Let’s admit it, iPhone was a game-changer. For another time Microsoft has been caught with their proverbial pants down:
- Microsoft let things slide with Internet Explorer while Mozilla came out with Firefox,
- Microsoft had a DRM-capable music format that worked cross-platform (read: multiple “MP3 Players”) and could tie in with any of a dozen online music stores BEFORE the iPod came out,
- Microsoft had a mobile phone platform WAY before the iPhone came out,
- Need I say more?
The funny thing is that Microsoft has tried to respond to each of these… and has failed each time:
- When Firefox came out Microsoft responded withMSIE7… and failed. Then they started over again with MSI8… and failed again.
- When iPod came out instead of shoring up their pre-existing fortified hold on multiple stores and hardware manufactures, Microsoft abandoned their position to try going it alone with Zune.
- When iPhone came out Microsoft continued plugging along with the archaic Windows CE… or is it Pocket PC Phone Edition… or is it Windows Mobile… or is it Windows Phone? Who knows?
They’re doing so poorly that not only are they failing to Apple, but they’re letting Google nose in to their business, too: web browser, office programs, search engine, and now mobile phones.
So, with that as the background, let’s focus just on mobile phones, specifically Google’s Android.
What does Android need to do to upset the Apple cart?
We’ve already determined that Android doesn’t need to do much (if anything) to upset the Microsoft cart, so what does it need to do to upset Apple’s iPhone?
Android handsets need to be every bit as good as iPhone – in every way possible. This includes speed, operating system, functionality, user experience, marketplace, application offerings inside the marketplace, and hardware quality.
Once that foundation has been laid (and we’re not there yet, folks), Android needs to promote those features as far and wide as possible. Every Apple customer should know why their phone is eclipsed by Android, and they should feel either envy for those who have Android, or shame for the fact they have the second rate device. Let me say again, Android is not there yet.
- Android needs to improve their over-the-air (OTA) capabilities for calendar, contact, and email syncing through Google services AND Exchange services. This experience needs to beat MobileMe hands down – and not just in price (MobileMe costs $100/year; Google’s services are free).
- Android needs to emphasize that their apps are background-capable, you can literally run more than one application at once, and easily switch between them. Currently this needs polish, and faster hardware (including more RAM) to make it shine over Apple’s one-app-at-a-time pile of lameness.
- Android should shout from the roof-tops that there is no centralized App Store under one company’s draconian control. This will lead to the fact that there are no horror stories of rejected Android apps – unlike apps in that other store.
- Brand this puppy as its own entity, don’t slather it with carrier logos ANYWHERE (front or back). In fact, why limit it by carrier at all?
- Sacrifice thinness for battery life, market it as a “serious, powerful tool” rather than a “casual toy”. If this means making the battery non-user-upgradable, so be it.
- Don’t try and defeat Apple by selling more (cheaper and less expensive) devices, sell the best device out there so that others WANT to have yours – because it’s better and sexier than theirs.