To compare the two competing mobile OS's one might be compelled to draw up one of those nice comparison charts. You know, with the pretty check boxes or numbers showing what each platform offers in price, stats, and features. I particularly like the ones which are put together by the marketing group from one of the included devices. Where they include options that not only are unique to their product, but really are only of any use to their product as well. I might even be inclined to point out some marketing research showing which device is gaining more of, or holding onto market share. I might chose to beat a dead horse and talk about how Apple has such a huge head start in user base and number of applications that nobody will ever be able to catch up.
I believe it's much simpler than that. So simple that the two respective platforms have provided the material for discussion for us in their taglines. "Droid Does" & "There's An App For That"
First understand, I'm a geek at heart. I've spent my required hundreds of hours figuring out how to run my own, in house, DNS, FTP, HTTP, POP, SMTP, and any other kind of server I could find a shred of a reason for. I've run OSX, Linux, OS2, etc, etc.... Not because I needed to, but because I could. Back in the early days of home accessible internet, I would preach up and down about how people shouldn't use AOL, because who would want someone else to spoon feed them the internet when you could go out there and experience it all on your own! Run your own browsers, Netscape, Mosaic, lynx and the like. Run your own OS, your own office apps! The personalization and customization afforded an open source type of world goes on, and on.
So in this, the draw to Droid is obvious. An OS that can be run on almost any hardware, run almost anything, and in anyway I'd like it to! Just like the tagline says.... "Droid Does"!
These are the thoughts shared by many of the people that exist in my circles.... Problem is, just that; they are the people in my circles. Other techies, geeks, and gadget junkies. Step outside of our comfortable Slashdot inclusive circles and you find a different population. Out there, in the rest of the world, you run into businessmen / women, soccer moms, grandmothers, etc. It's not that you can't find techies in those groups. But I promise you, the numbers are low..... real low.
There's An App For That.........
Out there you will find people who don't care so much that they can't make their phone have a certain background, or can't run some cool SNES emulator on their phone that some guy hacked up. This group of people just want their phone to work when they turn it on. They want email and SMS to just work when they press a button. They want it to play music. No, they don't care if it's in MP3, AAC, or OGG. Heck, they don't even know what those last two are! When there's an update to their phone, they want to be able to plug it into something and click a big magic button that says "UPDATE EVERYTHING I NEED AND MAKE IT ALL WORK WHEN IT'S DONE." They really don't want complicated instructions that will let them use the new OS before anyone else, they'll just wait for it to be ready. They want to be able to click on an icon for a special app for accessing various internet sites. Yeah, they probably know that they can do the same thing from any mobile web browser... but that takes launching a......what's that? a browser? You may have already lost them, but go on, proceed to instruct them to type in the URL into their keyboard and see how far that goes. And please, don't try to explain to them the matrix that explains which various brands of devices, at which hardware revisions can or can not run which versions of the OS (with or without some features enabled).
This is the "There's An App For That" population. They want to walk into a store, buy a device, and have it work. They don't want to know how fast it is, how much it stores, or how many flavors it comes in. The equation is something like: (just works) + (pretty eye candy) + (trendy) = we'll take 41 million of them please.
Oddly enough, this didn't really become clear to me until Apple released the iPad this year. I know, I'm talking about the iPhone, right?! Yes, but it was the iPad that finally made me realize that the better business case is not to market to the geeks like myself, but to the general population. The 'App For That' population. But the iPad... well, that's another topic.
BTW - I added back the ability to become a 'follower' of the blog, should be up there at the top of the right hand column ;) Follow away!