Since it's release, the iPhone has rocked the mobile phone industry. Industry giants who lumbered, sanguine, in their well-trodden paths were shaken half to death by Apple.

But why?

Apologies, but the iPhone is not a technological miracle. Things like 3G, video capture, and processing speed are only added a model after the time that they should have been. Fair play, multi-touch and video editing are key strengths that not many phones can mimic, but these things alone do not warrant such a die-hard following.

This is why Android poses a legitimate challenge to the throne. Each one has been dubbed "an iPhone killer", and each had modelled some impressive specs. The HTC Hero, or T-Mobile G2, is undoubtedly one of the greatest phones of 2009. Incredibly fast, and far more perfected than predecessors, it boded well for the future of the platform.

Indeed, the Nexus One simply wipes the floor with the iPhone. In terms of hardware at least. It's lighter and thinner with a bigger screen, and it also packs more punch than the iPhone, boasting almost double the RAM and processing speed. It also has a mike on the back, to record background noise so that it can be edited out of phone calls, with incredible results in terms of noise reduction. Although users can expand the memory within excess of 32GB, Google only fitted 512MB. Silly Googley-bear.

Another factor to Apple's detriment is Android's open nature, which has undoubtedly won alot of people over. Unlike Apple, who vet all apps before they can be put online for download, with stringent developer packs and regulations, Google allow third party apps with little or no checking. This allows for much more customisation than you could expect from iPhone, such as theme changes.

Unfortunately this means that any old crap is allowed on there. Many of the apps are well made, clever, and useful. But most of these are either available on the iPhone, or bear startling resemblance to those on it. Users are also met frequently with error messages. "Oops, random.app has stopped unexpectedly" [Click retry] [Enter loop of this process].

A review in the New York Times, of the Nexus One, also revealed this Achilles Heel. Unfortunately for Google, it also shows exactly why iPhone is on top. It works.

Despite an overwhelmingly impressive list of specs, infinite customisational options, the software on Android phones really lets them down. Despite being a second out of sync with reality, it is Apple's attention to detail and finish that is winning the crowds. iPhones just work, perhaps because of their simplicity. The Nexus One won't topple the iPhone unless it sorts itself out.

 

 

Comments

...but the Nokia's are currently the best selling "techno-phones" - almost double the iPhone and i think blackberrys even sell more than apple do. Still, i agree that the Google phone won't do as well.

Interesting that Google's share price fell after the announcement of the phone. Haven't looked at the Nexus One stuff closely, but the thing that I thought looked potentially impressive was the voice-to-text feature they demonstrated. If that really worked I could imagine it being massively useful - particularly for journalists.

Ian Reeves is head of the Centre for Journalism

The other problem is that all of the software "advancements" that they've been pushing the Nexus One and the Milestone (Droid in the US) with has been done before on previous models. The Google search by voice and by picture were available as a beta apps even on the G1. These seem to be weak selling points if you can buy a cheaper Android phone and still download them.

The voice to text feature could be incredible, though, with potential applications everywhere. However, if the success of "search by voice" is anything to go by, this will be a flop. If it works, I only hope the brains at Google think to integrate the technology into the search.

Nexus One vs iPhone: Why Apple will stay on top