Feeds

Google's Android market needs Jobsian strongman

Tough iPhone love

Boost IT visibility and business value

The Apple standard

But to reach consumers, there really needs to be consistency in the way that users find and consume applications. Apple has set the standard – for better or worse – with the App Store. Android apps require users to purchase and download only from their device, generally not an issue, but not always the best user experience.

The big question is whether or not the task of building and maintaining an Android app store similar to Apple's store should fall to the Google-borg or whether third-parties such as Motorola or Verizon should take ownership and are capable of offering the breadth, depth and level support needed for a wide variety of applications.

Perhaps connecting your iPhone to a computer is where Apple has found Android's current Achilles Heel. For better or worse, with the iPhone, you know Apple is in charge. With Android, it could be one of a dozen or more companies, from your device manufacturer to a carrier to a startup to Google itself.

Having said that, Android is a promise of things to come, and it will likely leapfrog the iPhone within the next 18 to 24 months – at least on the operating system side. Developers like the tooling, APIs, and possibilities associated with new devices, and many resent Apple's choice of Objective-C on principle alone.

For their part, device manufacturers like the customization capabilities as well as the fact that there is a core kernel that is developed similarly to Linux with a theoretically benevolent Google directing development.

And, while Android lacks Apple's combined polish of hardware, operating system and marketplace, there is historical precedent that suggests being part of the world wide web rather than building a walled garden is the right way to go. Just ask AOL.

On that basis, Android will likely coalesce into just a few versions and continue in general to take market share from RIM, Microsoft, Nokia, and Palm – a move that could easily sound the death knell for the mobile operating systems of any number of companies.

However, market dominance is one thing – actually having consumers like and want to use your device is another. Handset makers and telcos, especially, are not known for their forward thinking. The mobile apps market has been marked by years of mediocre applications and walled gardens that lock in both consumers and developers. The market bread indifference and frustration towards phones and service providers, and that's what made the iPhone seem so revolutionary and appealing.

The challenge for Android, then, is not motoring to some kind of inevitable ubiquity but in corralling the various app stores and marketplaces to make it easier for developers to make money with their own applications and for consumers to find and pay for them.

To achieve that, someone, somewhere has to start taking a cue from Apple's user experience and consistency. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?