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Fake Steve Jobs: Why I'm Switching to Android (newsweek.com)
175 points by recampbell 2622 days ago | hide | past | web | 186 comments | favorite

I'm getting really tired of reading hacky comparisons of iPhone vs Android to Mac vs Windows. For one thing, there is not a huge price discrepancy in the smartphone space the way there was on the desktop in the 80s and 90s, when Macs tended to carry a 2-3x markup. There isn't the problem of too few games on the platform; Apple currently has the advantage here, though obviously not forever. And despite Apple's willingness to piss off devs, I would say Apple is still providing more tools and support to developers than they ever did when the Mac was fighting for survival.

Windows also had an advantage of a write-once, run-anywhere software ecosystem. Other than different screen sizes, or perhaps graphic cards for games, you could expect a consistent mouse-keyboard-screen interface. Android has to account for lots of little differences in hardware form factors and feature sets, and the onus is on Android devs to manage these, which was seldom an issue for Windows devs.

Mac vs. Windows was last generation's technology battle, and it's long over. We're now in uncharted territory.

I think you're wrong about the write-once run-anywhere software ecosystem that Windows had to deal with. There was an incredible proliferation of different hardware -- including drivers etc. -- and it was mostly up to Microsoft to make sure that the OS continued to work flawlessly (or at least at whatever level of semi-stability it managed to attain) across all of these different configurations.

This is an enormous responsibility that Apple has never had to deal with -- there's a difference of at least 3 if not 4-5 orders of magnitude in the number of different types of hardware platforms that each company had to deal with.

Android has a few dozen phones to support. And yes, the "metaphor" is slightly different across phones, but it's nothing like having to deal with every random piece of hardware that every company puts out.

>This is an enormous responsibility that Apple has never had to deal with -- there's a difference of at least 3 if not 4-5 orders of magnitude in the number of different types of hardware platforms that each company had to deal with.

Apple is supporting two gens of hardware. The iPhone OS will support the iPhone 3GS, the latest iPod Touch, the next-gen iPhone (as of now, unreleased) and the iPad.

Android has 19+ phone configurations (not counting carrier specific nuances in the firmwares) to support.

I think its interesting that Mr. Lyons is "blown away" by Android features that will be coming to his iPhone in 30-60 days, with the exception of teathering (which isn't Apple's fault, but AT&T's).

Also, people hate to hear this, but a jailbroken iPhone provides a much better experience and much more competitive than Androids.

Also, people hate to hear this, but a jailbroken iPhone provides a much better experience and much more competitive than Androids.

And according to Jobs, the jailbroken iPhone even includes free room and board for a few years.

Can you back this up? I've never seen anything beyond voiding warranties.


Apple's copyright infringement claim starts with the observation that jailbroken iPhones depend on modified versions of Apple's bootloader and operating system software. True enough -- we said as much in our technical white paper describing the jailbreak process. But the courts have long recognized that copying software while reverse engineering is a fair use when done for purposes of fostering interoperability with independently created software, a body of law that Apple conveniently fails to mention.

So, Steve Jobs can say what he wants. The courts are the final arbiter. Jailbreaking, like "rooting" an Android phone, perfectly legal. Warranty voiding, maybe, but legal.

>Apple is supporting two gens of hardware. The iPhone OS will support the iPhone 3GS, the latest iPod Touch, the next-gen iPhone (as of now, unreleased) and the iPad.

It's three generations. The iPhone 3G is a supported platform for iPhone OS 4.0. You do miss out on multitasking though.

>I think its interesting that Mr. Lyons is "blown away" by Android features that will be coming to his iPhone in 30-60 days, with the exception of teathering (which isn't Apple's fault, but AT&T's).

Lack of tethering is both Apple's and AT&T's fault. It's AT&T's fault for not activating it in the carrier profile but its also Apple's for making sure that the iPhone only allowed signed carrier profiles with iPhone OS 3.1 so that you could no longer download an alternate carrier profile with tethering enabled.

> ts also Apple's for making sure that the iPhone only allowed signed carrier profiles with iPhone OS 3.1 so that you could no longer download an alternate carrier profile with tethering enabled.

This sounds like it was added at the request of the carriers. Free tethering for everyone costs Apple nothing, and improves the user experience.

I think the signed carrier profile was like the SIM lock. Carrier want it so you can't just take your iPhone to the next carrier.

> Also, people hate to hear this, but a jailbroken iPhone provides a much better experience and much more competitive than Androids.

That's your opinion, not a fact. There's no reason to hate you for your opinions, unless you somehow imply that your opinion is somehow more relevant than my opinion (hint: it's not).

No, it is fact. Let me rephrase: A jailbroken iPhone provides a much better experience (than a regular iPhone) and is much more competitive with Android.

Look at the features Android offers that Apple doesn't...widgets? Jailbreak. Multi-tasking? Jailbreak. Themes? Jailbreak? Customizable lock screen? Jailbreak? Multiple ways of loading apps? Jailbreak.

Do you have to pay for some of those features? Yes. Does the marginal utility of any of those features lead to a truly "must-have" experience for the average consumer? Not in the slightest.

You seem to have missed that Android is offering wifi tethering.

The iPhone doesn't have that.

I think you over estimate the number of types of harware each platform had to deal with.

PS: Orders of magnitude 3 = 1,000, 4 = 10,000, 5 = 100,000. Now if you ment 3-5x the number of platforms but 1000x is way to high.

That depends on how platform gets defined. At the OS layer, a reasonable argument could be made for (cpu, northbridge, southbridge). Of course the whole northbridge thing can actually not include usb support, or disk io support, which can then throw more multipliers in there based on chip...

Sure there are standards to describe hardware interactions, but any reasonably experience sysadmin will tell you horror stories of when they found a weird issue with chipset X not following the standard just right, and needing a special case driver that no longer worked with the OS of choice. This means there are combinatorial multipliers on a per device basis (or some percentage thereof...)

Drivers sit outside the OS and the BIOS get you to the point where you can install drivers so at the OS level it's really just a question of # of BIOS's per instruction set * number of CPU cores.

PS: Consider when you need to install a RAID driver before installing the OS.

> it was mostly up to Microsoft to make sure that the OS continued to work flawlessly

I would say that's the difference: Microsoft abstracted most of the differences through their APIs. Android obviously handles some of these issues, but devs have to pay far more attention to degrading gracefully on different screen sizes, lack of multitouch, lack of hardware keyboard, etc.

Of course, web devs have had to play a similar game with the various browsers for a decade and a half, so it isn't necessarily a show-stopper for the ecosystem.

You are correct that there isn't a big price difference this time around between Apple and the alternative. But, standing in for the price difference this time (at least in the US) is carrier availability. To you and iPhone you've gotta switch to AT&T who doesn't seem to be going out of there way to care for those iPhone customers (at least, that's how it appears to me as an outsider hearing constant stories of dropped calls and poor call quality). Android is available on any of the major carriers in the US (although admittedly, with less support from AT&T then from the other 3 major carriers).

Not everyone wants to switch to AT&T. Hell, if there's been a 3G iPhone available for Tmobile I would have bought one long before I'd ever heard of Android.

This is a good point. At the same time, the AT&T exclusivity was a Faustian bargain to get their foot in the door, and is destined to die once the initial contract expires.

When does the original contract expire? Couldn't Apple buy its way out of the contract if it wanted to?

The contract expires after 3 or 5 years, depending on who you talk to. Most of the details are a carefully guarded secret, AFAIK.

Another difference that is not to be ignored is that Windows was the backbone of one of the best businesses of the decade, maybe the best.

Android is like a side project. They aren't going to fight for it like Apple will.

Good point on your first sentence, but I disagree with the second. From the keynote they put on yesterday, Google has made it clear that they'll put a ton of effort and innovation in. They basically called out Apple the entire time. Apple has dominance now because of their huge head start and loyal fan base, but it's looking like Google is quickly overtaking them in innovation and features. Apple will always retain a loyal fan base, but I think they're going to need to step up in adding new features to avoid losing more customers to Android, and that's without considering the factor of people getting annoyed at Apple's paternalist (or "draconian") philosophy.

"but it's looking like Google is quickly overtaking them in innovation and features" Such as? The announcements yesterday looked as though they'd finally caught up to iPhone 3.0, including the huge cheer for "Update All".

Turn by turn directions, multitasking, tethering, OTA streaming of any music you've purchased, total phone back up including apps and data, you were saying?

app for that, in 4.0, got it (UK), app for that, got it.

So again, a huge leap forward? Hardly.

There's a free iphone app for turn by turn directions?

You have wifi-hotspot "tethering" on the iPhone in the UK?


You can have it anywhere.

Also, just because Google said Android can do it, doesn't mean carriers are going to let manufacturers enable that feature on the phone. Odds are, to enable WiFi tethering in production model phones, you will either have to a) Pay more or b) root your phone, sideload an app/firmware.

I think you're only partly correct. Android itself isn't the important piece for Google, it's an open ecosystem for their advertising. In the keynote yesterday they said something about the importance of a future not "dictated by one product and one man". I'm willing to bet Google sees the avoidance of that future to be of vital importance to the survival of their company.

Maybe Google will make money some way, down the road, directly or indirectly from Android. Maybe not. Windows was knowingly building a huge business.

Android, Docs, Chrome or any of the other not directly search or advertising Google activities may be important at some stage. Right now they aren't and it isn't clear that they will be. I don't think Google is treating them as such.

What I was saying is that there will be a big difference in drive between Android 2012 & Windows 1995.

You are absolutely wrong. Google makes money on every web search performed on any device. The point of Android is to get users to do search through Google and make the platform ubiquitous, and right now they're making money hand over fist with that. Same thing with Chrome. Chrome OS device will default to Google Search, GMail, and many services where they make money directly. It's brilliant, and it's working.

Mobile search advertising isn't making much money yet. I doubt Chrome (browser) has made a noticeable difference in Google Search market share. Google don't make much on Gmail or docs.

Look, I'm not saying these are not good strategies for Google. This thread was comparing MS Windows/Dos in the early 90s to Google Chrome Android 15-20 years later. Google is (probably) not building the next biggest business via Android/Chrome. At best, they are strengthening their current (best) business and taking a punt at some new ones that have a remote chance of being businesses in the same class as Search/Adwords, Windows or iphone/ipad.

Apple is building the next great computer business via iphone/ipad, or at least making a very directed effort with all their weight behind it. They are making money on it, directly, now. They stand to make a lot of money on it for an quite a long time.

All I was saying is that there is a difference between these two positions.

Apple is fighting - no doubt about it - but it may be fighting using the wrong strategy. If jobs is really serious about saving the world from viruses, third party apps and porn, he's going to lose a lot of customers.

1980: CPM on your choice of hardware or lock into Apple hardware & software at a higher price.

1990: DOS on your choice of hardware or lock into Apple hardware & software at a higher price.

2000: Windows on your choice of hardware or lock into Apple hardware & software at a higher price.

2010: Android on your choice of hardware or lock into Apple hardware & software at a higher price.

When I bought my first Macbook Pro a few years ago, I purchased it for the hardware and intended to use it to run Windows in Bootcamp. After spending a little time with OS X I came to appreciate it and I now use it exclusively. But my favorite thing about it is the UNIX like underpinning. Which in a sense makes it less locked down than Windows.

Same here. I bought by Macbook just as a nicer alternative to a Dell and six months later I erased my Win partition.

However I may feel about iPhoneOS, Mac OS X is a beast that nothing else can compare to. At least for a consumer unix experience where everything just works.

For values of "everything just works" that don't include standard developer tools. Getting a new macbook into configuration for (for example) web development is a PITA compared to any distro I've used that came with a decent package installer (apt, yum) out of the box. You have to hack up the damned keyboard settings just to get home and end keys to work.

That is because you are trying to use your Mac like it's a Linux box. Use the OS X keyboard shortcuts (which happen to be the same as Emacs, Ctrl-A and Ctrl-E respectively) and grab MAMP and you are good to go.

You don't even have to grab MAMP or Xcode, since Apache, PHP, Ruby, Python, emacs and vim come preinstalled with OS X. So you just have to get the database server. Until you have to compile something.

I don't see the difficulty with compiling. Just get out your install disk, open up the optional installs, install XCode. You now have all the standard Unix developer tools (in addition to the XCode app, which you don't have to use).

I agree, I don't see it either. The whole point of my previous comment was to show that OS X ships with so many things that you don't have to install anything to start programming in PHP, Python or Ruby. "Until you have to compile something" refers to the fact that this claim doesn't hold anymore when you have to compile, for example, a native extension to those languages.

Discs still exist? I haven't installed an OS from a disc in years. And I haven't installed a compiler from one ... ever.

You can download xcode too, you just need an apple developer account. I prefer downloading than going hunting for my Mac OS X disc.

Honestly, do yourself a favor and check out MAMP. It works great and won't gack the next time apple updates php, mysql, etc. I even kicked in and bought MAMP Pro and its arguably the biggest time saver on my laptop.

It also comes with sqlite.

Mapping Caps Lock to Control helps. Now I find myself trying to do it on my Windows box at work vs reaching way over to the home and end buttons.

I can't work on any machine that doesn't have this done. Of course, I always have Emacs open, so convenient ctrl access is critical. :)

Might I suggest running a VMWare image with the same flavor of linux that your production server uses? I've been using this set up happily for years. As a bonus you can copy the dev image to other developers or use it to set up larger dev server.

Install xcode + mac ports? True about the terminal settings I guess, especially if you use screen + irssi.

What higher price? IPhones cost $100 to $300 new with contracts. The Android phones I've seen cost $100 to $300 with contracts. Most of the cost is in the service plans, which are very similarly priced.

I suppose there may be a bunch of crappy Android phones, floating around under my personal radar, available for even less than $100. That sounds like false economy to me. If you're gonna get soaked for $2400 in cellular bills over two years you might as well spend the extra 1-4% and do so in style.

Of course, this is a USA perspective. Things are probably very different outside the USA.

I have an HTC Hero on T-Mobile at UKP20 per month, which compares very well to the iPhone offering which is UKP35 per month, slightly less if you accept a lower offering in terms of calls and texts. So for a little more than the price of an iPhone, I can get two Android devices, one for me and one for my wife.

The experience is STUNNING with excellent performance and more features than I've yet had a chance to grok fully. It's definitely the most exciting computer I've used for a long time.

> Of course, this is a USA perspective. Things are probably very different outside the USA.

Yes, here in Italy it's pretty common to find phones that are unlocked, and full price. I saw a 3gs at the store for 600 Euro the other day. Android phones are also pretty expensive, but not quite to those levels.

Overall, I like seeing the full price as it helps you to compare phones, not phones + whatever wonky plan they're trying to sell.

Verizon's also advertising two Droids for the price of 1 (or buy one, get one "free")

Correct, the price of the phone is about the same and I'd say my Droid Incredible is quite comparable to the iPhone in terms of quality and experience (I had a G1 before, which I loved, but could not quite say was on par with an iPhone). But there's another price- being locked in to AT&T, being locked in to phones made by Apple, being locked out of web sites that use Flash or apps that Lord Jobs has not blessed. The original point still stands, IMHO.

Hmmm. I got my unlocked HTC Desire for £350, and googling for 'sim free iphone 3gs' shows me prices in the £600 range.

Sure, but that's not how 99% of people get their phones, especially here in the US. From the perspective of a typical US phone buyer, who purchases a phone along with a 2-year contract, the prices are about the same.

Same in the UK, but looking at the cost of iPhone contracts and HTC desire contracts, the difference in cost does seem to be borne out - iPhone contracts look to be more expensive here.

How else was Apple going to maintain their 55%+ profit margins on the things?

It sure does make you wonder why Verizon is charging as much as AT&T for their Android plans when the device is almost half the cost. I guess the answer is because they can, because they have a better network. I also wonder if Android handset vendors will try to get a cheaper plan out of Verizon when the Verizon iPhone supposedly lands this summer/fall...

> How else was Apple going to maintain their 55%+ profit margins on the things?

Gross margin on Apple products has consistently been around 33%, at least for as long as I've been listening to their quarterly conference calls.

> The Android phones I've seen cost $100 to $300 with contracts. Most of the cost is in the service plans

The unsubsidized N1 costs $1700 over two years compared to ~$2500. If you factor in the cost of the contract, the difference is huge.

Huh? The N1 costs $529 https://www.google.com/phone/choose . Or are you quoting prices in a different currency than USD?

He's talking about phone + service over two years.

Here an unlocked HTC Desire is a good 30-40% cheaper than and unlocked iPhone 3GS.

The hardware lock in is the much less interesting of the two lock ins you mention. Regardless of which platform you use, you are locking yourself to the software much more than to the hardware.

I think it is more of a case of the software locking you to the hardware for apples case which is rather interesting now that the hardware, at least for Macs, is now pretty much standard hardware with regards to processors and such.

Uh, battey tech? Trackpad? Everywhere you look on Apple products (if you are discerning) you'll see them utilizing the crap out of their hardware control. If I'm not mistaken we're about to see Apple turn up the heat on further hardware differentiation on notebooks to take advantage of their multi-touch gesture patent portfolio, perhaps by elongating the glass trackpad. On the iPhone front I'm guessing that Apple's custom silicon will allow them to get raw graphics performance while simultaneously preserving battery life. Logically this is kind of technology that Google, without control over hardware, is powerless to compete against.

> On the iPhone front I'm guessing that Apple's custom silicon will allow them to get raw graphics performance while simultaneously preserving battery life.

Where does this assertion come from. Apple has produced a processor that does a great job at conserving battery life. Nothing that I have seen leads me to believe that Apple has the tech/experience to 'get raw graphics performance while simultaneously preserving battery life.'

It comes from the iPad. It seems to have an incredible combination of power management, hardware-accelerated video decoding, fast OpenGL (for a handheld) that yields a long-lasting video device. (Despite it being a first generation iPad)

Does apple not support their older notebooks with new OS upgrades like tiger to leopard? If they do support them then I see no real reason why hardware cannot innovate with respect to android in a similar way and still provide support to older hardware styles just as new OS versions do.

Google powerless to compete? That seems like a fairly strong statement given how deep their pockets are.

Isn't that a conveniently simplistic way of looking at the past 30 years of Apple?

You mean the same simplistic way Apple users look at Adobe?

Remember Occam's razor: The simplest explanation is usually the right one.

Occam's Razor isn't a proof, it's a rule of thumb to help you find the answers you're looking for.

It's not even that. It just says unnecessary details are unnecessary.

It's better to think of it as a rule for constructing theories than for evaluating theories.

This article is actually by Daniel Lyons. It's true that Daniel also writes parody articles as FSJ, but this is not one of them.

Man, Fake Steve Jobs is going to be pissed about this article.

To be perfectly honest, while there's nothing wrong with the article, after reading the title I was looking forward with a certain amount of evil glee to find out exactly what FSJ was going to say about switching to Android.

Nothing against Daniel, but his reasons are far less entertaining than FSJ's would have been.

Agreed. Speed Increase? More Multi-tasking? Better Web Browsing? iPhone OS 4.0 has all of that. And it's release date is likely to be announced June 7th.

Now the dropped calls thing, I can't comment on. AT&T in my area is actually great. 3G rolled out EARLY where I'm at. And I've been tethering since December of 2009.

>More Multi-tasking? [...] iPhone OS 4.0 has all of that.

If you mean an implementation that's still more hamstrung than Android's, sure.

As long as I don't have to worry about rogue background processes (like widgets) eating up my battery life, then yes.

The use of FSJ's name in the title was just for convenience, I think. Many here would know who FSJ is, but many fewer would have heard of Daniel Lyons.

while all the commentators and media are wetting their pants about who has landed what blow on who I can't help feeling that the real winners are going to be us users.

Apple will lose if they don't respond - and it would seem likely that they will be forced to add some of these features - streaming from my media library being one I would particularly like.

Keep landing those killer blows guys and making your products better and better!

(mind you I have horrible suspicion that I will end up with devices from both camps - if the production android pad is cool will almost certainly buy one as well as an ipad)

The competition is great for the users. The only bad thing is the war of words from either side that insults the intelligence of the readers.

Agreed. The features and progress demonstrated in Android was great, but the continuous "open blah blah" and snide Apple-Flash-whatever 'jokes' were tiring and lame.

Did they really think they wouldn't get media coverage pointing out the obvious comparisons if they just demo'd and explained rather than explicitly mocking?

I actually wonder how Apple will respond. Part of the reason for Steve Jobs' genius is that he single mindedly believes in his own vision of what users want and what the world should be like. And the problem with that is that although he's mostly right he's always at last partly wrong. So he'll try to respond by moving his platform closer to his own preconceived idea of perfection which is actually partly wrong. In other words, I wonder if one of Apple's fatal flaws is that they aren't capable of responding in a competitive firefight the way a company with less idealism would.

I love the competition but if I can present an alternative view: Why I'm sticking with the iPhone:

I plug it into iTunes and it automatically syncs everything and backs up the device automatically. All my accessories work with the dock connector including my car. I can still get software updates for my 3 year old iPhone 2G. Music & media players are superior to Android in my opinion along with it simply being easier to sync content. I can play my Audible books on my iPhone. Couldn't live without those. It's easier to buy an iPhone. There's basically just one model or the hold-over model from last year. With Android phones I feel like there's always something better right around the corner. I feel compelled to research CPU speed, RAM/ROM size, and evaluate the differences in software. I don't care for the physical buttons on Android phones. I think it's jarring to switch between the touch-screen and menu/home/search/back buttons which incidentally seem to be arranged differently on most Android handsets. I think the iPhone still has a pretty big app advantage especially for games and multimedia.

" It's easier to buy an iPhone. There's basically just one model or the hold-over model from last year. With Android phones I feel like there's always something better right around the corner."

Can't believe that lack of choice can ever be a good thing.

It's like saying "It's easier to pick a job if the government is the only company to work for. If there are private companies/startups, I feel like I can work for another company that is better."

I’m actually quite happy that I don’t have to decide how to assemble my pants.

You rely on a myriad of choices other people make for you every day and I would guess you are quite happy that you don’t have to make all those choices by yourself. There is the architect who decided how the buildings you use every day should work and look. There is the designer who decided which line height the articles you are reading in your favorite magazine should have.

Too much choice can be a very bad thing. It can be suffocating.

"Can't believe that lack of choice can ever be a good thing."

Google Tech Talk on the Paradox of Choice: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6127548813950043200#

Why is Lyons so bitter? His arguments revolve around Android having more "features" and otherwise being an iPhone knockoff. The features debate is old and boring - maybe he cares, but I don't and I suspect that most iPhone buyers don't either.

And as developers, why should we be excited at a knockoff? Do we need to punish Apple for being successful? Unlike Microsoft, Apple has not tried to force people to run its OS. And if Apple stops innovating the phone market, I don't see Google stepping up as a replacement. Much as Microsoft did, I expect large market share to result in years of the same old crap.

I understand that some people don't like the situation they are in, and I'm okay with that. But can we stop pretending that Apple is the evil empire? They make a great product, and you bought it. That's what companies are supposed to do.

How can the features debate be old and boring when Froyo was just officially unveiled yesterday? It's a very relevant debate.

And lets not give Apple too much credit. While the iPhone was best of breed it wasn't nearly the innovation that the GUI was or even WSIWYG word processing. It really felt like an evolution of the smart phone. A very well engineered product, but not the revolution that a lot of people seem think it was.

How can the features debate be old and boring when Froyo was just officially unveiled yesterday? It's a very relevant debate.

There's always something new... how does that make the discussion of "features" versus "execution" debate change?

A very well engineered product, but not the revolution that a lot of people seem think it was.

Precisely. The iPhone has been successful because they only included the good features. Competitors always talk about new features, or fewer dollars. To the average consumer, neither of those are as important as execution. Google will only make a better phone when they make a better phone.

>Why is Lyons so bitter?

People who say that other people are bitter are usually just bitter. The guy is a technology columnist and he talks about technology. What a huge surprise.

>And as developers, why should we be excited at a knockoff?

Humorously just yesterday Daring Fireball and other Apple apologists were pointing out that Google bought Android long before Steve Jobs had his iPhone epiphany. But yes, the iPhone is a knockoff of Windows Mobile, and numerous other phones that came before.

> Unlike Microsoft, Apple has not tried to force people to run its OS.

What. A. Load. Of. Shit.

Apple saw that they had a hit with the iPod and they hung onto "Mac only" for as long as they could, and remarkably it was fairly successful. It isn't accidental that iPhone development is Mac only. Apple does cross promotions with large brands to make iPhone applications, trying to build a world where not having an iPhone means a second tier world. Adobe's cross compiler was a huge threat to that.

Apple is worse than Microsoft ever dreamed of being. They got by with it because they were cute and tiny, but that time has passed. They don't get the free pass any more.

>I understand that some people don't like the situation they are in

Sounds like you're the one that doesn't like the situation he's in. But I'm sure you'll come into all of these discussions to set people straight.

What. A. Load. Of. Shit

Do statements sound better to you when internally punctuated?

Sounds like you're the one that doesn't like the situation he's in.

Yes! My news feed which used to be full of people doing interesting things is full of people whining about Apple's success.

> Do statements sound better to you when internally punctuated?

Rather than poke fun at the method in which ergo98 highlighted the obvious BS that ynniv was passing off, maybe come back with a point?

Some day I'll learn to just leave well enough alone, but this day I'll feed the trolls.

What I said was not BS, and calling it such doesn't make it so. Microsoft engaged in anti-competitive pricing to destroy competition in the market. They made purposely complicated document formats to make switching platforms more difficult (to great affect in corporate environments). They destroyed competition in the browser space so that their operating system was required for the best web experience. They also stole features from Mac OS (if you think they were not "stolen", you certainly can't argue that they were invented by MS), and undercut Apple a little on total package cost, but those are more run of the mill business strategies. They have strategically used bug fixes as a means to force paid software upgrades.

In short, Gates decided that if you wanted a Personal Computer, it had to run Microsoft software, and executed relentlessly against that to the detriment of the consumer.

Apple has (quite simply) done none of these. They have never competed on price (obviating the possibility of undercutting). They released their browser experience for use on all operating systems (I don't care if the KHTML core required this - if that were actually an issue they would simply rewrite it). They have maintained document compatibility with Office for most documents, have good PDF support, and generally haven't used document lock-in as a business strategy. Every release of Mac OSX has added features and often increased performance, sometimes for very little cost to the consumer. The lack of OS copy protection has lead to most upgrades being "optionally paid".

In short, Jobs has decided that he will make premium computers for a small, more well off customer base. At each step, Apple has increased the value of the product, and lowered the cost (when prices have simply not increased, they are effectively decreasing due to inflation). Mac OS X is arguably the best desktop OS that currently exists. Often times, he has increased the value of computing for non-customers by supporting standards or releasing code. Apple's contribution to WebKit and push for web standards has strengthened the overall web, if only though competition with Mozilla and Google.

So, tomlin, my point is that I get a little irritated when people call Apple the new Microsoft. I am also annoyed when people say that some system which looks exactly like something Apple just made, is actually better than Apple's version because of X. Or, that the maker of this product is justified in releasing something exactly like the Apple product "because someone else already did it".

Windows did not look like PARC's Alto. Every finger (not stylus or keyboard) driven full-device-touch-screen phone with multi-touch and sliding gestures does not look like previous smartphones. Zune music store, and whatever Google is pushing do not look like the PlaysForSure MSN Music Store, and eMusic, and Rhapsody with their associated hardware devices. All of these, while not exclusively, are derivative of Apple's take on these products. I know this because they all sucked before Apple fixed them.

I once heard it said that a leader is not someone who pushes their own ideas, but one who reflects the ideas of others. I am not an Apple fanboy because I like Steve Jobs... I'm an Apple fanboy because I like myself. And if something better than Apple comes around, I'd be all over it. But so far, Apple has been an oasis in a desert of crap.

So if you don't care for Apple that's okay with me. But instead of whining about how this oasis isn't what you wanted, how about you get out there and start digging a new one.

When yours looks better than his, I'll join you.

Does this also mean that Android is destined to be as disliked as Windows, with all the problems that come along with being compatible with some many devices from so many different manufacturers?

Windows is not nearly as disliked as some thing it is.

Handset makers such as HTC and Motorola check that Android works as it should, and fix anything broken before releasing updates to users. Carriers may also be involved in this process. Also there are much fewer hardware combos to support.

Windows PCs would work better if Dell (or whoever) made sure every update worked 100% and you couldn't install new components after purchase. As things stand now it is impossible to test Windows updates on even a fraction of the hardware configurations out there.

And the phone manufacturers are also a year behind on updating older devices. The article talks about the new Android 2.2 being great, but there are still phones shipping with 1.5 and no firmware upgrades in sight.

I realize there is no incentive for a phone manufacturer to fix bugs and add features to a device that's a year old. But Apple has done a decent job with the iPhone firmware updates.

Counterpoint: The open source community has rolled their own firmwares with the latest and greatest, so you can update your phone without your carrier. Is it unsupported? Probably. Does it void your warranty? Again, probably.

But considering I consider jailbreaking an iPhone a "feature", doing something similar with an Android phone is also a good thing. (At least it is an option.)

I think a better comparison, is to linux - since it really is a linux kernel underneath, and it is open source. Linux has plenty of flaws, especially with hardware, but anyone can take the code and try and improve it, then contribute back to the main code base. The cyanogenmod is an example of this.

I think it will be okay as long as updates are continually released and those updates are supported by the carriers because phones have a rather fast rate of adoption considering many people do the two year contract and phone upgrade cycle.

That's true. Windows is burdened by the fleets of corporate computers running all kinds of proprietary business software, and it must maintain backwards compatibility. Phones get replaced every two years or so, so there won't be much legacy support issues.

Once people load up their phones with dozens of apps, especially business-critical ones, there'll be a lot of pressure to only buy a new phone that will still run those apps.

To be honest, windows has a lot of advocates too.

Ya my dad is a die hard advocate of Windows but he gets frustrated when it doesn't work and asks me for help and I'm like "that's why I don't use windows. figure it out, I can't help you."

Agh I knew I'd get downvoted but it's true! I don't want to be the trouble shooter for my friends who use windows. It's typically like "try rebooting, uninstall and reinstall drivers, do a malware scan, ......" And I've been using a mac for so long now, I wouldn't know where to start when trying to fix vista.

I just want to take this opportunity to say that I love my Nexus One. I don't care if Google "failed" as a marketer/distributor of the device. When I put it side by side with an iPhone I can't even fathom wanting an iPhone. In fact, you couldn't pay me to switch.

Kudos, Google. Kudos.

Here's Daniel Lyons on why the Zune has a shot (in early 2008):


He didn't really say the Zune had a shot. He just said that the new Zune was a good alternative, and didn't suck like the previous generation.

He noted that most iPod owners were already locked-in by their libraries. His closing line: "Microsoft, you've got your work cut out for you."

I guess am in the minority here of people who have actually used a Zune (HD, completely by accident, woke up on the floor of a Zune product manager's sweet apt in downtown Seattle while visiting a friend, long story.) I've got to say, I was impressed. Screen looked amazing, device is smaller and more responsive than an iPhone. The browser was sort of lame but you could just put Opera on it, no?

Anyways, it's true that Zune is getting trounced, but if Apple continues to piss people off and there are alternatives that are actually a pleasure to use, that may change.

The Zune is a great device. The biggest problem is that the Zune desktop software is pretty much nothing more than a skin over WMP, and can't even begin to compete with iTunes for library management.

I say this as somebody that's owned both iPods and Zunes. The actual hardware experience was better with the Zune, in my book, but the iPod blows it away on the software side.

He also thought SCO would win, with such prophetic headlines as "What SCO Wants, SCO Gets."

I'm pretty confident in the future of Android, but a positive prediction from Lyons is one of the few things that could cause me to reconsider my opinion!

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Lyons )

Interesting to bring the Zune into the discussion. In the past it was always Apple vs. Microsoft. Recently it's been Apple vs. Microsoft vs. Google. In the mobile space though it's very clearly becoming Apple vs. Google even though Microsoft has rather credible products in the space.

I suspect too many years of abysmal products in the space just burned too many people to make Microsoft credible for at least 5 years.

I think Xbox 360 is doing pretty well in the minds of consumers. Its future and Google TV seem like they're going to be in direct competition, so I think it's a real 3-way battle.

He's kidding himself if he thinks Google with Android has better intentions than Apple. The guys who started Android did so with the sole intention of selling the company to Google. They did and cleaned up. As soon as he could, the CEO of Android removed himself from the project and now runs Google's venture arm. The founder of the original android company doesn't really give a shit about the product, and Google only cares about it because they want all the mobile ad money. It is a project with no soul.

Fake Steve is wrong when he implies that Jobs is insincere about creating beautiful products and is just trying to lock people in. Even if the edicts and decrees often go haywire, if nothing else, Jobs and Apple believe their own bullshit.

The article picture, sadly, pushes me towards iPhone (not that I would ever buy one). The iPhone screen seems crisper, the colors are brighter, and the interface looks spiffier. Obviously there are other factors at play, but first impressions count for a lot.

check out the nexus one or droid incredible screens for a good iphone comparison...

If there's a 30 day backorder on the HTC Incredible you might as well check out the HTC EVO when it hits the streets on June 4th.

Unless you don't want to be on Sprint of course. Some people really want to be on Verizon.

I will never, ever do business with Sprint again, after I cancelled my phone service (twice!), threw out my phone, and they mysteriously re-activated the account a few months later, silently accrued an account balance with late fees, and then reported me to collections.

I'm sure there's a story like this for every large company in existence.

Absolutely, but the question is how frequent they happen. Are they business-as-usual, or a gross anomaly. When it happens to enough people, and those people tell their friends, the brand erodes.

Back in the 90s my wife and I switched to Sprint, then got a much smaller phone bill than we expected. The following month it was higher than we would have expected, we looked, and it turns out that they included calls that should have been on the first bill. (There were phone calls on the second bill sandwiched between calls on the first bill.)

We figured out that they did this deliberately to make people think they were saving money, knowing full well that most people don't look at their bills in detail. We agreed that it was fundamentally dishonest, and that left a bad enough taste in our mouth that we switched away from them. They switched us back, we registered an official complaint, got switched back, then (because of their stupid billing policy) had to pay bills for another couple of billing cycles.

That was 15 years ago. I've never even considered using Sprint since. If people around me start talking about their great customer service, then after a year or two I'll reconsider. Maybe.

I suspect that your story was likely similar to mine, and the silently accrued balance was the result of phone calls that they didn't bill you for until a couple of payment cycles later.

I use Sprint because they have a 3G/4G data plan. 4G is awesome.

Crap. We have CLEAR modems, and Sprint owns CLEAR. I'm doing business with them again. Well, I'll never run my phone service through them.

Are you sure about that? I thought Sprint was only a partial investor and lessee. Clear 4G is a lot more expensive than Sprint 4G, so it would be strange if they had a subsidary that offered worse service for more money.

(I went with Sprint 4G over Clear 4G because Sprint 4G is free with a 3G data plan. 4G coverage can be spotty, but 3G coverage is exceptional. So I am never without data. Now if only I left my house more often...)

We are really happy with Clear. I use it less than everyone else, but we've got people all around Chicagoland using it. What don't you like about it, besides the price?

Clear bugs me because of their pricing; they charge less for "home" than for "mobile"? WTF?

The main reason I went with Sprint is because the cost is almost the same as Clear, but I also get 3G access. I don't use that much in Chicago, but it's great when traveling; Sprint's 3G network is pretty comprehensive. It's really relaxing to have Internet access anywhere. For me, anyway :)

I don't doubt it. Their billing system used to be a nightmare. Fortunately, after 10 years of using them I'm finally happy with more than just their price/network.

I'm pretty sure that all four major US cellular carriers use billing/CRM software from the same vendor.

There's really only one nightmare billing system!

The Plural of Anecdote is Not Data

Yes, But I'm Not Sure What Your Point Is.

Sir, More Data Please.

How recently did this happen? Sprint has historically had poor customer satisfaction but they seem to be turning things around.


I'd buy an Android phone if they were available in Mexico. In the meantime, I have an iPhone and I like it.

You know what I kind of like about this post? - before such a post on YC would have been bashed by Apple fan boys... but now after Apple's policy pigeon holed and alienated developers - I'm starting to see a real conversation about some of Apple's issues...

I'm glad enough people agree with you that you don't feel the need to play the fanboy card.

Feeling a little touchy? :)

If I were to write "Ad Hominum much?" how would you feel? Annoyed at me? Certain labels and ways of phrasing things tend to provoke people and lower the quality of discourse.

I agree with you - I didn't add much to the quality of discourse. I just feel like I need to walk on pins and needles here (YC) when I want to voice my opinion about Steve Jobs and Apple. It's almost like I'm drawing a picture of Muhammad...

Why do you want to use your phone as a wifi hotspot ? It'll drain the battery. The telco's in the US are the worst of the lot. Android and iPhone are 2 great platforms, Im happy that both are here.

> Why do you want to use your phone as a wifi hotspot? It'll drain the battery.

To have internet access on your laptop when no other source is available... 3G isn't the fastest, but it's secure and available pretty much wherever you are. As for the battery just plug it into the laptop or because you're using an Android phone, pop in your spare battery after you've gotten your work done.

I tether it via usb. It charges as it tethers.

Then why not use the USB connection as the data connection like you can do with an iPhone? Or use Bluetooth?

I'd love to tether my phone, which I have a data plan for to my iPad (wifi-only). I don't bring my iPad out that much, that long, but when I do, occasionally, it will be great to have internet access when I want to.

If I wasn't an iPhone app developer, I would mostly likely switch to an Android phone in a blink of an eye. And I have an Android G1 dev phone.

I do it all the time on my iPhone (though usually I use blue tooth). It allows my laptop and my daughter's iPod Touch to get connected when they otherwise couldn't.

That's why we need those user swappable battery compartments ;-)

But seriously, this is a killer feature, I can't understand how anyone wouldn't want this, even if it's just for very occasional use (quickly get vital email on your laptop, etc.)

I've had wifi tether on my rooted G1 for quite some time now. It's not something I use all the time, but it's a huge convenience when you're out of the office or house. Where in the past I might go looking for an open AP to hop online real quick to take care of something, now I just tether my laptop to my phone without worrying about it.

A second battery would be pretty great to have on a long flight when you'd actually like to make phone calls after using your phone as a music player/gaming system during the flight. :-(

I know two iPhone owners who carry two phones for just that reason. An iPhone for for all the app and internet goodness and an old phone, which can easily go at least a week without needing to be recharged, for when they actually have to make calls.

So you don't have to pay for a separate cellular data account for your iPad! :-)

To escape the oppressive corporate firewall that keeps you from reading HN at work. :-(

>Froyo also will let you buy songs over the air and download them directly to your phone.

Nice, now if only Android could make a decent music player...

Part of the beauty of Android is that you're not stuck using the music play that comes with your phone. There are many, many music players to choose from in the Android Market.

I'm currently fond of MixZing (http://www.appbrain.com/app/com.mixzing.basic), but Cubed (http://www.appbrain.com/app/org.abrantix.rockon.rockonnggl) seems to be rising rapidly in popularity. There's even btunes (http://www.appbrain.com/app/com.bmayers.bTunesRelease) for all the ex-iphone users out there. :-)

Not to mention of course all the streaming apps like Pandora, LastFM, GrooveShark etc.

> Part of the beauty of Android is that you're not stuck using the music play that comes with your phone.

Apropos of nothing at all, this reminds me of the argument for there being so many incompatible flavours (ahem) of Lisp.

I think this is a little different. There's a huge advantage to developing a common ecosystem around a programming language. For a music player application... hmm not so much.

With what do all these apps sync with on your laptop?

Pretty much whatever you want (other than iTunes of course). Basically anything that can sync files to a USB drive.

As a longtime iTunes/iPod user :-) I've been using doubletwist to sync some of my existing iTunes playlists to my Nexus One. If you're not an existing iTunes user, something like SongBird (http://www.getsongbird.com/) might be a good choice. I think Windows Media Player will copy playlists to a USB drive (not certain about that).

Another alternative for iTunes users might be iSyncr (http://www.appbrain.com/app/com.jrtstudio.iSyncr), which looks pretty interesting. I haven't tried it yet, but supposedly it tricks iTunes into thinking your Android phone is an iPod. :-)


I mean, what is the music software you can use on the desktop, given the list of phone music players presented?

Any music software you would like? Including whatever you are using right now?

"It also will support Flash, something Apple refuses to do, mostly out of spite."

Oh, so we're being honest about it now?

Wow, the backlash is in full swing.

Love easily turns into hate.

He's looking more and more like Howard Hughes...

I'm amazed more people aren't drawing that parallel.

Any day now I expect Jobs to announce the construction of an unusually large and magical aircraft, made from the finest Chinese spruce.

It would be interesting to see how he will write about coming back to iPhone when he realizes there are things more important than Flash. Comments how Apple is chasing Google because of something Android will do is also amusing.

What are the compelling reasons to go back to the iPhone?

Just wait the man himself to explain those.

Now, you are in denial ;)

Yes, I am in denial that Flash is essential feature: I have flashblock extension on my Chrome and Click2flash on Safari.

so you still have it installed, right? strange!

There is a news for you: it comes preinstalled on OS X.

Here's some news: you've chosen to install something that selectively blocks the plugin (thus allowing you to still use it) instead of uninstalling it, something you can do.

That's because you like choice; the freedom to run Flash when you want, something you don't have in the iDevices.

I love the irony that Flash doesn't come preinstalled on Windows or Linux, but only on Mac OS X

that's even funnier

All he talks about in the article is features. Is the day-to-day user experience in Froyo good enough to actually compete with the iPhone yet? Is it no longer necessary to run third-party utilities to keep the system in order?

I want Android to get to this level of maturity to keep Apple on its toes, but I've yet to see any evidence Google is there yet.

It never was necessary to run third-party utilities to keep the system in order. I assume you're referring to the Advanced Task Killer app. See this forum post for example: http://androidforums.com/motorola-droid/18334-task-killer-ap...

As a Droid owner, I'm yet to find needed "third-party utilities" to keep the system in order.

Eclair is so good, that I can not switch to iPhone, even if I was paid to do so.

Froyo just increases the advantage.

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