Doc Searles has got a new iPhone, and muses on a few points:
“I still see this as a phase, and not a bad one. Apple and Google have together cracked open the unholy death grip that phone makers and carriers have long had on the mobile world. At some point those two halves will come completely apart.”
It seems to me that, by accident or design, Google has done precisely the opposite: Handing incumbent phone makers and carriers a tool that lets them stay in the game. Android has basically saved LG, Samsung, HTC et al from either years of development of their own OS or millions in fees to Microsoft to license Windows Phone.
It’s also handed the carriers the ability to “tailor their customer experience” (read: “install a load of useless crapware and lock their the phones tightly”), and control what applications exist on a new phones – in some cases, to lock down what you can install on your phone.
That’s the truth of “open” and Android. Android is about creating an open environment for carriers and mobile phone makers, not for end-users.
Not saying that this is bad, in the sense that Android’s existence increases consumer choice (which is always good). A world where there was only one smartphone OS wouldn’t be healthy, even if it was iOS.
But I don’t think Google deserves any credit for breaking that “unholy death grip” – that wasn’t their intention, and it’s not really in their business interests.