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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Open Android vs. Closed iPhone

Comments (485)

I just finished up spending the past two days at Google I/O. On one of the panels I participated in yesterday (VCs Who Code), the endless discussion about open (e.g. Google) vs. closed (e.g. Apple) came up with Dave McClure stating “Open is for losers.”  We had a short but spirited debate about a topic that could easily consume an entire panel before Dick Costolo (our moderator) quickly moved us on.  Of course, we got bogged down again later in “native apps vs. web apps” question (which I think is irrelevant in the long run, and said so.)

When I woke up this morning I was still thinking about the open vs. closed thing.  I’ve been using a Droid for a week (Google gave one to everyone that came to I/O) and I’ve been loving it.  I’ve been an iPhone user for several years and while there are a bunch of things about it I love, there are several that I hate, including the pathetic AT&T service, major limitations in some of the applications such as email, the restriction of Flash, lack of tethering, lack of statefulness, lack of multi-processing, and the unbearable shittiness of iTunes for Windows.  But, I never really considered an alternative until I started playing with Android 2.1 on a Droid on Verizon.

I’d basically decided to switch to the Droid.  The keynote on Day 2 was split between Android 2.2 and Google TV.  I was completely blown away by Android 2.2.  It doesn’t merely address each of the issues I have with my iPhone, it demolishes them. Google wasn’t bashful during the keynote about taking shots at Apple, which was fun to see.  And as I sat there, I kept thinking about how far Android has come taking an entirely open approach.

While Google “had me at Android 2.2”, they sealed the deal by giving every attendee a brand new HTC EVO 4G (running on Sprint).  There have been plenty of complaints about Android handsets; the Droid was good although I have had a Droid Incredible on order.  But, now that I have my HTC EVO, I’m completely hooked.  The physical device is magnificent, the Android implementation is awesome, and it is still only running Android 2.1 so it get even better when the over the air update is released and automatically upgrades.

I’m now in a position where I can dump my Verizon MiFi since can use my HTC phone as a hotspot.  One less $60 / month bill, one less thing to schlep around.  And I never have to use iTunes for Windows again.  Apple just lost me – again.

The most amazing thing to me when I reflect on this is how much of a complete non-event Microsoft in this discussion.  Before the iPhone, there was a different discussion and Windows Mobile (or whatever it was called) was regularly in the middle of it.  Not only is it no longer in the middle, it’s no longer in the discussion.  Google focused their sights directly on Apple and – with an open approach – is now in a position where it can legitimately threaten the iPhone’s long term position.

I love this stuff.  Plus I now have two cool new phones.

  • Kevin

    How much does having the iPhone only on AT&T's horrible network hurt Apple? It sounds like you would take the Droid over iPhone regardless of the network.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

      AT&T has hurt Apple a lot, at least for me.  If I could actually use my iPhone as a “phone”, my eyes probably wouldn’t have wandered.  But once they did, I’m done with it!

      • matta

        i think apple's policy of squeezing their fans thats what I hate, the problem is they have the tech but they don't want to give it to you because they want to control you in the process they make the product useless, flash playing ability is very important for real internet use but they dont allow it why?? no one knows now, they want us to buy their pad crap for what ?? you cant browse half the websites which run flash videos, i love Microsoft because they are more user friendly and more consumer centric.

  • http://www.tomloverro.com Tom Loverro

    How is battery life with and without apps running in the background? Also let us know how some Flash usage affects battery life. I am interested in hearing from someone with an open mind.

    One other question: would you recommend Android to a non-technical user like your mom, etc.?Is it more complicated than the iPhone or has that changed?

    Yes, AT&T really is hampering the iPhone. I wonder if we'll see T-Mobile and some of the regional GSM carriers added in the US later this year. Verizon unfortunately seems like they are a still along way off given where LTE is.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

      I don’t have a good feel for battery life yet since I’m still just beginning with it.  But – I’ll likely have a point of view in a few days.  That said, the battery is – wait for it – “removable” so you can actually carry a spare around and double your battery life!

      My mom could definitely use this phone.

      • Jeff Pajor

        That was Walt Mossberg's big complaint was battery life. Looks pretty awesome still.

        • KC…

          Walt used to be credible, then at some point he became an Apple goon. I then switched him off. When I read his evo 4g review I was disgusted. IMHO, he intentionally glossed over every single feature which really strikes a blow at the iphone and focused primarily on the one feature he knew he could pick apart. In addition, Engadgets tests actually refute everything Walt said and I am now in a position to believe Engadget more than the way Walt sees the phone through his Apple colored glasses.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

            I’m not having any trouble with battery life.  The one thing I did was turn OFF the automatic screen brightness.  The screen was too bright and sucked the battery.  Interestingly, the iPhone had the same issue for a while – there was a release at some point that actually fixed the automatic screen brightness so it adjusted correctly.  At this point I simply fixed the brightness pretty low (which on this phone is still amazingly bright and clear) and the battery seems to be lasting plenty long.

      • http://www.24pagebooks.com Martin Edic

        After 3 months with an Eris, I think Droid is awful. Terrible battery life, counterintuitive interface, really lousy phone experience (my old Razr kept better track of my call history than this thing) and the recent 2.1 upgrade broke everything. It is now slower, more buggy and even less battery life- try Googling Droid upgrade. I wish I had.
        Unless your mom is a techie, I'd guess she would hate this thing. Add in Flash and I bet it gets worse. My only reason for not using an iPhone is AT&T. The Eris has four physical buttons, four haptic buttons and nested menus you have to wade through for everything. Crapola.
        Did I mention that I don't like it?

        • schinnas

          Eris was never considered a flagship Android phone. You get what you pay for. Pay the money to get Droid Incredible, or HTC EVO or Motorola Droid and then you can compare. Eris is a cheap phone with limited features for those that count their dollars.

          • http://www.24pagebooks.com Martin Edic

            It's not the phone that sucks, it's the OS. I've used other Droid phones and the experience is fundamentally the same: bad UI design.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

            I disagree.  After 24 hours on the EVO the UI is just fine (and 2.2 looks even slicker).  You do need to spent a little time customizing it for what you want although the default cases are very good.  It’s much more flexible than the iPhone, which also means you can mess it up if you don’t put a little effort into it.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

          I’ve never played with an Eris, but given how flexible Android is (I’ve now used it on two different phones and had two different – but good – user experiences) I can imagine that a particular OEM could create a painfully bad user experience.

          • http://www.medltech.com eric liao

            There's no doubt that you and other people are probably loving Android but does this phone really appeal to the general population?
            I don't like how Google is handling the ecosystem. Handsets from all companies are coming out too quickly, resulting in quick 'buyer's remorse'. Is there any guarantee that the Android phone I buy now will support the next two versions of OS that Google will release in the next year?
            And with handsets quickly being phased in and out, 3rd party accessories vendors will be reluctant to create any decent phone cases or docking stations for your phone.

            So I don't doubt that people love their Android but I personally am not willing to invest the time to learn a system that keeps changing every 6 months.

            btw, how do you organize music with Android?

          • Deathwish238

            Yes, Android most definitely appeals to the general population. 160,000 Android phones are sold a day(that's 1 ever 1.85 seconds) and the EVO, Incredible and X have all sold out. That's pretty impressive!

            Android is easy to use, very customizable and fun and has apps for everything. These are three important things that consumers need.

            Realize that Google does not own Android. They're the major developer of it, but Android is owned by the Open Handset Alliance and is free for anyone to use. That has its drawbacks in that there are no strict rules for Android devices. But there's the huge advantage of it being free…in comparison WinMo cost manufs $75 per phone. That's a huge price difference. The impact Android is having especially in poorer countries and in devices that otherwise couldn't afford to have a top notch OS is great.

            But at the same time, all these new phones are doing is creating competition. Competition is almost NEVER a bad thing and is especially good for the consumer. If Apple didn't have competition we would probably have an even lower specced iPhone 4 who's specs are on par(just added a front camera that's crappier than the EVO) with the 6 month old Nexus One.

            So sure, people are unhappy because their phone isn't the best for long. But 6 months later when the iPhone 4 is still your best option for the iSheep, I will be rocking a dual core Android phone that will make the Nexus and X look slow and have a better battery life too.

            You want a guarantee that the Android phone you buy now will support the next two versions of Android…but is there that guarantee with anything? The iPhone 3G does not fully support iOS4 which is only two iterations after iOS2 that came with the 3G. Take into account that iOS3 didn't make drastic changes either. To make it worse, Apple just disables features on the 3G such as Wallpapers just to entice people to upgrade.

            Android is progressing very quickly, though Google has said they will be going to one release per year now that a lot of features have been fully implemented. Is that a bad thing? In the long run no, not at all. An Android 1.6 device is still great and the overall functionality is much of Android 2.2.

            There are plenty of 3rd party accessories. All these phones use either Micro or Mini USB, headphone jacks, MicroSD cards so they're standardized and there are quality big name cases(CaseMate, Seido, etc) for most of the major phones(like the Droid, Desire, Nexus, etc).

            The system doesn't change every 6 months. Some new features might get added, but it's not like learning parts of a new OS again or anything like that. Flash support for example just required downloaded Adobe Flash on the market. Then voila, Flash is working. Or the new tethering support just added an option in the Wireless Settings area. It's easy and seamless.

            Music organization in Android is something that's going to get a lot better with Android 3.0 Gingerbread with the addition of streaming music from your desktop. But currently, I just drag and drop although there are apps that can wirelessly sync with your computer or iTunes if you'ld like. There are other solutions too, but drag and drop is all I need.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/StartupTrekTV StartupTrekTV

            eric and deathwish, are you getting paid by someone to write the lamest blog posts possible by mankind? wtf?? lol.

          • Deathwish238

            No I don't get paid as nice as that would be.

            Lame? Nothing I said was lame. Pretty much reads like a forum post.

    • Deathwish238

      With Android you can't really choose to not run apps in the background. Android preloads apps you use often so when you need them you don't have to wait for them to load.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/muddy Chris Moody

    Let me know how Sprint coverage compares to Verizon MiFi. As much as I'd like to stop schlepping my MiFi, the service/coverage from Verizon has been rock solid.

    I think Apple sure made a wrong turn when they decided to pick a fight with Adobe. The whole tone of the conversation has changed in the last month. Now you've got Google and Adobe teaming up and Apple is positioned as the "closed" solution with devices that can't use much of the web.

    I was just at a major Flash event in NYC and the tone of the conference was shocking. It was like all of the guys at the conference just found out their wives were cheating on them. The Adobe community has been evangelizing Apple products for years and now this same community is spending huge amounts of their time bashing Apple. Not good.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/StartupTrekTV StartupTrekTV

      This is little-known (and not publicized by Sprint or Verizon), but Sprint has a silent roaming agreement with Verizon. When you are out of Sprint coverage, you are actually using Verizon's network. I learned this from a Sprint executive last year, and all of a sudden a lot of things made sense.

      It will be interesting to see how the Droid "wears" on you, Brad. I've had 5 iPhones and 2 Droid devices (the G1, and Moto G2 Droid). When we did the interview I had just switched to the Moto Droid and was about as enthusiastic as you currently are with the new one. What happened with me was, slowly over the next 6-8 weeks I started missing my iPhone – just a lot of little things added up. The Droid OS isn't as quick/instant/intuitive; there are key apps missing; various small annoyances, etc. I ended up selling the Droid, and have been happily back on the iPhone for several months. Also helping, AT&T's service is much better around Seattle, than it was in the Bay Area.

  • Roman

    Did you ever sit back and think that you just come across as a gadget whore? Are you telling me that you are definitively an android user going forward? I am so-damned-tired of "vc's who code" but know shit about the real trends and only react when handed freebie's. If android is so cool, why were you still on an iPhone and why does it take a freebie to make you a convert? I betcha that 6 months from now you will be singing songs about "how apple stole the show and you love your new iPhone"….shhheeesh.

    Yeah, apple lost you…and your nonsensical posts made you loose (another) reader.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

      I am a gadget whore!  I love to play with lots of different things.

      Oh – and I buy almost all of them.  I never ask for a freebie for anything, including software that I want to try from startups – I always pay for it.  In this case, Google gave 5000 attendees (whoever came to I/O) each phone as a gift.  Very generous (and smart) of them.

      When the iPhone 4.0 OS comes out, I’ll definitely refresh my iPhone and play with it some more.  But I’m now taking Android a lot more seriously – I wasn’t until I saw 2.2, even though I was enjoying my Droid with 2.1.

      Sorry I lost you.

      • David L

        Roman, are you implying that as consumers with choices, we should all pick a loyalty right now, in the nascency of rapidly accelerating space? That doesn't really make sense to me. If someone is truly looking for the best, most cutting edge product, and is willing to upgrade as frequently as is necessary, why would they not be a whore about it? Nobody decides whether they like a phone or not by reading through the specs. You have to touch it, play with it, really integrate it with your daily life, to make that decision.

    • KC…

      Spelling lose incorrectly makes you a loser.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/StartupTrekTV StartupTrekTV

      Boy, Roman…. if that annoyed you, then you are going to REALLY hate me! Here's just a partial list of the PDA's and phones I've owned, since first becoming enchanted with PDA's (Taurus/HP200LX, ~1990) then later on, Smartphones:

      Sharp Zaurus>HP200LX>Cassiopeia E-10>Palm Pilot 1000/5000>iPaq 3600>HP 360/620LX>Palm III, IIIx>Diamond Mako>Palm V>Palm Vx>Psion 5Mx>iPaq 3630,3670>Samsung i300>Sony Clie NX70>Kyocera 7135>Sony PEG T50>Samsung i330>Treo300>Samsung i500>Sony NZ90>Sony SJ33>Rim 7230>Sprint Treo 600>Treo 600>iPaq H4355 PPC>iPod + Sprint Treo 600>Sony Clie NX-73, Th55>Sanyo 8200>Treo 650>Tungsten T5+BB 7290> Sprint 3G + Cradlepoint MiFi > iPhone 2G>iPhone 3G>AT&T BB Curve>AT&T BB Storm>BB Bold>Sprint Curve>Sprint/Palm Pre (6/6/09) > iPhone 3GS > Motorola Droid 2 > iPhone 3GS

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/James_Mitchell James_Mitchell

      Roman sounds like a total asshole!

      The fact of the matter is that we all are busy and as much as all of us would like to spend every waking moment playing with new technology, there are a few other things that require our attention. Brad gets paid to find startups and then help them become successful. I expect that is as much of his focus as playing with new gadgets.

      I assume while Brad was using the iPhone he was thinking, "This phone sucks but it does not suck so much that I am going to spend a lot of time looking for a replacement." At least that is the way I operate. In general, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know and something has to be pretty bad before I switch. As economists like to say, gathering information has a cost.

      James Mitchell http://www.jmitchell.me

  • Rick Gregory

    Brad –

    I don't see anything in your post that indicates you moved to Android because of openness. You moved because of features. That's fine, but let's face it, had Android not solved any of the issues you had with the iPhone you would not have switched, open source OS or not. If the iPhone is released at WWDC and eliminates each of the issues you had, is launched on multiple carriers and has awesome features you'd love, would you move back? If not, why not? Don't give me the "Apple's closed, Google's open" line because, frankly that had zero to do with your decision as you explain it here.

    The open vs closed debate is as silly and meaningless as 'what's better, black or white" – both have points and reality just isn't that simple. It's very disappointing to see you fall into this simplistic trap and it's tiring to see tech commentators mindlessly spew "Apple's closed! Google's open!!" They each make products and do what they feel will serve their company best. Neither is perfect, but don't start off a post telling me that Google being open was compelling and then list off a bunch of product features. From what this post says, you'd have switched had Android been closed source and the Android market had the same policies as Apples' App Store as long as the new version of Android and the EVO given you the features you outline. Oh and if you're going to argue that being open somehow led to those features… no. Just no. What led to those features as a good product team.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

      I completely agree with you.  I just reread the post and I don’t think I said anywhere that my decision criteria was that Google was open.  In fact, on the VC panel when McClure said “Open is for losers” I responded with “it totally doesn’t matter – why are we talking about this?”

      There is no question however that the Android approach is open and inclusive when compared to the iPhone approach which is closed and controlled.

      If the Android phone had sucked, or Android 2.2 had sucked, or didn’t solve the feature and performance issues I had with the iPhone and AT&T, I wouldn’t have considered switching.  Or – if the iPhone OS4 addressed (or addresses) some of these issues, I’d at least contemplate switching back.  So – yes – absolutely – my decision process is feature / performance / functionality based.

      • DaveJ

        Then the title of the post could be improved…

    • Markus

      Agreed

    • MattL

      I think the point is that you can see a successful closed device and a successful open device… in fact he's pointing out the open device happened to win him on more points. This doesn't imply that open is better, but that in fact open is not an issue with a successful device and that closed isn't the only way to go.

      Ironically Steve Jobs himself is touting the open concept, which is pretty much in contradiction with the majority of Apple development philosophy with very few exceptions. I mean Apple has historically defined itself by being closed and controlled and many would argue this is why Windows is in more use now than Mac. So you may not see it as a point to bring it up, I may not, and Brad may not, but obviously Steve the hypocrite Jobs certainly wants to bring it up and criticize Adobe about it while using a double standard against himself and Apple being extremely closed.

  • Mike Lewis

    I've been carrying around both an iPhone and Droid the past few months and see the pros and cons of each:

    Droid: Google integration (gmail, calendar, contacts) and Google Voice is great, Verizon is much better
    iPhone: iPod integration is huge, apps are way better and typing is much better than Droid

    I was hoping that the new iPhone would solve lots of the issues and was planning on upgrading. However, i'm considering going full time to Android.

    One other thing that upsets me is this Open vs. Closed debate. There are levels of Openness and Apple HAS allowed developers inside and created a vibrant ecosystem. Just because it isn't Open Source doesn't mean they are the devil. I think it's more of a backlash of people wanting to beat up the market leader. On that point, there's a good post here about the difference between today's Apple and the PC Wars' Apple.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

      I’m not taking a religious position on open vs. closed.  But I am pointing out the difference in the broad approach.  Both have their place.  Both Google and Apple are smartly focused on developers.  But, in this case, I’m going to predict that Google’s innovation vector is going to be much steeper in the near term.

      • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/sideways8 Mike Lewis

        yep – that's probably right. As it is now, all the Android apps are inferior to Apple's. Once Android market share grows and can point to some apps that are making money (and have a business) then it's game on.

        • http://www.bradendouglass.com Braden

          Uh, you nailed it with the word "typing."

          I have played with a nexus, droid, incredible, and hero and they all have atrocious typing. The keyboard itself is wunderbar, it is the experience that is atrocious. I really wonder if this has been solved in the EVo?

          Thanks Brad for a well done expose on all the droolable android features in 2.2

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

            I’m finding the typing on the EVO to be fine.  I’m also really want to try the Swype beta – I think this is the ultimate answer since typing on a keyboard like this is stupid anyway compared to approaches like Swype.

          • http://www.mytestbox.com Mircea

            Typing on iPhone is better than other handset because of the touchscreen. Still beats the shit of any other ones:http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2010/03/24/further-te

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/StartupTrekTV StartupTrekTV

      Mike, some good points. FYI I've owned both Moto Droids and iPhones, and I cannot see any improvement in the GMail, calendar, or contact integration on the Droid vs using the same on the iPhone 3GS. The key for me on the 3GS was to access my GMail from the Safari browser, versus using the Apple email application.

      I think wrt "open" that is a synonym for what developers are really feeling the pain on, which is first, Apple acting as an arbiter of what gets into the app store (or not), then second the fact that they take 30% revenue off the top away from the developer. The approval process is definitely "closed", secretive with no explanations given, and has annoyed many.

  • http://www.howradical.com zenmatt

    The only question I have is why are you using Windows?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

      I’m a very happy Windows 7 user as are many other people in the world.  I’ve never been a Mac users and I find so many things about it frustrating whenever I try to switch that I end up failing pretty much every year (when I buy the latest Mac whatever, try to use it for two weeks, and end up giving up.)

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/James_Mitchell James_Mitchell

        Brad has written a couple of posts in the past along the lines of "I tried to switch to Mac and these were the problems."

        Fundamentally, the Mac is a great personal computer, it is not very good when you are part of a group. If you are, you have to think about the server side of things. In this regard, Microsoft has a comprehensive set of offerings — Windows Server, SQL Server, Exchange Server, it how has a decent successor to VPN called DirectAccess. If you are developing internal corporate information systems, .Net is about ten years ahead of anything open source offers. Brad even likes SharePoint. Apple really is not a viable platform for those who works in groups. It doesn't matter whether you are profit, non-profit, education, government, or whatever, if you are working as a member of a team, Applie is not a viable option.

        James Mitchell http://www.jmitchell.me

  • http://twitter.com/williamherring William

    Today I walked to the bakery down the road I stopped and chatted with some kids skateboarding (They said they were 14 & 15). I pulled out my iPhone to silence a call and they asked if they could hold my iPhone. I was amazed at how amazed they were at a device that they could get for $99. I showed them apps and let them play with it while I was on their skateboards.

    The Kicker. When I was done one of the kids pulls out his phone, an Android. Not sure which model but it was pretty nice. When I asked him why he didn't have an iPhone he said AT&T. And the other kids agreed.

    For the average consumer I don't think the issue is open or closed. I understand that a closed platform leads to missing features, but many want a badass phone and the iPhone is the "It" device of the moment. Notice I said moment.

    Several things are hurting the iPhone but none bigger than AT&T. In my opinion, if the iPhone had been on multiple carriers in the US it would be dominating the smartphone market the same way the Motorola Razr dominated mobile phones years ago. And if that had happened no one would care about Android.

    Because of this lack of foresight apple cut a huge hole in the money bag they fill up each year and they created a massive opportunity for their competitors to take over a market they should be dominating.

    As long as AT&T has an exclusive contract people will buy Android phones. And when the iPhone is finally on other carriers it may be too late.

    At the rate that Android is progressing it will have won over the mobile world and the majority of mobile developers.

    When that happens the iPhone could find itself in the same situation as Windows Mobile and those kids I met may not be in awe over my iPhone anymore.

    I hope Google I/O has the guys in Cupertino reevaluating some of their decisions.

    As someone involved in creating new apps for the platform I know myself and several developers are reevaluating our focus. Some because of the open/close debate and others because they understand that the bigger the market (Android is growing fast), the more likely they'll see a Return on Development (ROD, Corny I Know).

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/sharemefg Fred Grott

    Brad you right:

    1. Open vs closed…While J2me was not entirely open the open ecosystem of that framework did happen to allow us to see what an open ecosystem in the mobile stack/app space might look like and where it could win. Now its even better with a full open mobile stack and app stack with Android executed in the right way per the UI implementation, etc.

    With the 100,000 activations per day that is globally within 5 to 10% of iphone sales worldwide..in just 18 months..Last time that happen it was Nokia..i believe..

  • Mark Van Buskirk

    The iPhone has some great apps, but if you can't use the phone, it is not a smart phone it's a DUMB phone. Android on Verizon/T-mobile/Sprint may have less great apps today (quickly getting much better), but a great phone, so it's a true smart phone.

    I've been running around Boulder with a Motorola Droid preaching this gospel to anyone who would listen, including at BOCC, but people are just not independent thinkers & are hooked in the iPhone crack — now that you are a convert, maybe people will see the light. I love my iMac 27", my AppleTV (for now), and my original iPhone, so it's not an Apple (closed) vs. Google (open) thing for me, although I do think open will eventually win. I just use what's the best technology at the time and treat it like an unemotional business decision.

    Android "had me" at multi-tasking (why I will wait to buy an iPad until OS 4.0 & a front facing camera) and their Google Navigation app just blows me away. That's not even mentioning the built-in voice to text app.(killer) and the great, seamless, tight integration with the other suite of Google Apps, which is a whole other can of worms, depending on what side of the "Google is all too knowing and powerful" argument one falls on. The problem is, consumers and so called "techies" limit themselves (and their minds), because they don't have a clue to what's happening on "the other side." Just like Apple, Google is not standing still, and I don't think they plan to give away mobile advertising, geolocation (Lattitude), social networking (Buzz) etc.. etc., to anyone without a fight.

    I STILL have coverage issues at my North Boulder home, although my femtocell takes care of that, and I STILL get dropped on the U.S. 36 hill, but all carriers have these two problems. I say to people, don't be a slave to your mobile carrier's contract, as it's a rounding error vis-a-vis your monthly service fees, and it's just the cost of doing business today. Liberate yourself and you will see the iPhone will seem like such a toy and so yesterday. At least until next month …

  • http://www.hidefweb.com TJ Cook

    Couldn’t Gree more with @William. However, the other point to make is that Apple may be correct in aiming unshaken at the newest numbers showing android ahead of iPhone OS. After all, are they shaking in their boots about Windows still having complete dominance in the desktop area? As one pundit put it, market share is not the game they play. They play “coolshare.”

    Now, that’s where the discussion here gets a little tricky and id say apple should be shaking in their boots. They made a strong statement recently that they are a mobile device company. They know as a certainty that the future os in touch devices and that laptops and desktops as we mow them today are going to be relegated for usage only by power users who need the best hardware always.

    If they’re a mobile company there is no reason to fear Microsoft. But Google? Absolutely.

    Apple is way behind in cloud-based technologies (nevermind native versus web app–let’s talk about the iWork suite only being able to sync via iTunes. Manually. With no versioning.). They’re way behind in partnerships (their biggest partner has become their worst enemy on a matter of a year or two). They’re way behind in distribution (single carrier in the US).

    I think there’s writing on the wall taking shape, and cool new front facing cameras and better implimentation of delayed features ain’t going to cut it for long. But then again, You know Apple mat have a new hardware innovation in sight–if they can keep leading on that front, they’ll stay comfy in their coolshare.

  • Richard

    Brad, do you miss any apps on Droid ?

    • Ryan Fligg

      Good thoughts all around. It is hard to be a Droid user in the Boulder area with all the Apple fans not taking an open look. With that said, I have been using my Droid since November. I got my wife one shortly after she started using mine. Google voice is great especially with family overseas, no more using Skype, just make the call at GV's low rates.

      My wife is not very technical but you would have a hard time prying the Droid out her or hands. We had an iPod touch before hand and I offered to get her an iPhone if she wanted. She has played with them and used her friends but has been unimpressed so I agree with Brad that your grandmother could use it. As for the Droid Eris, agreed on that point as well, yet get what you pay for. To truly understand Android, you need to be running a Google Experience device.

      In other news, I recently picked up an Nokia E72 for a trip overseas and loaded up OVI maps. It is much faster (just updated today and improvements are VERY noticeable) that Google maps and their coverage overseas is better and the maps are available offline, something Google should consider. With that said, I love the Google Navigation on the Droid. We had our GPS stolen out of our car a few weeks before we got our Droids. There has been no need to replace the GPS (Garmin Nuvi 775T) seeing how good the coverage is with Verizon's network (I do a lot of back country skiing and hiking) as we used to be on Sprint.

      I am still waiting for the apps to catch up as I did have some apps I loved on my ipod Touch but usually a request to the developers yields an Android version relatively soon or a promise to deliver in the near future. The one thing Android has going for it is that the apps have already been written for the iPhone OS and most times it is just porting, usually easier said than done.

      All in all I am happy with the Android platform. Google's I/O conference seems to have resolved some of the fragmentation issue and I am excited for 2.2 to make its rounds in updates in the near future.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/StartupTrekTV StartupTrekTV

        fyi Google voice works great on the iPhone 3GS. Apple wouldn't let it in the App store, so Google cleverly developed an HTML(5?) version, which works like a bandit. Go GV!

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  • Denise

    Thanks for the timely post – I was looking to pick up a new iPhone as I've managed to smash my existing one – I really do wish they do drop tests on those things. I detest AT&T – there are many aspects about the iPhone that I like, but I spend too many days cursing dropped calls – it fails at the basic functionality of a PHONE

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  • http://startuptrek.net Steve Bell

    But… Brad. Now you've dumped your EVO and gone back to the freakin' 3GS iPhone. I am so disappointed!

    What was your reasoning??

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

      I decided that to really do a month of Mac, I needed to only use Apple products. So – it's all Apple, all July.

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