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 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 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?

by scholar phil8715 scholar on ‎07-04-2011 00:56

I honestly think when the iPhone Nano is released later this summer it will wipe the floor with android if it's priced at £150. I've had the iPhone 3GS and i've had 3 android handsets too. In my opinion Android OS is too fragmented. I mean some phones have only just  had 2.1 eclair & some have only just had 2.2  Froyo, while others are runng 2.3 Gingerbread. Some very early android handsets won't even get 2.1 they're stuck with 1.6. The networks don't help by taking almost a year after the generic rom was released when it is, it's buggy and unstable. I remember just after christmas HTC released the 2.2 Froyo update for the HTC Wildfire I had one, mine was on the three network and they only started testing the firmware 2.2 the week after the new year. it was released in February and had more bugs than a hospital with MRSA and it had to be withdrawn

 

My phone OSF/ZTE Blade was a bargain at £80 which will last me till the iPhone Nano is released.

 

I am currently waiting for my Advent Vega Tablet PC which is 2.2. So I haven't entirely given up on Android just yet.

by catdogchicken on ‎08-04-2011 08:05
I've owned 2 android handsets previously. The Samsung Galaxy S and the HTC Desire. I just can't love the Android OS, it just feels far too unfinished with lock up and freezes of 20 second plus. The handsets sport the latest and greatest processors and specs (well at the time) but the OS just seems to bung itself up. iOS may be a walled garden but it's properly implemented and is so intuitive to use. Perhaps in time Android OS can iron out the creases and optimise their OS to function smoothly and obliterate the hang ups I've seen on many a robot handset.
by will2k on ‎08-04-2011 12:18

Good Blog, I have an Orange San Fransisco. which was under £100 you can get nearly all of the features of high spec phone on it. Good to here more on OS.

by djdevil on ‎09-04-2011 09:39 - last edited on ‎12-04-2011 15:35 by david_m

I just think the Android is in a much better price range than that of the IPhone [edited: removal of sim order banner, PM sent]

by cgf ‎09-04-2011 11:51 - edited ‎09-04-2011 11:52

Apple is great in that it just works but there comes a time when boredom from familiarity takes hold. This is where modding can prolong the life of a product. Apple users dont beleive they need or feel this but apple knows they do and caters to it in the form of "expensive" yearly upgrades.

 

I just put japenese jelly fish on my sons sanfrancisco. Its like a new change of clothes or moving the furniture around to elicit a new feel. No matter how much I love osx it stays the same, it can wear thin.

 

slightly off topic but keeping with the upgrade itch I had an idea yesterday that we have way too much plastic in the world due to an over collection of oil. So why cant manufacturers offer to sell just the inner workings for when the upgrade itch becomes too much and/or the hardware becomes outdated. They could make them fit one or two different style cases so we could all find a manufacturer/model we like and just swap out when needed. This wouldnt effect too many peoples overall look of a phone as alot put them into jelly cases. For those who dont like this approach full phones or upgrade cases can be available but the overall volume would be reduced and this would save resources.

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