10 Features Android Needs to Keep Up with iPhone and Windows Phone 7 Series

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10 Features Android Needs to Keep Up with iPhone and Windows Phone 7 Series

by Don Reisinger

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Real Google Involvement

Although Google contends that it's a software maker offering its operating system to vendors, the company's Nexus One is a good first step in the direction it needs to go: developing a phone of its own. The Nexus One was built by HTC, an Android vendor since the operating system's launch. If Google truly wants to compete on the same level as the iPhone, it needs to build a phone of its own to lead the Android charge.

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Unfortunately, multitouch is nonexistent on Android OS. Only recently has Google delivered the feature to the Nexus One. Google has said that the feature will be coming to Android 2.0's core applications, but it will be up to handset makers to push the update to customers. Google simply can't compete until multitouch is on all Android-based devices.

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A One-Stop Shop

One of the main reasons why Apple has been so successful is its iTunes store. iPhone owners can buy music, movies, podcasts and any other entertainment services in one place. Google boasts the Amazon MP3 Store and the Android Market, but it's not enough.

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Its Own Store

Google should consider building its own iTunes competitor to make it easier for users to find all the content they want in one place. They can download applications, pick up music, buy movies or listen to podcasts. Lacking such a store is a major omission that has probably made more than one customer think twice about an Android device.

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A Better Marketing Plan

Apple can attribute much of the iPhone's success to its marketing plan. Apple's marketing department has done a fine job of detailing the finer points of its mobile phone to help users understand the value of owning it. Google's Android platform hasn't been detailed in such a way. Perhaps that's because Google considers itself a software maker, rather than a vendor. But if it really wants to catch up to Apple, it needs to start thinking like Apple. And engaging in better advertising is a good first step.

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More Nexus One Devices

The Nexus One is a fine product that arguably competes most effectively against the iPhone. Google has said that several of what it is calling "superphones" will join the Nexus One in Google's store. The company will be picky about what is allowed in, but I just don't know what it's waiting for in bringing them to the online marketplace.

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A New Interface

If Google learned anything from Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Series announcement, it's that a new, fresh interface might be preferred to the standard grids that Apple popularized. Windows Phone 7 Series features a totally revamped interface that, according to those who have seen it in action, makes sifting through the software much easier than on the iPhone. Maybe Google should consider following suit.

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A Better Virtual Keyboard

One of the big complaints several Android owners have with the software is its keyboard. Some say that it just doesn't react or perform as well as the iPhone's virtual keyboard. It's a major issue. Virtual keyboards are already at a disadvantage when compared with their physical counterparts. If a virtual keyboard isn't as responsive as customers would like, it's even worse for the software maker.

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Faster Browsing

The iPhone's browser is lightweight, making it one of the faster browsers in the mobile space. Unfortunately for Google, the mobile browser built into Android has been criticized by some for being slightly slower than Apple's browser. It's another issue that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible. In order to attract more customers, browsing needs to be fast. If it's not, they might move on to another platform.

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Bluetooth Voice Dialing

Having the ability to dial without tapping a touch screen is extremely important to some customers. Unfortunately, Android doesn't support that functionality. To enterprise users especially, it's a major omission. Having the convenience of dialing through voice is one that more and more customers are looking for in a mobile phone. Why it's not built into Android is anyone's guess.

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