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Android Vs. iPhone: Round One Goes To Apple

  • Fortune, Wednesday, June 25, 2008 11 AM
With Android, Google is attempting to do for the mobile Web what Microsoft did for the desktop: that is, become the Windows of the mobile sphere. However, as The Wall Street Journalreported earlier this week, that ambitious plan is already running into a few roadblocks. For starters, Verizon and AT&T, the top two carriers in the U.S., have decided to pass on Android, so Google had to settle for T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel, the third and fourth best. The second piece of bad news is that T-Mobile won't have any Android phones ready before the fourth quarter and Sprint and China Mobile, the world's largest wireless carrier, won't have any ready before 2009.

Meanwhile, the Journal claims that Android software has yet to win over large mobile software developers. They say it's difficult to develop programs for the platform, especially when Google makes changes as it finishes developing the software. Google's director of mobile platforms, Andy Rubin, says managing these relationships with developers and carriers takes time. "This is where the pain happens," he said.

Contrast Google's "pain" with Apple's in-demand iPhone. The consumer electronics giant has "a waiting list of carriers around the world" and "thousands of programmers eager to write for the device," says Fortune's Philip Elmer-De Witt. While many developers are rooting for Android, the truth is that Google doesn't have the kind of control over its product that Apple enjoys with the iPhone. The hardware, the operating system, the user interface-it's all controlled by Apple, and that's a major advantage




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