Why Apple Trembles at the Feet of Android

June 22, 2011
34 3 20

    For a time, Apple was the one of the smartphone world’s darlings. Tough, sturdy, seemingly impenetrable, unique, well-designed. In fact, think of any “wow” adjective, and that has most likely been used to describe Apple already. For a time.

    Then came Android, and Apple’s house of glass started to crack, with some parts already shattered.

    There’s only one precise word to describe Android’s growth: rapid. It’s precisely the rapidity that makes Apple squirm restlessly. Four hundred thousand (400,000) daily activations of Android devices as of May this year is, to put it mildly, a feat. Thirty six million Android smartphones sold just this first quarter (according to Gartner)–that’s another feat, one that accounts for 36% of the market share. Symbian simply slipped down to second place (27.4%), while Apple–poor fruit–trailed at third with 16.8 percent.

    Way back in 2008, Android was just a term for “an automaton that resembles a human being” (WordNet, 2006). Fast-forward to 2011, and the term has taken on a new definition: “an Apple-eating, Apple-crushing, Apple-biting automaton controlled by thousands of brain-equipped humans” (my definition–feel free to spread around under a CC-BY-SA license).

    Three years was all Android took to rise to Symbian’s and Apple’s stature. For now, they are peers. For long, not–because Android will simply climb over the two, especially Apple. How did this Green Robot come to grow so rapidly that it scares Apple to kingdom-come? There are several reasons, but let me discuss three of the strongest ones here: freshness and novelty, price flexibility, and standing on the side of freedom of choice.

    Freshness and Novelty

    Pre-Android, Apple was looked up to by almost everyone as the industry’s “most innovative company.” Post-Android, the luster started to fade–and fast. Of course, there remain loyal followers of the Big Fruit, but many have converted to the Robot Cult. One possible reason for the shift in loyalty is Android’s speed in dishing out new stuff–frequently and as speedily as developers can. We’re not just talking here of software updates and upgrades (both the core OS and apps) but also of hardware components that also influence the direction of software development.

    iPhone 5 is yet to come. It hasn’t appeared yet. Apple gave the world a preview of the iPhone 5′s upcoming treats–but only previews. From the time iPhone 4 was launched, up to the time iPhone 5 will rear its head, what will Android be doing? You guessed it. Android will continue to release–fast and furiously–new, fresh, novel, innovative updates to its operating system, with device manufacturers hot on the heels of the updates, scrambling to produce more powerful and faster hardware to keep up. Android will do that, while Apple is ripening its fruit.

    There’s a reason the Android’s mascot is green, and there’s a reason apples are red (although Job’s Apple is chromish).

    Google has been dressed down often for being hasty with updates to the Android platform. The Honeycomb release, for instance, has already reached version 3.2. It took less than a month for Honeycomb to go up from 3.1 to 3.2. What is haste for one is speed for another. Haste makes waste, it is true, and Google strikes while the iron is hot. But, where “waste” is, Google strikes to amend it. In the case of Android 3.2 Honeycomb, for instance, the latest and the last release of the Honeycomb series was necessary to stretch Android’s arms further, that it may embrace more screen sizes. Android 3.0 and 3.1 were designed with 10.1-inch screens in mind. Android 3.2 provides Honeycomb for 10.1-inch screens and 7-inch screens and 8.9-inch screens.

    The wide and warm embrace of the Green Robot doesn’t end at screen sizes, too. The earlier Honeycombs were optimized for NVIDIA’s processors. Version 3.2 provides support for other processors, such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragons.

    The more devices it can run on, the better. That’s a major goal of Android.

    Price

    The cheaper, the better. That’s almost everyone’s mantra. Money is simply something that not everyone can squander, save the opulent. But, then again, even affluent folks often step on the brakes before reaching for their wallets. The cost of smartphones is a very important factor in this game, and Android has a very big edge over Apple on this one.

    Android has been seen on smartphones as cheap as US$99. Call them low-end. Their buyers won’t mind.

    Android has been seen on smartphones as expensive as US$700. They’re the high-end ones, the ones that can often sit on the same shelf as an iPhone 4–without squirming or without blushing with embarrassment.

    And, then, there are the Android smartphones that fall in between.

    As far as price is concerned, Android has the whole spectrum covered. Apple only has its eyes on the wealthy crowd. Undoubtedly, Apple’s business philosophy is one grounded on the worship of money. Android’s is rooted in a humanistic ideology–technology for all levels of the socioeconomic strata. Money-worship is just incidental, completely optional, and entirely preferential.

    Will Apple ever stoop down to the “beggar-price” level? I bet you my plump arse it won’t–except when it clears out its inventory when a new model (e.g., the iPhone 5) arrives, at which time you can expect iPhone 4 prices to plummet.

    There’s a reason Android’s logo is plain and simple green. And, there’s a reason Apple’s logo is shiny and glittery–two words that rhyme with “money.”

    Freedom of Choice

    You want to buy a smartphone from Apple? Get the iPhone–because that’s the only smartphone you will ever get from Apple.

    You want an Android smartphone? Well, lemme see:

    • Acer
    • Alcatel
    • Dell
    • HTC
    • Huawei
    • Kyocera
    • Lenovo
    • LG
    • Motorola
    • NEC Casio
    • Samsung
    • Sony Ericsson
    • ZTE

    …to name a few of the bigwigs. There are others, of course. And, each one of them makes more than just one model. There are over a hundred varieties–all running various flavors of Android, whether stock/pristine or customized. Some are upgraded versions of earlier models, while others are entirely new models. What about Apple’s iPhone 5? Just an upgraded version of iPhone 4, of course.

    What about Apple? Apple only has one smartphone–the iPhone. And, only one company makes the iPhone–Apple. There’s hardly room for choosing there. Somewhat a suffocating situation, don’t you think?

    With Android, you are free to breathe and choose your smartphone responsibly. Is price your dealbreaker? Go look for the low-end models from this or that manufacturer. Got your eyes fixed on a high-end smartphone? Well, Android has several of those, too.

    Is design the determining factor for your purchase of your smartphone replacement? Android gives you a marketplace full of variety, each model having magnetic appeal to various types of people having various tastes and preferences.

    Is storage your deciding factor? Or is it the battery? Or the user interface? Or the camera? Or the 3D bells and whistles? The keyboard? The processor? The gaming capability? Whatever your most important buying point is, Android most likely has a smartphone model that will satisfy your thirst.

    The Android world is a world where you can be you with your choice device. Apple’s garden is one where you have to be someone else just to accommodate the technology. And, that’s a whole world of difference.

    And, if Apple and Android were religions, Apple would be a jealous, monotheistic deity, while Android would allow for the worship of Android-as-deity, with the customer’s brand choice as a sub-deity. (The customer’s carrier choice can also be worshipped as a sub-deity.)

    In Sum

    Android’s speedy freshness, flexible price range, and freedom of choice are the biggest reasons for the exodus from Apple towards Android’s land of milk, honey, yoghurt, donuts, eclairs, gingerbreads, cupcakes, and the promised ice cream sandwich. Android land has a big table for its feast of treats, and the table is abundant. Apple land, well, only has, er, apples. If cavities are going to be the fate for my teeth, I’d rather have them from eating sweet variety than just apple.

    That’s not the end of the Android story, though. Android’s star is already brightly shining, but trust me, it’s still rising.

    Comments

    • nshaziq89

      this post would irritates any apple’s lovers!! man, u’re killing them! lols

    • Michael R. Marano

      Apple’s not trembling. They’ve scored the exclusive patent to touch screen technology. Now Steve Jobs has another way to pretend to be Bill Gates.

      Let the bullying begin!!

    • 8PAQ

      Is this web site an Apple hating support group for teenagers with iPhone envy? I never see any articles here about RIM or Web OS or Win Phone. I guess Android fans are only afraid of Apple. I see a great deal of insecurity around Android people. You hardly see that amongst Apple fans because they love their platform and don’t need to be jealous of some cheap plasticky Korean copy cats. That’s why you see line ups for iPad and iPhones and you don’t see line ups for copy cats like galaxy tab. Oh, yeah that’s right. Galaxy Tab 10.1 lunched recently. Show me reports of lines around the block. Go ahead show me!

      • LAmDroid

        always abt the lines. if the reason for the lines isnt obvious to you, it’s a waste of time trying to explain it.

      • caridadk

        Get outta here troll! android for the win!

      • anon

        go to engadget you’ll find your apple fanboys and apple loving articles there

      • ThaLunatik

        Logic has failed you here, 8PAQ. You have asked why there are lines for the iPad and iPhones but not for Android-based tablets and phones yet the answer has already been found in the article: choice. A thousand people don’t have to line up outside of an Apple store and wait in line for hours for the latest Android tablet because it can be purchased online, bought at the local wireless carrier’s store, bought at a little outlet in the mall, purchased at a large electronics chain, etc.

        It’s like asking why there are thousands of cars bumper to bumper trying to navigate a one-lane highway vs no wait time at all for the vehicles traveling on a six-lane freeway. Is the one-lane highway the best because of that? I think not.

    • LAmDroid

      and no, i dont believe apple trembles at android’s feet. I think Apple feels quite comfortable w their market share. and they make plenty of money from the high markups on all their products selling the delusion that because it’s shinier, and cost 3x more, then it’s 5x better because “if you dont have an iphone..” like the rest of the cool crowd, then you’re just not cool.

      Android does put a little pressure on Apple to include a bit more features with the next new release tho just to keep some things in balance.

      400K activations a day are impressive numbers, but 95% of those probably dont even kno the first thing abt android except dumb interpretation of it being “it’s a smartphone like the iphone”. On the flipside, 95%+ iphone users have an iphone because they actually WANTED an iphone. Android’s success is due to convenience, cultural pressure to adopt a smmartphone, and oversaturation of devices in the market.

      “Tough, sturdy, seemingly impenetrable, unique, well-designed” ????

      really? do you personally believe this? It was the same recycled design for 3 generation, which i found horribly ugly. It was quite fragile, particularly the screen, and it’s internally built-in battery would degrade to struggle to hold a charge after 18mo.s. & from the software perspective, it was horribly incapable of doing most of the standard things you would expect in a phone in 2006, and that’s why I bought an HTC 8125 WinMo phone. the popularity of the iphone was a simple migration of the already succesful ipod consumer market. … which btw.. ipod was a piece of garbage, and I went w iRiver mp3 players back then.

      misinformed ignorant consumers are typically the most profitable ones. It’s not about selling a quality product. It’s merely selling the idea that it’s a quality product.

    • TNUE

      Apple’s iPhone targets mostly caucasian affluent people, while Androids powered Smartphones cater to more diverse population, and this article is so right that you have more options on Android phones than Apple iPhones. Nothing compares and also the screen sizes on Android phones, the minimum now is 4 in. compare to iphone 3.5 in. (am I right on this one?)

      • MacDuck

        > sizes on Android phones, the minimum now is 4 in
        Oh is that the Android ass hole size?

    • suoko

      what’s still annoying is the missing upgrade for some devices:
      I now have a flipout which could probably run gigerbread easily but its still at eclair state.
      This applies to E130 too.
      These devices are now affordable (~100 euros) and deserves attention.
      Custom rom creation is not that easy and froyo (at least) should be pushed to all of them!

    • Ben

      Android has taken over where Symbian once ruled — ubiquitous, available on phones from (almost) all manufacturers, at all price ranges and on all carriers. It will do better than Symbian because it looks and works well (enough), it’s upgraded/updated frequently, it has a lot of useful and/or innovative features and doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel.

      Apple’s not trembling, and definitely not because of Android’s existence, popularity or rapid growth. The majority of Apple people will continue to be Apple people regardless of what Android users might say. Apple *is* taking note, though, and incorporating what it feels to be useful features from other places (Android, Amazon, etc) into its own ecosystem. Apple users are often ignorant of the other options available, but the same can often be said of Android phone users. I overheard a conversation between a new iPad owner and one of our colleagues the other day. The new iPader was raving about how apps are automatically downloaded onto his iPad, about the upcoming progress in moving to cloud computing, the possibility of wireless syncing and desktop/laptop-less backups. I couldn’t be bothered to point out that all of the features that he was raving about were available from other (Android) devices. There was no point. He was enjoying his new toy, and clearly convinced that it was the be all and end all of tablets, and that was fine. There are similar examples, I’m sure, of Android device users.

      iOS isn’t perfect, but it works well for a lot of people. Android isn’t perfect, either, but it also works well for a lot of people. I, personally, use Android devices now (phone and tablet). I used an iPhone 3G, then a Nokia E71 prior to my current devices, and wouldn’t consider going back to iOS or Symbian. The only regret that I have is that a lot of my music and a handful of movies are tied up as DRM-locked iTunes files.

      The average user doesn’t take full advantage of any OS on his/her phone, whether that is iOS, Symbian or Android. The average user, accordingly, will likely be happy with anything that’s easy to use and looks nice; if the hardware’s also nice, all the better. That’s what Apple banks on and will continue to bank on.

      The progress that we see in Android devices will serve to push Apple to incorporate new functions, technology, etc. into its own ecosystem, but that’s about it. iOS will continue to co-exist with Android, just as Mac OS has continued to co-exist with Windows and Linux. That’s the reality, but hype(rbole) generates more page views and discussion.

      Sorry, lots to say, some repeatedly. Congrats if you read it all. I probably wouldn’t have, haha.

      • 8PAQ

        Well said. Finally someone reasonable around here. Do you notice that most of the writers around here are insecure teenage apple haters? I come here for comedy mostly.

    • Hacchin

      I agree with several points on this article but the issue with articles like these is they never alter anyone’s view. Macfags stay Macfags and accuse Fandroids of iPhone envy or w/e bullshit they come up with. And the Fandroids cheer and such. Then when an article pops up elsewhere with several well-reasoned points about how the iPhone trumps Android (see iPhone sales as a single phone exceed the sales of any single phone from any manufacturer on any OS). You get the same response but with roles reversed. It’s like the console wars all over again and it’s getting annoying. Frankly I liked my Macbook, even though it had limited functionality compared to Windows, but was generally easier to use… and it blew up on me (literally). And I like my Motorola Atrix, despite it’s locked bootloader, but honestly the iPhone doesn’t even allow sideloading period, and they despise jailbreakers while Google has no real issue with rooting. My stance is simple, Apple is good. They make good stuff. BUT it’s not what I WANT. This isn’t a matter of objective this is better than this. This is a matter of preference based on certain aspects. And yes brand names are factored into the subjective purchasing decisions of individuals. And if you try to make an argument that only idiots buy Macs, try again. Friend of mine with a PhD in philosophy, and a Masters in English. He is a giant Macfag. My own mother with a Masters in Commerce, has an iMac and an iPhone 4. Myself, a freshman at Ryerson University, I have two iPods, an Android Phone, a Macbook Air, and a custom-built PC.
      To sum up my point, it’s subjective, quit treating it as objective.

      • Hacchin

        and to add-on: if you ARE going to go straight up objective based entirely on specs and functionality there’s still the obvious clash.

        Consider app-count, Apple wins.

        Consider functionality, clash, there are apps on iPhone that are not on Android, some pretty great ones too. But Android allows sideloading and the market doesn’t require approval for apps… so yeah there you go. Of course the lack of mandatory approval results in a high count of non-functional apps. Difficult to say which is better.

        Consider specs, well if specs are a factor in your buying decision you’re going to go with a higher-end phone… so Android wins there. But Apple has the best display (highest resolution and contrast ratio). As well Apple tends to beat out most Android phones with battery life.

        Consider selection. Eh… 1 Apple Phone vs 1000s of Android phones. For the uninformed it’s easier to just buy Apple cause you know it’s good. Android has greater selection for different wants/needs and budgets. However if you don’t know what to look for you may end up with complete junk.

        Consider design. This is entirely subjective and cannot be debated.

        Consider price. No contest, Android wins.

        And so on.

        Now when you factor all these things together you encounter the obvious conundrum, you can’t say for sure which is better. Only that each choice accommodates different wants and needs. So the obvious conclusion is that it is entirely subjective.

    • http://rootandroid.net Root Android

      Apple is not that bad. But still Android rules!

    • Howie_in_AZ

      For an Android site there sure are a LOT of posts about Apple, most of them being how much better Android is than the equivalent iOS device.

      Seeing as how most Android users lack an iOS device I question the target audience for these sorts of posts.

    • Phenom

      I’m 100% positive “trembling” is the LAST thing apple is doing. I love these articles, they prove that I have the superior phone (iphone4). I had to double check what website I was on bc apple was in the headlines of almost all of these articles…it shows that these android fanboys love apple too..you guys can’t keep them outta your head and have to keep writing about them. Flattering really :)

    • Techie

      Apple has been successful not necessarily because they have a superior product, but they have an awesome marketing team. Hands down, they have figured out how to market to peoples wants and needs, and Steve Jobs was known as a great salesman. Its amazing how they get all these Apple drones to flock to their store to look at the same product that have seen for years that has another number in front of it (iPhone4,5,6,7). It’s the same product as the iPod you bought 3 years ago bro. Since birth, people have been astonished at shiny pretty things and that’s what Apple markets towards, they create well designed products that look pretty and are stylish, so people buy it because of the cool pretty factor. I won’t lie, Android phones are more geared towards the power user or techie who has a little know how with phones, where Apple tells you what to do and how to do it. But I do like the freedom with Android to do things the way I see fit not how I am told to do it. So to sum it up, people like to be in and look cool, which is why people buy fancy cars, jewelery, and so on, and that is why people buy Apple products. Apple could lie to you and sell you crap (iPhone 4, with the antenna that doesn’t get a good signal) and make you think you are buying top notch product then come out with a new version that fixes any problems the old version they sold basically selling you beta versions. But it won’t matter, because you will look “cool”. Apple does beat Android in the apps section but that won’t last long. Even though they have a lot of apps, how many does the average person actually use? So Apple fanboys, go get your iPhone with no changeable battery and no SD slot which you have to buy a new version to upgrade the memory or change the battery (Great Marketing Plan Apple).

      • Techie

        Oh and to add to this, Android has just reached the Government sector where Apple failed to do. The Army is using Android apps in the field now. Android will always be one step ahead of Apple because they don’t have to worry about producing the hardware only the OS, and let the experts in the field (Your Samsungs, and LGs) worry about creating the hardware. Another reason why Android produces faster than Apple.

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