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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Google Android—it’s just like an iPhone, only, not.

Google just released their version of the Zune of cell phones called Android. Finally. It’ll be attractive because it beats the cost of iGod’s more famous creation by $20, the monthly service charge by $5, and oh, btw, help you find stuff with a ‘pretty decent’ search engine on a keyboard that slides out. That’s all the speeds and feeds info tech stuff I scanned from the release though, or cared to, because even though people will buy in droves and stores will report ‘brisk’ sales, the one thing that matters most is:

It’s not an iPhone.

Yeah, I know it’s not an iPhone, but how do you compete against something you say you’re not when you openly acknowledge it? Wanna kill the iPhone? Make something so cool people forget about it, not, “Let’s make something that does pretty much what it does.” You can engineer all the function you want, but there’s something to be said for engineering cool.

First sign, when you come up with a name that tries too hard. Next thing to consider is the Get Smart factor. Maybe Android 2.0 will have shoe phone capabilities. (It also looks like more like a way for them to push their OS than for them selling a really cool phone—“Buy the OS and we’ll throw in a phone.”) Hey, maybe Google’s okay with taking a bite out of Apple with those who wanted an affordable iPhone knock-off and will instead settle* for clunky.

*Disclaimer for the iPhone haters of the world: I passed in favor of LG’s knockoff—for a $125 less than the Android. Why? Dumbass AT&T/Apple $30 monthly data fee on top of regular family text charges. See, cool DOES have a price.


1 comment:

Ben Kunz said...

Your design critique is spot on.

I think Google may have a bigger chess move in mind, though. A commentator on NPR recently noted that Google is moving into browser (and now mobile) software not because it thinks it can capture a huge slice of the market ... but because doing so PUSHES other software to match Google and make usability of the "cloud" computing programs easier.

If the Google phone makes it easy to search, and use Google Maps and Google Docs, then other handset and OS systems will have to match that.

As everyone matches these moves, Google wins -- because more consumers move to its cloud. Nicely played, Google.