October 11, 2010

Why Android Defeats iOS

Well, it’s a fact now: Android have a bigger market share in mobile OS's than Apples iOS.
Surprising? Really?
This was only a matter of time and a great business strategy by Google, that brought this new OS to the front of our smart phones and defeated Apple in the game they invented.
Why, You might ask.
As I see it, the reason is plain simple. Both OS's offer the same features, give or take. This means that the end users don't really mind what OS they have on their mobile device from the two as far as that is concerned, so now other parameters are coming into view:

First one is the hardware, where Apple offers their iPhone G4 and iPad and  Google offers Nexus one… and HTC's evo... Vodafone 845, Motorola… and SmartQ and more…
As for now, we have much more devices that support the Android OS then iOS. Google could not care less about their own Nexus One, and had no trouble stopping it's manufacture. Their goal was to simply distribute as many Android instances as possible. Mission accomplished, wouldn't you agree? I mean, it’s really nice that Steve Jobs is so excited about the numbers of iPad sales, but Google can calmly reply that each day over 100,000 Androids are being activated, and going…
But that's not the whole deal, cause you know that there are still Apple fanatics who truly love their devices, so you have people from both sides sticking to what they know. What, then, is the differentiator?

The differentiator lies with the developers for the OS's. Simple logic tells that for an OS to be attractive for people it should support rich content. Rich in content means that it should support many running environments as possible, having an open SDK and the most important - creating an easy and cheap way for developing and distributing application for it.
Again, Google comes with an open SDK, supporting the strong Java platform and of course Flash/AIR. Just download the SDK and start developing your application. If I want to develop a Flex application or an AIR application for Android I really don't have to do much.
Apple, on the other hand, seems to have set a goal to make the developing process for iOS as expensive and annoying as possible. If I want to use the Adobe Packager for iOS I firstly need to get an Apple ID by filling a form that truly takes considerable time and doesn't appear to help in any way but having Apple accumulate data on all of their developers. Once you have this ID you have to purchase a developer certificate ($100 yearly). No, guys, it does not matter if you only wish to POC the application on iOS or develop a free non-commercial apps, you gotta pay up.
Well… this was quit enough for me. I think it's a sheer Chutzpah by Apple to take money from people who wish to develop application for their OS and by that make it more atractive to end users. Why would I choose to pay money when other alternatives are available for free?

So what you have now is hundreds of developers who know that Android is widely distributed and gaining more and more users by the day. These developers also know that they can develop applications for Android for free and if the developers know these 2 simple facts, they will start developing for Android.
This is the exact scenario that took place with Apple's Mac's back in 1984 when they restricted some application vendors from coding apps for their Macs. if you restrict developers from developing for your OS, or make it expensive and annoying for them, They will simply choose the easier-faster way, the same way big software companies chose to develop for IBM and MS OS back then. The rest is history as we all know.

As a person that part of his job definition is exploring UI technologies and researching for the best technological solutions, I feel that Apple is holding me down and making it very hard for me to use their technology. If in order to create simple POC I need to register as an Apple User, purchase a developer certificate, upload my apps to iTunes just for the sake of downloading them to my mobile device… come on… I have enough to do with my time, I don't need that too.

If Steve Jobs will not wake up soon, he will be surprised to find out that his market share is slipping between his fingers. Steve didn't allow Flash Packager because he wanted it. He had no choice and the same is here. If Android is open and free, developers will go there. More developers mean more applications. More applications mean more end users. Simple math.

Only time will tell.