Monday, October 06, 2008

iPhone Raisins

Just to provide a counterpoint to this article Sour Grapes: Missing the Point About Google Android and the G1:

1. Can you spot the contradiction: "The physical differences between this first Android phone and iPhone strike me as not a big deal." and "And unlike the iPhone, the G1 has -- like virtually every other battery-operated consumer electronics device except many from Apple -- a user-replaceable battery." In other words, when the physical differences are in favor of the iPhone, then it isn't a big deal to Mr. Weinstein. When the physical differences are in favor of the G1 (at least as far as he is concerned), then it is a big deal to Mr. Weinstein.

2. "There are an almost unlimited number of other methods that can be implemented to perform the same functions via the touchscreen." I agree. There are an almost unlimited number of crappy interfaces. But once people get used to a good interface, you'll have a hard time getting them to switch to a worse interface.

3. Speaking of the battery, we can rewrite "And unlike the iPhone, the G1 has -- like virtually every other battery-operated consumer electronics device except many from Apple -- a user-replaceable battery." as "And unlike the iPhone, the G1 has -- like the minority of MP3 players sold except many from Apple -- a user-replaceable battery." While consumers may complain about this, obviously it is really low on their selection criterion. And if it ever becomes an issue, Apple can change its design.

4. "Nobody in their right mind would suggest that we should need central approval to run applications on our PCs" Well, except almost every IT department in the world. While I don't agree with this mindset, it is ludicrous to say that people don't want control.

5. "Expensive required development environments don't make sense either anymore." Er, the iPhone development tools aren't expensive. The toolset is free; deployment on a device is $100.

6. "This isn't just a matter of being able to run applications developed by other parties, it also means that you can run applications on your phone that you write yourself." The battlecry of open source development. Sorry, I just don't have time to write everything I want to use.

7. "Does this mean that you're taking on additional responsibility when it comes to the potential for misbehaving software? Indeed, but just as with PCs this is a matter of individual responsibility and using good judgment in your selection of applications." Mr. Weinstein, exactly how am I supposed to "use good judgement" in selecting applications? Fancy splash screen? Study the source code? What should I do? What should my parents, who aren't programmers, do?

8. "But in the longer run, this is largely an irrelevant issue in comparison to the vastly superior applications development and deployment environment represented by the open source, ..." Yeah, it is so superior that, after only 17 years of being available, Linux is still #3 in popularity. Just like it was a decade ago. (I know, I know, like Zeno's Dichotomy Paradox, it gets closer and closer to overtaking the world every year.) But it will be different for consumer devices. Really. Magically. That is, if Mr. Weinstein is to be believed.

I do agree with Mr. Weinstein that

A) "Android is potentially such a positive development in the mobile communications industry." Competition is good.

B) "But the 'Android is dangerous' argument is the one that almost causes uncontrollable chuckling." That argument is just silly.

If you follow Mr. Weinstein's line of reasoning, Linux ought to be the dominant desktop OS and the iPod ought to be a minority MP3 player. Yet the opposite is true, and has been true for years. If Android and the G1 and its descendants are to take the market away from the iPhone, it'll have to be because of something that hasn't been presented here. IMHO, of course.

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