Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 2nd Apr 2013 17:35 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Ian G. Clifton: "Early on, iOS did a lot to push mobile devices forward and helped set bars in a lot of areas for other platforms to meet. Unfortunately, iOS has not changed much lately and in some ways hurts Android when used as the 'golden standard' due to its limitations. A lot of the harm isn't realized by consumers, but Android developers encounter it constantly when something has to be done 'the iOS way' or an Android feature is not even considered because iOS cannot do the same."
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RE[2]: There's a reason
by Tony Swash on Tue 2nd Apr 2013 22:44 UTC in reply to "RE: There's a reason"
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

Fortunately for Android users, I think the iOS train has just about run its course. When Jesus Jobs was still alive, all I heard from the tech media and elsewhere is how wonderful iOS was and how there was no competition. But now that the reality distortion field is wearing off, people are starting to see iOS for the turd that it is, and so we're now hearing things like 'iOS is getting boring'. If Apple doesn't do something to radically re-define iOS soon, it's probably gonna end up a distant second, just like Macs on the desktop.

And with Jobs out of the picture, I don't think they've got anyone with the kind of vision its going to take to put iOS back on top. If nothing else, Jobs was a master snake oil salesman - putting features in the OS that the competition had for years, convincing people that it was 'Magical', and having them lined up around the block when the new model went on sale. And it's kind of hard for anyone to replace him in that regard.


I think that is a widely held, and no doubt reassuring, set of beliefs amongst keen techie Android fans and those who are not smitten by Apple. However I do think it is mistaken, primarily because it is founded on a misunderstanding of what happened in the PC platform wars. The key misunderstanding I think is the confusion of market share, which is a proxy indicator of platform strength, with the actual thing of interest which is platform strength itself. Back in the PC days market share was quite a good proxy measure for platform strength but in the mobile device era it seems a much weaker indicator of platform strength. Using a wide range of obvious metrics for platform performance measured by a very high number of independent surveyors it is clear that iOS out performs Android as platform on a per capita basis by a big margin. What that means is that in order to just achieve parity with iOS platform performance Android would probably have to establish an installed base of several times the iOS installed base, and bear in mind that the iOS installed base is around 500 million now and will probably creep towards a billion over the next couple of years.

What this means is that it is almost certain that the larger market share of Android will never result in platform disincentives to mobile device customers, no potential buyer is going to be put off buying an iOS device in the foreseeable future because of an inferior platform offering resulting from a minority market share and no Android buyer is likely to see a superior platform offering resulting from a greater market share.

A secondary reason why the the Android space is not like the PC space is that Google does not manage it as Microsoft managed the PC space. Microsoft was a very heavy handed policer of the Windows PC ecosystem in terms of ensuring hardware and software compatibilities in a way that Google does not do in relation to Android. So we have a situation where a large number of 'dumb' Android smart phones and tablets are sold in places like China but which in terms of ecosystems hardly connects with say the US or European Android ecosystem. This too reduces the per capita platform effect of Android.

Personally I think both Android and iOS will thrive in the coming decade. The interesting issue is how Google plans to reset the Android project (if that is indeed what it is planning) in the post Rubins era.

I would like to write more on this fascinating topic but it's late and I am tired.

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