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Missing the Point

September 22, 2010 6:41:58.465

Paul Thurott gushes about the joys of Android based phones before noting two pretty glaring flaws:

Where the DROID X--Android, really--falls apart is on the services side. As with Apple and, soon, Microsoft, Google supports Android with an online marketplace, in this case the Android Market. It's horrible. And I don't just mean it's lacking in some vague way, I mean that it is an absolute disgrace.
This is perhaps less dramatic, but because Google doesn't (yet) have an online store to match Apple's iTunes Store, the Android experience for loading, syncing, finding, and playing media (music, movies, and other content) is truly second rate and, I suspect, must vary from phone to phone.

So.... finding apps is a chore, and getting media on the phone sucks a lot - and yet it's a "great" device. Sure Paul, sure. The bits many people would call core functionality suck, but it's a marvelous device.

Thurott goes on to say that this could be "easily fixed", but here's the thing: I doubt Google will do that. Why? Look at their hit or miss software development. It's all about throwing stuff against a wall and seeing whether it sticks (and, most of the time, it doesn't). Google doesn't really care about user experience - like the old Microsoft, they are an engineering led company. Sometimes that works (Gmail), but usually it doesn't (Wave).

Ultimately though, Thurott is looking at the wrong metric. Apple never looks at killer market share - they look at margins. A quick look here tells you everything you need to know about who's winning that battle. Beyond that, Google has major carrier problems that Apple really doesn't have. Android probably will end up with a larger share of the smartphone market than Apple, and analysts will call that a win. Meanwhile, Apple will be laughing all the way to the bank.

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posted by James Robertson

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