I wanted to talk about Android and the direction it's going in.
I feel like there are both a lot of good and a lot of bad headed for the OS in the future, and I'm interested to see where things are headed. Here's what I think are the bad (note that most of the bad are just lingering problems that Google hasn't had the chance to fix yet, which itself might be the main problem): the first thing is the problem of advertising and marketing of their platform and phone. While the majority of Android phones in market at the moment are manufacturer's phones, Google has two of it's own phones, and they've done a terrible job pushing them to the public. The only people who know about these phones are the people who don't need to be marketed to in the first place (you and I, who will see most of the major phones to begin with). Google needs to market phones just enough so the people know about it, but not too much to seem desperate. In other words, they don't need to go the Apple or MS way of advertising (Apple's being to show an ad every 30 seconds, and MS's being to throw as much money at marketing as humanly possible until a good ad comes of it). I spoke so much on the first, I don't really want to talk too much about other things. But here's a list of things Google will hopefully remedy in the near future:
- Developer support (it's time to get on Apple's level and stop being a step or two behind. This goes for UI, Netflix, app unavailability, etc. Again, these are problems that they themselves have shown they're working on atm).
- Content- I think the next major race to win is content. Whether that appears along with G Music, or it's in the form of something else, Google needs to get the big content deal that draws people over.
- The ability to to a clean install of the OS. Just like we can do with Windows, this needs to come to Android, since it will be the only mobile OS that has such varying differences. Make it easy, but don't necessarily advertise this. Just quietly give it to to everyone so people know they have the choice.
Agree on all points. I hope Google steers the OS away from the Linux future and more towards a very clean, simple, smart OS, with tight developer interaction. They're doing good things, but I think Honeycomb is not looking good for mass market, it's complicated again. Of course it's not complicated to us, but people won't want to learn an OS if they've already seen or even used an iPad.
Good post. I would love to see Google come out with a reference phone on each carrier - even if it's available only online and not in stores - so super-enthusiasts can skip the bloatware, skinned launchers, etc. and just get a pure Android phone. That's what I thought the Nexus One was going to be last year, and I would have loved to be able to get a CDMA N1 on Verizon last year, if I could.
Yeah. It's a shame the way they handled the Nexus One. That phone should still be available, at least online. But they completely dropped the ball on that one. I'm torn on the Nexus S, because I hate Samsung's phones so much. And the fact that it's not expandable as far as memory is a real killer. In some situations, I'd still rather have a Nexus One than a Nexus S. It's a shame they got off on the wrong foot, and that they keep making mistakes as far as the Nexus line goes. I can't wait to see who gets it at the end of this year though. I would have loved to see a Nokia phone with a stock Android experience.
I think Google's method can't be compared to what Apple or Microsoft's approach is when it comes to marketing. Apple and Microsoft are really trying to control the platform. Apple actually does control the platform and Microsoft puts some pretty strict requirements around hardware for their OS. Google on the other hand, pretty much lets phone manufacturers to do what they want with it. The manufacturers are empowered to have a device with a decent smartphone OS and are allowed to differentiate (for better or worse) and put their own marketing spin on it. I think at this point, people know what Google's OS is, whether they call it Android, Droid, or Google Phones. Also, given that Android is the top smartphone OS, they must be doing something right.
I do agree with you that there are a lot of shortcomings when it comes to Android out of the box, some that can be fixed with an app: Music > Doubletwist, Content > Amazon mp3/video
Two things that come to mind that I think could use improvement:
- UI: The OS and even the apps just aren't as elegant as iOS or WebOS.
- Updates: It sucks that Gingerbread is out, but I can't get it on my Droid X.
Yeah, I agree, but the reason I didn't mention that is because of the recent news that Google had hired or was looking to hire developers so they could develop more in-house apps that would give them more premium apps right out of the box. It seems like they're looking to fix the last little things as far as GUI/UI go, especially with the aesthetic changes that we've seen in the last few months (status bar change, Android marketplace changes, the new website).
As far as the control, I see what you're saying. Although I'll counter with this: if that's the way Google is and will continue to do it, they should at least broaden the development and support of their Nexus line. Make it your premiere device every year (or even every 6 months) and really push it out. Have it on all four carriers in the US, just like Samsung did with their Galaxy S line.