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Why Android Will Triumph Over iPhone

Why Android Will Triumph Over iPhone

Google's Android will quickly overtake Apple's iPhone market share. It may seem like an outlandish prediction given the fact that Apple has sold over 65 million iPhones/iPod touches and hundreds of millions of people use iTunes, but we've seen this movie before and we know how it ends. I'm referring to the original Macintosh operating system which was superior in nearly every way but lost the PC war to Microsoft's Windows. Apple's insistence on control will lock out the rest of the business world turning them into competitors whose innovation, marketing and more consumer-friendly features will benefit their chief rival.

To bolster my hypothesis I want to provide a real life example of how Apple is slipping even in their core strength digital music on the iPhone/iPod touch. Today, if you remember to cable your device to your computer, Apple offers a smooth sync process from the PC to a mobile device. If you want to advance to a wireless world and never have to worry about syncing, then you'll need to use a cloud music service like MP3tunes which stores your personal music online.

Airband

Getting wireless MP3tunes functionality requires adding an app to your phone. Both Apple and Android offer a MP3tunes application in their app store, but the Android version is superior to its iPhone counterpart. The Apple MP3tunes app is called Airband. It's a free application to stream your iTunes music via any iPhone or iPod touch without your computer being on. It displays albums, artists, and playlists letting so you can browse and play your music just as you would from your PC. It works over WiFi or cellular data like 3G.

The Android app is called MP3tunes and it is free. With it you can stream your entire iTunes collection directly on any Android phone, but it does much more. There's a Download feature where music from the cloud can be wirelessly loaded permanently to your device. Anytime a song is encountered where you want the highest fidelity or wish to play when you don't have a data connection it's simple to download along with the artwork with a single click. When playing songs the software is smart about accessing both your local library and the collection of music in the cloud. Each time a track is requested the software determines if the song is local and only uses your data connection if required which makes it faster to respond. An upcoming version will permit the user to wirelessly sync all or a portion of their music to their phone for offline playback. Gone will be the days of having to remember to dock your player to keep it fresh loaded with your music.

MP3tunes on Android
MP3tunes Player MP3tunes Menu

Android's advantages have nothing to do with hardware differences but are due to Apple's restrictive policies. The Airband app took four months to get approved while the Android app was available ten seconds after submission. But, it's not just the lengthy or uncertain approval process. With media especially, Apple blocks what outside developers can do because they wish to control the entire iTunes experience. Some of the advanced features currently in the Android cloud music player are impossible to do with the iPhone because the local music library is inaccessible by the Airband developers. Blocking developers ultimately means less choice and functionality for end users and we're witnessing that with the Android cloud music player.

I've been using an Android-based Nexus One as my primary phone for a few months. There's much to like about it such as turn by turn navigation, voice transcription, automatic wireless syncing of my contacts, calendar and email and the ability to run multiple programs at one time. Apple will surely try to match this feature set, but ultimately their insistence on centralized planning where Jobs and company decide what software should go onto devices and what it should do will be the pivotal decision which will open the door for Android to capture majority of the market.

--MR
michael@michaelrobertson.com

P.S. Google recently purchased a company I founded called Gizmo5 and pays me as an advisor to Google Voice, but that doesn't influence my opinion. I believe users should decide what software goes on their phone (and PC) not the vendor and how they use their media and Android's openness achieves both those goals.



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