Reading the international media it would appear that some of the analysts are wondering why Palm has not made more of an impact on the smartphone market since the launch of the Palm Pre last year.
Some of the more fanatical Apple supporters are saying that Apple’s release of the iPhone 3GS and the third edition of the iPhone OS is the reason for Palm’s poor performance and this is probably partly true. I think, however, that there is a bigger reason for the failure of Palm to make a real impact on the smartphone market.
That reason is Android.
You can call me an Apple fanboy if you like but in reality there are only two key choices that a consumer will make when looking at smartphones. To buy an iPhone or not to buy an iPhone.
If you decide, for any number of reasons, not to get an iPhone then there are numerous choices available.
You could get a Symbian-based phone or buy one using Android or get a Blackberry or if you have a masochistic streak you could even buy a Windows Mobile phone.
Out of all of these the one that appears to have the most traction is Android. Google is actively developing the OS, developers are building apps for the platform and you have a choice of manufacturers.
In fact the biggest problem that Android has at the moment is that the development that Google is putting into the phone is creating a schism between the various phones using the OS.
There are phones running Android v1.5, 1.6, 2.0 and 2.1 and you may or may not be allowed to upgrade to the latest version, depending on what phone you have and if the manufacturer will allow you to do it. If you are brave you can try installing a raw version of Android on the phone but that is strictly for the Alpha geeks.
That said, unless your IT department at work has dictated that you carry a Blackberry, I can’t see any reason for not opting for an Android phone.
The next generation, which should be hitting our shores pretty soon, will have fast processors, awesome screens and the latest flavour of Android under the hood.
We may even get Google Maps Navigation so we can toss our GPSs out the window as well. Right now Android is the platform where everything seems to be happening and it doesn’t look like slowing down.
The dark horse in this race is Windows Phone 7, which we should see later this year. If I were a betting man I would be putting my money on Google because that is the company with its finger closest to the pulse of the digital economy.
In fact, in eight months time when my contract is up for renewal I will be hard pressed to go for an Android phone rather than another iPhone. This is especially true given the moves by Apple to tighten, even further, its control over what apps get onto its phone.
Google Android (versus the iPhone) << discussion