Can Google out-cool Apple?

Can Google out-cool Apple?

Summary: Can Google out-cool Apple? No, but the Mountain View search giant might be able to out-geek the Cupertino center of cool.

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Can Google out-cool Apple? No, but the Mountain View search giant might be able to out-geek the Cupertino center of cool.

Google Android - G1Today T-Mobile announced the first cellphone that will run Google's Android OS. Android-based cellphones are considered by many to be the first real competitor to Apple's iPhone. The T-Mobile G1, which is in fact a rebadged HTC Dream, will hit the stores on 22 Oct.

[poll id=355]

Here's the spec of the G1:

  • 528MHz Qualcomm 7201 CPU
  • 3G
  • 480×320 screen
  • 64MB Internal RAM
  • 128MB Internal ROM
  • WiFi (802.11b/g)
  • GPS
  • 1GB MicroSD card
  • Bluetooth
  • Accelerometer
  • 5-row QWERTY keypad
  • Trackball
  • 3.1MP camera (no built-in flash)
  • SMS and MMS support
  • 1150 mAh battery
  • 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 inches
  • Weight: 5.6 oz
  • Talk time: 5 hrs

Now, the real question is whether the G1 can compete with the iPhone. In terms of cool, I think that the iPhone is still the outright winner, after all, put the G1 and the iPhone side-by-side and the iPhone wins hands down when it comes to stylishness. While the iPhone is sleek and unencumbered by unnecessary buttons, markings and other cellphone norms such as battery compartments, the G1 seems cluttered and rough.

Forget the idea that the G1 is an iPhone killer. This is just nonsense because the two devices are appealing to markets. The iPhone is a symbol of cool, while the G1 will appeal to geeks. While iPhone users are flocking to Apple's App Store to buy apps, Android will be backed up by an open source community. This easy availability of apps (I'm guaranteed that there will be huge developer interest in Android) will make the platform appealing to the geek end of the spectrum. The Google vs. Apple (or G1 vs. iPhone) won't be fought based on which device is coolest, it'll be based on which is geekiest. When it comes to geek, the G1 has that in spades.

The only drawback to the G1 ... the 2-year leash to T-Mobile. Not very open source that ...

Thoughts?

Topics: Collaboration, Apple, Google, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility

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80 comments
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  • It will be interesting to see...

    ...what happens when the phone is physically in stores. I think all of this geek talk will go out the window. It doesn't take a geek to pick up the phone, play around with it for a minute and see that its obviously cooler than the other phones around it. It has a big touch screen lets you buy music from Amazon and some other neat stuff...for alot of people thats enough to buy. This geek talk seems to foolishly be tied to the fact that Android is FOSS...which has nothing to do with selling the phone to consumers.

    And the open source comment is kind of silly. The Android OS can be run on any hardware that will support it. I'm not seeing why people are concerned about this particular phone being locked to T-mobile. Come Oct 22nd everyone and their mama will have access to Android and will be free to make their own phone. So I expect to see phones from all sorts of vendors and carriers in the next year or so.
    storm14k
    • Great reply

      I'm with AT&T so I hope you are right (would still prefer to buy the actual Google phone!)
      Redondo5000
    • Customizable not a set menu of choices

      Google is always cool.

      The G1's strongest feature is the ability to ditch apps you don't want, add apps you do want, and come away with a phone that has everything that you want and none of the drek you don't need.

      Apple take notice, THIS is the way to do cell phones.

      Google is simply demonstrating what many of us have known for years. Bloat has to go.
      LBean
      • Add apps?

        You did notice that the Apple Apps store has already sold
        over 100 million apps by download, right? And they can
        naturally be deleted as the user wishes. Competition is
        always good, and it will be interesting to see how Google,
        their carriers and development community compete.
        frabjous
        • Sold?

          I think about 70% of them were freeware though. Of the other 30% I wonder how many were games?

          It's still quite a number but then it's a novelty thing. Once the good apps have been exhausted - and they will be - it'll slow down like S60 and WinMo's markets did.
          Sleeper Service
        • Apple prevents competition, they limit the Apps available

          Apple retains the right to arbitrarily removes apps from its store. They've ditched apps for "duplicating" features available on the iPhone (actually those apps were upgrades in the eyes of customers) and they ditched apps that for not being their idea of useful.

          Who wants to invest in developing an iPhone when Apple may randomly decide not to allow it on their device?

          In terms of allowing 3rd party contributions to a phone platform, Google is far ahead of Apple.
          T1Oracle
          • Another strength of Android...

            Where apple doesn't want you to compete or duplicate features Google encourages developers to extend or replace whats already there with better apps. If you have an idea for a much better phonebook...build it and people can make it their "native" phonebook as if it was shipped with the phone. Carriers and handset makers will probably jump on that like crazy.

            You can't do that with Apple and none of the carriers except AT&T or handset makers can benefit from what they do offer. Google simple opens the door for more people. If they start stepping through the open door watch out. Because I wonder if this will be signal to Dell and HP about what a hardware vendor can do with their own OS. It might be all they need to decide to push forward.
            storm14k
    • Interesting to see if Google can keep focus

      Google has been extremely successful at exploring new
      technologies and products and seems to be able to do what
      MSFT cannot, which is pick out viable solutions early on and
      sustain development efforts. However, with each new product,
      Google, even if it can finance on-going development, is losing
      market attention.
      So, I have no doubt that the Android platform will gain
      momentum and won't have the rug pulled from it, but it
      seems to be more oriented to the geek (confession - I'm a
      geek) and offers perhaps too many choices for the consumer.
      In short, I think it will catalyze further industry developments,
      but it won't be of much consequence on its own, unless
      Google can win over many phone developers and even more
      app and service providers, and in order to do that, it needs to
      build an OS that is absolutely reliable and bug free across a
      broad spectrum of hardware configurations, a battle that it
      almost instantly loses to Apple's one-trick pony.
      Geotopia
  • This looks more like a Crack Berry replacement

    but since they're supposedly not aiming it at business, who's it for? Guess we'll find out.
    GoPower
  • let's talk in a year

    First gen iPhone had some rough edges. Ask this question in 6-12 months and we'll have data points from which to answer.
    mtgarden
    • Right.

      Because in a year, Apple will have stood completely still to allow
      the Android phone to catch up.
      frgough
      • .....

        I think his point was that any initial bugs in the Android platform will have had time to be worked out. Not that it would surpass the iPhone, necessarily.
        Badgered
  • RE: Can Google out-cool Apple?

    if you think the iPhone was beta, wait till you get your hands
    on the Android!
    rvassar
    • LOL! <nt>

      :)
      AllKnowingAllSeeing
  • Nokia / Symbian S60

    I'm looking at the specs and still don't see where either the iPhone or G1 approach the breadth of [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N95#Features]features found in my Nokia N95 series[/url].

    Very soon, you'll see Symbian S60 unleashed in open source form by Nokia. This is a [b]mature[/b], feature-rich operating system with a great company and developer community behind it.

    I talk about it at my blog [url=http://www.dtschmitz.com/dts/2008/09/nokia-and-googles-android-threat.html]here[/url].

    Nokia, [url=http://opentoanything.com/]open to anything[/url].

    Sorry, but these pale in comparison to the N95.
    D T Schmitz
    • N95 looks interesting

      ...I'd probably like to have one. But I don't see it in stores and that may be the problem. Wheres the hype around any of these Nokia devices? I keep hearing and reading about them but I never see them. Sometimes I keep waiting for them to be released only to find they already have been.

      And as for Symbian I don't think they are going to create the developer buzz. Will they have an app store like Apple and Google? I don't know that they are actually better but it looks like they will need marketing to stay ahead of Apple and Google.
      storm14k
      • You misunderstand...

        S60 has been out for years and there are thousands of applications for it. Unfortunately, North America isn't a key market for Nokia (Asia and Europe are) so you don't tend to get the devices on contract and they come out later.

        Nokia have about 50% of the global smartphone market at the moment, however they do need to get their application distribution sorted out. At the moment we have N-Gage, Download!, Comes with Music, etc. Hopefully Ovi will sort this out.

        It's important to understand how little interest there is in Europe about Android - and to a lesser extent the iPhone - because we've had smartphones with thousands of applications for years and since Symbian is going fully open source (not that you weren't free to stick any app on your phone in the first place) it looks like Google are late tot the party.
        Sleeper Service
        • Thats explains it...

          ...and yes I'd expect all of this is childs play to Europeans. I have been waiting to see one of these Nokia phones for a long time and they never materialize over here in stores.
          storm14k
          • NFI where you live...

            ... but try looking in cell phone stores (if you've got 'em) that deal with more than one carrier. Many of the shops in and around Los Angeles that are independent and sell Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T service have a selection of more "exotic" unlocked devices.

            They're also likely to help you out by offering said "exotic" phones with a serious discount if you sign up for a new or renewed contract.
            Wolfie2K3
          • They have plenty at the Nokia store.

            I've been going to the one on Michigan Ave. in Chicago for 2
            years now. only a few blocks south of the Apple store, on the
            same side of the street.
            bdjolly