a closed system as it did.  

Unfortunately, that's exactly what's happening to the iPhone now. It's a closed system. Updates come once a year. Software is dictated by the company. Yes, the iPhone has a healthy market share and a lot of applications now. But in the face of competition from Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile and their steadily increasing supply of Android devices and software, that's sure to change. As Nick Kolakowski illustrated in his slide show, the Android market share is already gaining on the iPhone.  

With a product cycle that's measured in weeks rather than years, and a broad range of carriers and manufacturers, that market share challenge is sure to pick up momentum. Apple, meanwhile, has painted itself into a corner. The company and the iPhone are running out of ways to grow. 

By November, when Verizon is supposed to get the iPhone, the company may well have second thoughts. The iPhone is already behind the technology curve. Even the iPhone 4, which is only just starting to ship, has been surpassed by the latest Droid technology, and the Androids have a year's worth of improvements to take advantage before the next Apple developer's conference. You can guess how that will work out. 

Does this mean that the iPhone is dead? Not really. After all, the Mac managed to hold on to about a 7 percent market share after all these years. No doubt it will provide inspiration for other devices if only because Apple has been truly innovative in some areas. But I think its days as a dominant platform are ending, and I think aggressive moves by the Android world are going to end those days more quickly than we currently imagine. 

Verizon, Sprint and the others don't need a Sledgehammer Gal. They've already got what they need to win this war.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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