Much as I’m in love with most things Apple I also love the challenge that’s coming from Android, Google’s mobile phone operating system. Unlike Apple’s OS, the Android platform is an open-source system, allowing users an unprecedented and unfettered ability to share apps of all shapes and sizes. Last month, Android officially overtook Apple’s iPhone IOS as the most used system in the US, further proving that in the participation economy, more freedom equals more involvement.
As with the iPhone, you can download apps to your heart’s content for Android (200,000 so far), a huge number of which are free. The system is designed to make it easy for developers to unleash the full potential of smart phones, and they’re unleashing creativity everywhere.
Android has even started taking a hold in the much buzzed about tablet wars. A couple of weeks ago Lenovo (our new global client) launched its Android-based LePad tablet for the Chinese market before it becomes a worldwide phenomena. The Samsung Galaxy Tablet (which also operates on Android) had sold 1m+ devices by early December. Still a far cry from the almost 15 million iPads already on the market, but impressive nonetheless. And the Android fan base is so loyal they might be confused for Apple fanatics. The web is filled with videos and blogs from enthusiastic hackers who have hacked phones that aren’t designed to run Android so that they do – including iconic brands like Nokia and, yes, even the iPhone.
I’m hopeful the competition will challenge the few things about Apple that I don’t like: no Flash on the iPad, being served up with mono-tasking on the iPad, the perplexing usability of the iTunes set-up, their dismissive attitude towards anyone else who may have an idea. One of the marks of greatness is humility, and in that spirit a healthy respect for your fellow innovators is never out of place.
In the end this is a great contest between two Lovemarks renowned for their innovation, Apple and Google. And the ultimate winner will definitely be you and I.