Sniper rifle versus a bunch of guys running around with shotguns.
Whenever starting a comment that has a negative element about a Google product I always feel the need to emphasise first that I’m a Google fan. I’m not anti-Google. A day never goes by without regular use of Google products that I love.
I have never loved Android though. (Android is the operating system (OS) Google build and then gives away for free to phone makers to use in their phones. If you’ve recently bought a Samsung or HTC smartphone, it almost certainly has Google’s Android OS on it.)
The first reason I’ve never liked Android has two sides to it. Side one is that I bought the first ever iPhone and fell in love with it and have not yet seen a compelling reason to shift. The other side is that Android is pretty much a copy of the iPhone. Sure there’s some big differences, but when it comes down to it, the Android OS is about 90% the same in functionality and operation as the iPhone OS. Inevitably, having started with the copy, Android has in some areas actually improved on the iPhone. That then leads to Apple catching up, taking the lead in other areas, before Android then does the same back. It’s now just an ongoing game of cat and mouse.
The second reason I’ve never like Android is because of how they went about pretending that Android was an ‘open’ operating system and that Apple’s was ‘closed’. This was at best misleading and at worse disingenuous. Android may be more open than Apple, but Google presented a black and white scenario that just just doesn’t fit with the reality.
The third reason I don’t like Android is a new one. As this AppleInsider article describes, it turns out that not only is Android a copy of the iPhone, it is also built on technology (Java) that they knowingly and wilfully chose not to license. In other words they have deliberately behaved in a anti-competitive manor (which ironically - and, again, disingenuously - they just accused Apple, Microsoft, and Oracle of doing). It’s no wonder they have been able to give Android away for free when they’ve not paid for licensing of the technology it’s built on (not to mention the numerous patents it almost certainly abuses).
In summary, everything about Android just leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth. When it comes to Android, Google has misled, been incredibly hypocritical, used unlicensed technology, abused patents, and just generally behaved in a very ugly manner. Which is why I’ll never be buying any Android product.
Thankfully, it looks like all this ugly is coming back to bite Google hard. The anti-competitive advantage that Android has had will soon be levelled.
UPDATE: To clarify, I don’t have a problem with copying and don’t think it is wrong (providing licenses for relevant technology and patents are in place). The reason I mention copying is that, I prefer to have the original. Part of the reason I won’t buy an Android is because I want the original, not the copy. But the main reasons I won’t buy an Android device are my second and third reasons.
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After a little more than two weeks of waiting, the Google+ app for the iPhone is out. My initial excitement as I began to download it was quickly soured when, upon opening the app, it immediately crashed. I tried it again, and it crashed again. Grrr.
There are clearly some downsides to running the beta version of Apple’s forthcoming iOS 5 software! Google have since gone public in stating definitively that it doesn’t work on iOS 5. I understand that Google is not required to provide support for a non-realeased OS, but it would have been nice if it was at least somewhat usable.
I have since downloaded and briefly used the app on my wife’s iPhone 3GS. It works nicely enough but it also leaves a lot to be desired.
It is definitely lacking the polish and Apple-like finesse of the best iOS apps out there. Using Tweetbot for example is a delight. It is beautiful, sleek, fast, and very easy to use. It feels like an app that values the Apple design ethos and has bought into it.
But, as John Gruber said in his post on the app, ‘the Google+ app feels like it was designed by people who don’t like the standard iPhone design idioms’.
There are also a number of key features that are missing. It isn’t possible to share posts via the app. And neither is it possible to +1 comments on posts - only the post itself.
Hopefully Google will iterate and bring improvements to the app very quickly. If Google+ is going to seriously take off, it cannot afford to be average in the mobile arena. And right now, the Google+ mobile experience is distinctly average.
If you don’t yet have Google+, contact me with your email address and I’ll send you an invitation.