Monday, August 9, 2010

Aliens approaching

My RIM is dying. The trackball is shot, the battery holds a fraction of its charge, the tiny screen scratched and, well, Froyo is here (on Nexus now). Froyo, also known as Android 2.2, is the seventh update to Google's Android OS since its launch in October 2008. That's better than an update per quarter. Performance, the UI, SDK's, adoption and just about any measure you use to gauge success are there in spades.

Of greatest import is that I now understand my use patterns for smartphones. I purchased the Bberry as it was best in class for texting, BBM and mail. Inputting information easily was paramount. Now, however, I desire a phone that's a great output device as I consume far more information than I input today....and the gap is growing as it's fueled by video, social applications and real-time news/event postings. Therefore, my next device needs an up to date browser, superior connectivity (goodbye ATT) that's fast and secure and a killer screen. RIM's Torch is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, they needed to take a fundamental leap from the input to the output age.

When it was first introduced, I must confess to being more than a bit skeptical about Android. I was concerned that it was outside GOOG's core competence and a testing toy (like Wave turned out to be), that the mobile carriers would bastardize (fork) the OS, and the developer community would test and test, without committing. I was wrong. It is a real alternative to Apple and the Android devices are now outselling iPhones

The beauty of the iPhone and the curation by Apple are important points too. Unlike many of my peers, I sorta like Apple approving software as it adds a level of security that I'm not adding code that will mess with a device which is really important to me. Moreover, as we are moving towards being a Mac household, universality of devices is a big plus. Also, the App store is great; so easy to navigate and install a myriad of applications.

With that said, however, I am looking a couple of Android phones. It seems as if the ecosystem is similar to the old GM adage 'there's a phone for every pocketbook, or primal function required'. The pace of innovation is just so much faster on Android devices. Apple's schedule for yearly hardware upgrades and semi-annual major software updates fits them, and many consumers quite well. However, it does not match the speed to which the mobile market is morphing. Heck, Google is already talking about their roadmap for Android 3.0. I like the pace of innovation; I love the transparency/road map. They are talking my language.

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