Apple under threat

In the end, as in so many other industries, the smartphone will be about price and functionality…

Droid is a major threat to Apple
Analysis The beast cometh
By Nick Farrell
Tuesday, 17 November 2009, 11:15

IT IS WRITTEN in the book of the revelations of Steve Jobs that the world will be swamped in a sea of open sauce and people shall not heed the hallowed press releases from Cupertino any longer.

It predicts a grave time, when the smug, after inheriting the world with their nifty gadgets, will be mocked for being backward. This terrible course of events can be avoided, says the book of Jobs, if mankind repents and buys whatever Steve tells them to at whatever price he names.

Now it seems that people have not been buying Ithings fast enough for the beast, or rather the anti-Iphone, is upon us.

The Motorola Droid is proving popular with the great unwashed. After only a week in the stores 250,000 people have snatched up Droids according to Flurry, an analytics firm specialising in mobile applications.

This is four times the number of launch-week sales estimated for the Mytouch 3G, which had previously been considered the fastest-selling Android device.

Droid’s 250,000 figure puts it well above the Mytouch, but still well below the Iphone. More than 1.6 million Iphones went out the doors during its first seven days.

However the Iphone 3GS was building upon a massive base of brainwashed Apple fanboys whipped into a frenzy by the tame Apple press vying to show Steve how loyal they were to the faith.

Droid started out from scratch with few people knowing what it was. It also only launched in the US while the Iphone 3GS was launched in eight countries during its first week.

True it is a long way from being an Iphone killer even if it has emerged in a strong position. But taken together with Android’s popularity among mobile phone makers, Apple might have something to worry about.

One analyst predicts a 900 per cent increase in Android smartphone adoption over the coming months. Others think Android will surpass the Iphone in worldwide adoption by 2012, with 14 per cent of the global smartphone market.

Andriod’s growth is coming at the expense of Symbian and Windows Mobile at the moment, but as adoption gets greater it will become a harder target for anyone else to knock out.

The Ipod proved there is only so much Apple can do before its technology becomes yesterday’s fad. There is only so much you can stuff into a gadget before the issue becomes one of price and that is not a war that Apple wants to get into.

Another war that a proprietary outfit like Apple does not like is to take on open sauce. Apple has always made its enemy Microsoft. If you write an anti-Apple story you will always be targeted by a fanboy who will insist you are taking money from the Vole. A third way, that of open source or even another operating system, does not occur to them.

But it is open source that could prove Apple’s undoing even more than anything Microsoft can do. One of the big sales points in the smart computer war are the apps. Apple keeping its hand firmly on the development of applications limits the field to its Disney-like view of the world.

Andriod app development however is unlimited. Even the operating system itself is up for grabs for new and exciting development that does not have to go through the autocratic hierarchy of Jobs’ Mob. If users do not like the fact that their Android phone can’t play HD games or other entertainment then there will be a developer who will knock out code that can do all of that.

Soon, the best that the Iphone will be able to offer are cheesy games and little apps things that don’t threaten the Apple empire.

This is why Apple needed to get a foot into China. If it could sell its religion there it would gain considerable time to think of something new. The Iphone alone would sell in the millions.

But unfortunately the Chinese are not buying Ithings and to make matters worse, the reasons for Apple’s failure behind the bamboo curtain, that is, price and a lack of functionality, might become openings to a winning scenario for the open source Android. ยต