Is the Force on the side of the Androids?

Is the Force on the side of the Androids?

by handy giff-staffer gaffer on ‎05-04-2011 15:27 - last edited on ‎20-06-2014 16:41 by handy giff-staffer victoriatagg

Back in September I wrote a blog about a low cost LG Android phone I’d bought  – the Optimus GT450.

 

At the time I was impressed by the features you could get for around £100 and predicted that such phones would really shake up the market – and also that Apple would have to launch a stripped down iPhone “nano” to compete.

 

Well, Apple are no doubt still working on the “nano” but Android really has gone from strength to strength – it fact it was announced today in a YouGov report that Android users in the UK now outnumber iPhone users.

 

I’ve continued to be impressed by “low end” android handsets – I’ve recently tried an Orange San Francisco and my latest phone – a Motorola Flip out.

 

Motorola-Flipout.jpg

 

Now the Flipout is a great phone if you want to stand out from the crowd – its square, with keyboard that literally flips out sideways.

 

It also has a trick up its sleeve that I’ve not seen anywhere else – a media player that looks up song lyrics and displays them in time with the music. Its a real gadget "wow" moment when you see it working for the first time - I promise you that every media player and iPod will do this in future.

 

But Andriod's Achilles heal is its creator's, Google, lack of control over what manufacturers and app developers do with the platform.

 

For instance, the Flipout runs on Android version 2.1. But Android 2.2 has lots of nice new features I’d like to use but will the Flipout ever get an upgrade to version 2.2? The signs are from Motorola that it won’t.

 

And what about all those apps I’ve subsequently downloaded – can I trust them? Well, it turns out I can’t.

 

Google don’t check each app as carefully as Apple – and dozens of them had to removed from the Android market because they were illegally collecting personal data.

 

So just like the inspiration for the Android logo, R2D2, this OS looks like it has a hidden, darker side underneath its cute outer skin.  And in a parallel to the films, it looks like being on the side of openness and freedom leaves you open to the corruption of evil forces.

 

Ultimately I think Google’s mobile toddler is a good thing, so let’s just hope that it has the Force on its side.

 

Update on 28/04/11

 

I discovered at the weekend that the Flipout definitely doesn't survive a dip in salt water. 

 

So am know looking for my next Andriod to try out....

Comments
by thinkpad on ‎05-04-2011 15:33

Just have a reservation about holding that to the ear and using it as a phone! Looks way too weird for me.:-)

by rudedog on ‎05-04-2011 15:37

'Well, Apple are no doubt still working on the “nano” but Android really has gone from strength to strength – it fact it was announced today in a YouGov report that Android users in the UK now outnumber iPhone users.'

______________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Thats gonna be the case of course as there are about 100 different handsets all selling at different price points, but only 2 iPhone handsets at a high price bracket. But im thinking of making the Android switch as my iPhone is now starting to do my nut in!

by thinkpad on ‎05-04-2011 15:40

Android phones will dominate the market by a huge margin within a year. The explosion of android handsets has been phenomenal. Just hope they work on optimising battery life a little.

by trick202 ‎05-04-2011 16:03 - edited ‎05-04-2011 16:11

Well, I agree with most of your points, but they do miss out huge chunks of supporting information.

 

I see Android as an amazing platform with almost limitless possibilities. However, I also see it as being a two tiered userbase, and this largely why the numbers are so impressive.

I think you have the 'geeks' for want of a better word (and don't be offended, I meant geeks as in; technically enlightened, forward thinking types) that love Android for it's potential. They like tinkering, they like to 'fondle the kernal', and they like to know exactly what processes are beavering away at any one time.

I also think you have a huge amount of people that bought a touchscreen phone, and have no idea what Android is. They wanted a large screen, and hey, what about some of those 'app' thingies that people are talking about? Yeah, sounds good.

 

There is an issue with fragmentation (in so much as it exists), but does it reallly affect that many people? Out of the two groups I mentioned above, the former know how to root and rom, and the latter couldn't give a monkey's about eclairs, gingerbreads, froyo etc etc

 

Android is a great platform (often ruined by networks), and has a great community (when they're not foaming at the mouth over some inferiority complex regarding apple).

 

I'm not sure I'd say that Apple are "no doubt" working on the iPhone nano. It's been discussed for many years now, but nothing has ever been concrete. I have a feeling Apple will want to retain the position of 'aspirational device' and would not want to cheapen the brand. It's horses for courses at the end of the day - you don't see Omega making a £200 version of the seamaster, or Ferrari making a ten grand hatchback.

 

I've read a lot about Android market share. My eyes tell me a different story though (especially in the UK). I see iPhones all the time, and I see lots of Blackberries (more than ever I would say). I see the odd HTC device, but not that many Galaxies, and hardly any Nexus s phones. I also read that HTC are outselling the iPhone - which such a strange claim it's almost worthless. HTC bring out a new device every week (it seems), and the iPhone4 was almost 7 months old at the time article was released. Sometimes, you just have to know when you're being fed link fodder.

 

As for the Android market, I think there are a lot of FUD stories circulating. It's no more dangerous than downloading software onto your PC - you need to exercise common sense. Look at the ratings, use the community to give you advice (they are helpful crowd).

 

My kids are Android users, I'm an iPhone4 user, my missus has the 3gs, I use a Blackberry for work. Does it matter? When I get a text from them, or an email, or a picture message, or a call.......it just happens, and vis versa.

 

If I only had a phone, and no PC, mac or slate - then an Android phone would be my choice. If I had the time and inclination to tinker (which I don't these days) - then an Android phone would be my choice. I have the luxury of being able to tinker with the kid's handsets from time to time though - so I'm lucky.

 

Nice post though - I just hope it doesn't turn into a flame war!

 

by jaygb1982 on ‎05-04-2011 16:17

I use an app called Lookout on Android. It's scans an app after download and ensure's it doesn't contain any nasty suprises :smileywink:

by elmetodo on ‎05-04-2011 16:21

I think the blog misses the direction google is now going with Android.

 

They have been removing malware from the market place and even from peoples phones, most recently in early march - http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2381252,00.asp

 

As well as having control over content on peoples phones, googles early insistence of a open source OS  seem to be changing. This is because of the fragmentation of android and different phone companied customising the OS seems to have made google think again, and move towards standard software where they have more control.

 

For a good article on this see - http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_15/b4223041200216.htm

 

Now that the once 'open source' Android OS is becoming a little less open (more apple if you will), it would be interesting to know whether people think this is a good road for Google to go down or whether people would prefer the 'darker' open source road instead???

by devolute newcomer on ‎05-04-2011 16:35

This isn't an Android problem or a Google one. It's a Motorola one. Motorola have chosen not to update that (otherwise pretty decent) phone. That's not Googles decision. I recommended that phone to someone and she's happy with it, but I won't be recommending a Motorola phone to anyone, ever.

by khairul on ‎05-04-2011 16:42
Now that developers have abandoned classic Windows Mobile, I will be moving on to the Motorola Milestone in three weeks. I really love the design of the Motorola Flipout; the only thing that's stopped me from buying it is the lack of a Gingerbread (2.2) upgrade, which is essential if I want to use Flash 10.2.
by rhinoman on ‎06-04-2011 13:13

 


trick202 wrote:

Without competition, innovation slows dramatically

 


Very good point - but every Android handset on the market now has a competitor: the last version of Android that's already in someone's pocket.  If the new version is not sufficiently innovative when compared to the old version then many people will choose not to upgrade - the same reasoning you used to explain the lack of vendor-approved software upgrades for existing handsets.

 

So even without competiton from other OS Google's customers (the device manufacturers) will still be demanding regular upgrades and innovation.  If they don't get it theyu will have to look elsewhere for their revenue.  Google (as far as I can see) makes money out of Android through the Marketplace and in-application advertising.  Without the ability to sell new devices the manufacturers are going to start looking at that business model, further fragmenting the market and eating into Google's revenue - different app markets for each manufacturer and perhaps there would be a certain music label that would license its content on one market but not the others?  I suspect Google will wish to avoid that.

 

So in conclusion I think Android will always have competion - from the last version of Android, if nowhere else.  Just like Office 2010's biggest competitor is Office 2007.

 

by macphee70 on ‎06-04-2011 20:05

I'm an android fan, rumor has it google are going to tighten down on modifications like the tweaks they have make to the galazy s. So android comes as google say it will come.  THis will allow them to stop rooting happening and tighten up on security, and this making the market place more reputable.

 

App manufacturers are also keen on this as it guanrentee that an app that works on one version will always work on that version no matter what phone you have.  Thats why app creators love iOS becasue its so tied down.

 

I dont know how google will manage that under an open source license.

 

I have a friedn who wants to dump his iphone for a android phone and I suspect many others will follow but I wonder how many will go back?

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