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The only thing that can touch iPhone fever?

I’m wondering about the HTC Dream and the Android issue. FierceWireless are wondering too:

Another day, another HTC Dream rumor. Today the “unofficial” blog T-Mobile online is reporting that T-Mobile will begin taking preorders for HTC’s Android-based device, the Dream, on Sept. 17. The phone will be available to T-Mobile USA subscribers for $150, much less than the initial rumored price of $400. New customers will be able to purchase the phone in October.

Google’s Android could garner near-iPhone levels of fever if they’re able to deliver a working operating system and decent experience.

My view on this changes like the weather here in the UK — i.e. hourly. Sometimes I think that a billion dollar behemoth such as Google must know what it’s doing. Has bought the right people. Has deployed the right attention and effort. Other times I’m of the view echoed by a lot of the mobile industry insiders I meet — that Google knows ‘F-all’ (a direct quote from one C-Level exec) about the mobile marketplace and ‘wouldn’t know a working mobile telecoms stack if it came up and slapped it in the street’.

When I begin ruminating on the matter, I think that, well, yes,… Google knew F-all about search until it got into it. It knew nothing about email, too. Until it decided to launch Gmail. And mobile is the way ahead. We’re all going mobile. Maybe they’re actually serious.

Or, and here we go again with the second guessing, maybe they’re just making noise about Android to get the attention and the buy-in of the major operators and handset manufacturers. That’s another popular perspective.

Whatever the viewpoint, this is precisely what we need in the industry. Competition.

It really starts to get interesting when you look at how T-Mobile USA is reacting to competition by launching it’s own application store. Plug in an Android device (imbued with the hopes being foist on to it by many) and now you’re cooking.

We shall see.

I’m hoping to talk to the lady that launched the T-Mobile apps store this week.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

12 replies on “The only thing that can touch iPhone fever?”

I think you have put your finger on it exactly – but got it wrong.I was working as a low level systems programmer on a competing search engine in the mid 90s (yes, there was a time when the search market was dynamic). Then Google had the very best IP from Stanford Uni as its starting point -they knew more about search before they started than any of the established players did (or us at the time – we knew this because they published widely in the Comp Sci research journals in the early years). Email too, is a well established published protocol: mxing web and mail is a naural fix.

Operating systems and mobile are not similar to their re-applications of their brilliantly concieved existing technology stack into a new protocol (like mail). They are fundamentally different: both in terms of market and techology.

Apple is not a model here. Apple kept their market static (sonsumer electronics running a 30 years in development in-house consumer OS) and simply adjusted their technology to include a new wireless stack for GSM along side bluetooth, WiFi(a,b,g), ethernet etc.

The only thing Apple and Google have in common is they both appeal to 20/30 somethings with pots of cash who like Zen influenced interfaces.

I think the GPhone is by far the most intriguing device to hit the mobile market in years, far more so than the iPhone because everyone had a pretty good idea what the iPhone would be, look like, feel like, etc. The GPhone is a total mystery by comparison.

My suspicion on it is this (crystal ball time) – it'll look hellaciously sexy. It'll have to, the iPhone has raised the bar in terms of what a phone's meant to look like. Now, Google themselves obviously won't be handling the hardware side of things, that'll be left to more experienced hands, and HTC, Samsung, et al I'm sure can come up with glossy enough bits of plastic – HTC already did a nice job designing the iPhone for Apple… oh, sorry, it's a completely original design, eh Steve? 😉

But leaving the looks aside, the real killer (or what'll get it killed) is what it does. My gut feeling here is that I think Android v1 may be a disappointment, and it'll be v2 before we see its true power. Why? Because although Google can obviously give it best-in-class webapps, that won't be enough. We don't all live in 3G jungles, which means the device is going to have to have a solid OS and Apps that can stand alone without a fast connection. That's reality, even more so in the US than the UK, where huge swathes of the country are still waiting for EDGE, far less 3G. Google's experience in those areas is much more ropy (if it were otherwise, dear Google, then why haven't you gone for the Mother of All Battles with MS and tried to kill Windows once and for all?)

Let's wait and see, but my feeling is that Android 1 will be rough-cut. Google's webapps work brilliantly, but let's face it, they doesn't win any beauty prizes either, and when you're selling phones, how cool the interface is is FAR more important than what your webmail looks like on a screen. I also worry that while Google's willingness to embrace 3rd party developers might be a refershing change from Apple's “our way or no way” approach, that could bite them in this game too. To be blunt – geeks create great software, but they've never been big on the UI side of things because they get too excited about the tech and forget to make it easy to use. Lemme guess… Android will have a command line interface option? OK, probably not, but I'll bet there's a million and one geeks who wish it did.

i think its more a case of google knowing F-ALL about how operators like to control things

see apples recent bitch-slapping.

but apple have no operator mods, no portal links and direct music/app sales that
bypass the operator. its operator hell.

Unfortunately what can't be overlooked is the Apple culture and love for all that is Apple (hence the fever). Even if an Android phone was given away with every feasible bell and whistle, it'll have a tough time overcoming iPhone's momentum anytime soon. While I'm not a MAC user, I too am pretty enamored with my iPhone given it's incredible user interface and have been willing to overlook its various flaws…although the frustration is starting to mount. Still, until I can find the large screen-web surfing experience elsewhere I'll be drinking the Apple kool-aid (maybe I need to get out more).

Without an app store like Apple has, with programmers having an easy way to develop and then market their new creative wares, it will be tough for any other phone to generate the excitement and use that the iPhone has generated. 60 million downloads already! From a past non-believer, this is absolutely something to take note of.

Unfortunately what can't be overlooked is the Apple culture and love for all that is Apple (hence the fever). Even if an Android phone was given away with every feasible bell and whistle, it'll have a tough time overcoming iPhone's momentum anytime soon. While I'm not a MAC user, I too am pretty enamored with my iPhone given it's incredible user interface and have been willing to overlook its various flaws…although the frustration is starting to mount. Still, until I can find the large screen-web surfing experience elsewhere I'll be drinking the Apple kool-aid (maybe I need to get out more).

Without an app store like Apple has, with programmers having an easy way to develop and then market their new creative wares, it will be tough for any other phone to generate the excitement and use that the iPhone has generated. 60 million downloads already! From a past non-believer, this is absolutely something to take note of.

I think the GPhone is by far the most intriguing device to hit the mobile market in years, far more so than the iPhone because everyone had a pretty good idea what the iPhone would be, look like, feel like, etc. The GPhone is a total mystery by comparison.

My suspicion on it is this (crystal ball time) – it'll look hellaciously sexy. It'll have to, the iPhone has raised the bar in terms of what a phone's meant to look like. Now, Google themselves obviously won't be handling the hardware side of things, that'll be left to more experienced hands, and HTC, Samsung, et al I'm sure can come up with glossy enough bits of plastic – HTC already did a nice job designing the iPhone for Apple… oh, sorry, it's a completely original design, eh Steve? 😉

But leaving the looks aside, the real killer (or what'll get it killed) is what it does. My gut feeling here is that I think Android v1 may be a disappointment, and it'll be v2 before we see its true power. Why? Because although Google can obviously give it best-in-class webapps, that won't be enough. We don't all live in 3G jungles, which means the device is going to have to have a solid OS and Apps that can stand alone without a fast connection. That's reality, even more so in the US than the UK, where huge swathes of the country are still waiting for EDGE, far less 3G. Google's experience in those areas is much more ropy (if it were otherwise, dear Google, then why haven't you gone for the Mother of All Battles with MS and tried to kill Windows once and for all?)

Let's wait and see, but my feeling is that Android 1 will be rough-cut. Google's webapps work brilliantly, but let's face it, they doesn't win any beauty prizes either, and when you're selling phones, how cool the interface is is FAR more important than what your webmail looks like on a screen. I also worry that while Google's willingness to embrace 3rd party developers might be a refershing change from Apple's “our way or no way” approach, that could bite them in this game too. To be blunt – geeks create great software, but they've never been big on the UI side of things because they get too excited about the tech and forget to make it easy to use. Lemme guess… Android will have a command line interface option? OK, probably not, but I'll bet there's a million and one geeks who wish it did.

i think its more a case of google knowing F-ALL about how operators like to control things

see apples recent bitch-slapping.

but apple have no operator mods, no portal links and direct music/app sales that
bypass the operator. its operator hell.

Unfortunately what can't be overlooked is the Apple culture and love for all that is Apple (hence the fever). Even if an Android phone was given away with every feasible bell and whistle, it'll have a tough time overcoming iPhone's momentum anytime soon. While I'm not a MAC user, I too am pretty enamored with my iPhone given it's incredible user interface and have been willing to overlook its various flaws…although the frustration is starting to mount. Still, until I can find the large screen-web surfing experience elsewhere I'll be drinking the Apple kool-aid (maybe I need to get out more).

Without an app store like Apple has, with programmers having an easy way to develop and then market their new creative wares, it will be tough for any other phone to generate the excitement and use that the iPhone has generated. 60 million downloads already! From a past non-believer, this is absolutely something to take note of.

You can get an iphone on t-mobile in the us i called t-mobile and the guy said yes and i can only believe it if it comes strait from the source

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