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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Google Android to Launch Sept 23rd



The International Herald Tribune headline reads "Google's Android no match for iPhone - Yet". As Google is a company, much like Apple, with a corporate culture that encourages outside-the-box thinking, incredible innovation and wiz-bang design, we've all been enthusiastically waiting Google's unveiling of Android.

The handset being previewed is the HTC Dream, a gold or beige touch screen with a slide out tiny keyboard that all together has a retro-70s look and feel. The software desktop design doesn't make its own statement, instead choosing a file folder metaphor and a flat blue one-dimensional viewing plane. From what I've seen, it is unimpressive from a visual design standpoint.

Android is a mobile phone and computing platform to rival the Apple iPhone. Google's designers have promised that the Andriod will being using some of the best iPhone break-throughs such as touch screen technology, built in accelerometers, open platform and a developer SDK, with a user-interface that maximizes ease-of-use and graphics. Android also presented the possibility of a rich cloud-based computing set of tools integrated with Google's web storage and interactive applications.

Significantly, the Android promise was that a smart phone with a clever software interface could be purchased and owned without an excessive AT&T exclusive contract.

While searching for more information on Android I came across the presentation (video above) given by a Google engineer. Presentations like this one boggle the mind. In his demonstration, things don't work, the connection and loading of pages is slow, and his claims of coolness are not matched by what he is showing. His demonstration of how Android works could not have made me more uninterested in the handset or less impressed with the software. I was excited about Android but this guy almost killed the joy I had built up in my mind for a Google phone.

And I am always astonished that companies like Google and Microsoft never seem to be able to surpass Apple design. I want them to break the mold because it is good for us as end-users. And they have the sample product right in front of them to analyze, dissect and improve upon. Google says they don't think they can match "the consumer experience" of the iPhone. I ask: "Why not?"

There is much to be improved upon with Apple's iPhone. If Google says it cannot surpass it then they are not seeing it clearly as a consumer device and how it integrates into mobile computing and the users needs. The iPhone was a paradigm shifting innovation in smart phones and mobile computing but it is far from perfect. Apple has left out critical functionality and not delivered on performance specs that exist out there in other devices.

Why do we have to be disappointed with the Android launch on September 23rd?

1 comment:

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