An Android, far from the Android

An Android, far from the Android

Summary: Until Clearwire closes and is built out, in other words, the Android era has not yet begun, and the iPhone monopoly will continue.


Android logo, from CNETT-Mobile will re-launch its HTC Dream as an Android phone next week, but it would be a big mistake to call this the Android.

It's not.

While Google has been taking special pains to make sure the new unit works, it is still just a phone running on a fourth-placed proprietary network.

The real Android vision is much bigger and deeper. It's a handheld Internet client running on a true broadband network.

That's what Sprint and Clearwire want to build, with Google's money. Meanwhile telephony remains a low-bandwidth application, but that's where the incumbent carriers are at, and Google needs to show some progress, thus next week's event.

The real news is the trouble over at Clearwire. The combination has hit the legal skids, with former Sprint re-sellers suing and the partners refusing to settle.

AT&T has also thrown a regulatory spanner into the works, seeking concessions for its continuing efforts to buy new spectrum, as opposed to actually delivering service.

One byproduct of this is that the iPhone maintains its monopoly as the only handheld Internet client on the market. Verizon has committed its broadband network to LiMo.

As a result the merger still hasn't closed, and the money on relay towers can only be spent when there is a legal structure to spend it on.

So we're left watching demos.  These are impressive, with speeds of up to 10 Mbps while downloading, and an average of 2-4 Mbps. That will be a game-changer, but the game is not yet afoot.

In theory this gives Google and handset makers more time to perfect the platform, but that's not the way this business works. You can deliver four generations of product in a year only if there is a network to run them on, and customer contracts to fund the handset makers.

Until Clearwire closes and is built out, in other words, the Android era has not yet begun, and the iPhone monopoly will continue.

Topics: Broadband, Android, Browser, Google, Networking, Telcos

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  • LOL @ Google

    Nothing will get you Oooohs and Ahhhhs like whipping out your phone and patiently explaining to someone that it's the next great thing because it's made by google, because it's running android, because, because, becase...

    I don't own any Apple products, but the reason Apple is successful is because their products are self-evident. No one cares the iPhone is running OSX. It's just cool and futuristic, and while it won't please everyone, it is inherently alluring when you pull it out.

    The days of selling an "OS" or a "platform" are coming to an end. Time to deal with it and concentrate on design and innovation instead.
  • RE: An Android, far from the Android

    "Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist for 30 years, a tech freelancer since 1983."

    definitely know nothing about phone.

    "One byproduct of this is that the iPhone maintains its monopoly as the only handheld Internet client on the market. "

    *sigh*, have been using PDA XDA IIi and Nokia E90 to surf the web ages ago long before iphone came out.
    • haha

      If you call anything on a cellphone "surfing the web" before the iPhone came out, you obviously have no idea why Apple has made such a splash in the phone industry.

      If only Opera would debug their damn browser so I could run it on my Glofiish X650.
    • Internet clients vs. phones

      There is an enormous difference, in the user
      interface, in the capabilities, in the design, and in
      the presumed files transferred between any phone and
      the iPhone.

      An iPhone runs 500 times as much data as any other
      phone on the market. That's a lot.

      To compete you need both a device and a network,
      because the monopoly of AT&T and Apple in this case is
      • 500 times "what" data?

        Can you clarify this statement:

        "An iPhone runs 500 times as much data as any other phone on the market"

        I don't understand what that refers to when other phones on the market support 3G and the same types of data that the iPhone supports.
  • RE: An Android, far from the Android

    kindof ignoring industry leader RIM in this article aren't we?
    • Yes. Here is why

      RIM devices are designed for the present low bandwidth
      cellular networks. They are not designed for the
      broadband cellular networks being put in today.
  • Opera Rules

    If Apple's phone is "the only handheld Internet client on the market", then I suppose I have been hallucinating all these years reading the web on HTC phones using Opera? Get real. I am liking the new Opera 9 beta with the new FlashLite that lets me access pretty much any Flash or H.264 video source on the web.
    • Dont't forget Skyfire too!

      I must be hallucinating too!!! Let me see, so when I was surfing the web wirelessly on my Siemens SX66, Samsungi730, Moto Q, BlackBerry 8830, & now my Moto Q9m I was just dreaming??? I can only do that on an iPhone? Let's get real with the "the only handheld Internet client on the market" Apple fanboy quote. I shtta what the general public beleives, that you can only surf the web wirelessly on an iPhone?

      Personally I use SkyFire on my Windows Mobile phone which allows me to view any webpage with any website technology at a high speed. Great stuff... I don't need Apple!
    • Still too buggy

      Opera needs to hurry up and fix their bugs. I'm a believer, but it's taking waaaay too long.

      And the UI to control scaling could be better.
  • What monopoly?

    I'm not sure what monopoly the iPhone has? I must have been dreaming when I was browsing the web on my BB a couple of years ago, and on my Windows Mobile device last year?
    I don't understand why people buy into the hype that the iPhone is somehow the "only handheld internet client on the market".
    Am I missing something?
    • What you're missing

      What you're missing is the reality of how these
      devices are used in the real world.

      A user of the iphone is moving 500 times more data
      than the user of any other mobile device, including
      the Blackberry.

      John McCain's invention needs improvement. (That's a
      joke...Al Gore's does too -- does that make it better?
      • More data? Really?

        I'm assuming you're not referring to data transfer rates, since the iPhone only just got the 3G upgrade, while the AT&T Tilt (among others) has been on the 3G network for over a year.

        So, what are you referring to with your "500 times more data" claim?

        What's happening, as I see it, is that so-called "journalists" are getting caught in the "marketing hype" that the iPhone is the first internet-enabled phone, and first-ever breed of its kind. It's not. It's sexier, better marketed, more user-friendly. But it's far from a monopoly. There are many devices out there that can do everything it can (music, internet, email ... and phone) and are more open. (I have to concede that the upgrade to 3G significantly reduces that list of devices)
      • "Journalist" comment

        Sorry, didn't mean to sound snarkly with my "journalist" comment in the previous post. Just trying to emphasize that even though we should "all" challenge the marketing hype out there, it's part of the journalist' job description to do so, and it's frustrating when it does not happen. Specially regarding "tech" on zdnet.
  • What About The PC Edge ???

    What about The PC Edge ???

    It downloads full HTML web pages in 5-7 seconds.
    It has Free GPS with turn by turn directions.
    It has 50 Gigs of Free online storage
    It has Remote PC Access
    It has the office suire from
    It only costs $ 199.99
    It requires No Credit Check
    It requires No Contracts
    It cost Less the One Dollar per day $ 29.99 for 30 days of High Speed Internet Access.
    Dino The Data Dog
    • Good Points

      T-Moble is huge in the EU, having it on the phones is a big deal.
      • T-Mobile's bandwidth in Europe

        I would really like to know how much data handling
        capacity T-Mobile has in Europe. They tried to break
        the AT&T-Apple deal there and failed. So they are
        quite frightened.

        Oh, and you make a good point fwhorf.
    • It's nothing like the iPhone

      The PC Edge is more like the Asus EEEPc than it is
      like the iPhone. Thanks for the link, but look at it.
      A flat non-touchtype keyboard, a small screen, a flip-
      top design. You need two hands to do anything with it.
      And a flat space to place it.
      • PC Edge vs iPhone

        The point is that the article states that the iPhone is the only mobile internet access device.

        The truth is that The PC Edge is the Fastest Mobile Internet Device.

        Dino The Data Dog
        • "fastest" being a relative term . . .

          I could argue a laptop with wireless N and gigabit Ethernet is much faster than that device.

          The author's point is about the iPhone's form factor, not just its speed. If you're willing to ignore the form factor, I could think of plenty of faster devices.

          In addition, I'm personally not that fond of devices with strange, specialized OSes where there is very little third party software available. I'm sorry, but I like Windows Mobile, the iPhone, and even Palm OS because there is so much third party software available for them. Android makes it easy to create new software, and there are already third party applications created for it.

          . . . and the small height of that screen tells me it's likely to be a half res 640x240 device. If that's the case, it's the exact same number of pixels as the iPhone; the only difference is they cut the height in half, while the iPhone cut the width in half. The manual claims it's a "full screen 640 pixel VGA-width user experience" - notice how the manual does not mention the height. I'm not very impressed.

          In addition, which networks does it use? It's nice knowing it's fast, but fast is useless if you can only be fast in a small number of areas. Coverage is every bit as important as speed.