iPhone 5 announced... Android users yawn... Google breathes a sigh of relief

iPhone 5 announced... Android users yawn... Google breathes a sigh of relief

Summary: The new iPhone 5 has had the Internet buzzing for weeks. Fortunately for Google, it's cool, but it's no Android killer

TOPICS: Apple, Android, Google, iPhone

It's finally here. An iPhone with 4G LTE. Great new video and still photo features. Turn-by-turn directions. Bigger and thinner. Better performance. And the corners are still round (take that, Samsung!). All of which amounts to a big "meh" for the legions of Android superphone users and even for those who have opted for inexpensive Android devices.

Don't get me wrong. This isn't anti-Apple FUD. My iPad rocks, I'm lusting after a new Retina MacBook Pro (my current MBP is getting a bit long in the tooth), and, given the choice, I'd have an iMac in my bedroom instead of a TV. Apple is going to sell a bajillion of these new iPhones and it's a solid upgrade, especially for anyone who has been riding out a contract on an iPhone 3 or 4. I guarantee my oldest son will be first in line to trade in his iPhone 4 the minute they go on sale, as will countless Apple faithful.

But, unlike the iPad, which has major advantages over 10" Android tablets because of its huge app ecosystem, Retina Display, and aggressive pricing, there is nothing announced today that will make the Android users who have driven Google's mobile OS to market dominance run out, break their contracts, and switch to an iPhone. As CNET's Scott Stein puts it,

Here's the question: which is the killer feature? It feels like the iPhone 5 is more of an overall refinement and re-engineering, as well as offering speed boosts across the board (4G, A6)

One thing that might give Google pause? The iPhone 4 is now free with a contract, meaning that Android OEMs will need to work harder for the low end of the market. However, there are plenty of great free Android phones, too.

Does Google need to keep pushing the envelope on Android? Improving performance? Improving the user experience? Sort out fragmentation issues and start strongarming OEMs and carriers to push updates faster? Get displays that can match the iPhone's Retina display? Keep driving down prices so it can still compete on both price and features? Keep building out its app and entertainment offerings? Keep advancing its own ecosystem around Google Apps, Google Voice, NFC/Wallet, etc.?

Sure it does, but we knew that. So does Google.

What we also know is that the new iPhone is evolutionary, not revolutionary. Google has a few months to breathe and introduce its own new revolutionary features in Android and prepare for the next big innovation from Apple.

Topics: Apple, Android, Google, iPhone

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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  • More noteworthy

    Is that this creates a real opening for Windows Phones. The Lumia 920 is looking very, very good right now.
    x I'm tc
    • My thoughts exactly

      This is just more of the same old thing. I'm ready for something new and that Lumia 920 looks better and better everyday...
      • I'm sincerely curious

        I generally agree with Chris and Scott...in many ways the iPhone 5 does appear to be "more of an overall refinement and re-engineering, as well as offering speed boosts across the board"....not that any of those things is bad.

        But...your interest in the Lumia. Is it just because it's something new or does it have real, meaningful advantages over iPhone 5 for you? I can see how different people have different needs and the fact that iPhone works for some doesn't mean it's ideal for everyone. What announced features of the Lumia make it ideal for you? I speak as a former BBerry addict who switched when something came along that worked better for me. What is it that makes Lumia better for you?
        • Ultimately, they are both great phones, however:

          The Lumia 920 has a better display - higher ppi at 332 vs. 326; its Clearblack technology allows for deeper blacks and more viewable outdoors; its PureMotion tech makes it the fastest panel display, and it can be used with gloves or fingernails.
          The 920 *might* have an overall superior camera - it seems no question it will capture better low light photos with its unique mechanical image stabilization technology. This same tech will introduce crisper photos and more stable videos, also shot in 1080p. Some of the built in lens apps blow away the iPhone ones.
          The 920 is arguably a better designed phone that at the very least, looks more current and eye catching, the Windows Phone 8 OS included.
          Finally, the 920 offers wireless charging, unparalleled durability, and unique and worthy Nokia apps including a plethora of navigation apps (Nokia Drive, Nokia Maps, Nokia City Lens, Nokia Transport) and Nokia Music, which is vastly superior to Pandora.
          Alex Speer
          • Thank you..

            Thank you for a detailed, non-hysterical response. Some of those seem like features that could make a difference to some....though one might nitpick over the meaning of a 6ppi difference. As a photo guy (DSLR) I am looking forward most to a head to head between the two cameras in low light situations. Nokia has the hardware solution you mentioned and apparently Apple has some pixel sensing solution that improves low light capability. It seems to me that a hardware solution ought to be better, but the proof will be in the images. I live in a temperate climate, so the glove-free advantage is neither here nor there to me. Wireless charging is convenient and pretty cool, no doubt. Do you need an accessory/extra for that or will a wireless charger come with it? I have no experience with the Nokia Apps. I'll have to look into some online reviews.

          • It's also worth noting

            That the windows phone will tie in extremely well with windows computers (most people still use those) xbox and zune (xbox) music (vastly superior to itunes) as well as a plethora of other popular microsoft services.

            I just switched from android to windows phone (got tired of waiting for windows phone 8) and I can honestly say that I will gladly pay the extra money to upgrade when the 920 comes out.
          • While we are at this


            I just had today an wonderful experience with WP7 not being able to use SSL-only IMAP mail servers... Let's hope WP8 will somehow fix this (doubt it), but the poor chap I was trying to help won't be able to upgrade his Nokia WP....
          • U Gotta B Kidding

            Alex is just another paid blogger - but with copywriting experience. Nokia/MS are desperate and it shows. Apple owns the high end and Samsung has the kiddies.
          • Yeah Alex!!! Nicely put!!!

            Lumia 920 rocks!!!!!!!!
          • Who cares longer about Nokia?

            The Lumia 920 may stand in the high quality tradition of Nokia's hardware but who cares? Who besides some hardcore Microsoft fanboys wants seriously a phone with a Microsoft OS? Nokia and Microsoft are doomed to fail. To less, too late, not consistent enough (no update for WP 7.x) and not inspiring. iOS and Android won that race and will dominate the next ten years.
            Harald Engels
          • Hell

            Go there, thanks!
          • no update for WP 7.x


            So you think you can upgrade your iOS 4 or 5 to iOS6?

            Or you can upgrade any of the Android 2.x or 3.x to JellyBean or even ICS?

            In case you are successful please help. I do have an iPhone 4 and "Love" to put Siri on it and my sis has a gingerbread and shall gladly upgrade her's to a JellyBean :)
          • Keep in mind...

            While the things you say about Noika's LCD technologies (Clearblack extended contrast, PureMotion speeding up the IPS pixel switching time), these are only true relative to other LCD technologies. Samsung's OLED displays are switching on the order of 1000x faster than Nokia's new LCD panel. LCDs still take milliseconds; OLEDs have always switched in nanoseconds.

            Of course, as long as you're switching a pixel in 16ms or better, you're golden for 60p video and animation. Nokia's whitepaper on the PureMotion technology strongly suggests that "the other guys" (which one can expect is Apple, though they don't say it) had a 28ms pixel switching time. That would blur.

            Of course, while it's not as strongly featured, the iPhone 5 is using a whole new type of LCD panel, not IPS anymore. They claim better color, but primarily, lower power. That's actually a key -- the display on any smartphone these days is where most of the power goes. And higher pixel density on LCDs yields a lower transmittance, so you need increasingly stronger backlights for the same brightness. As an example, the iPad 3 uses 2.5x the power for the display, vs. the iPad 2. Nokia's already promised a much brighter backlight on the 920... that's going to take more power. And their PureMotion is done by spiking the IPS panel with higher control voltages right when starting to switch. This speeds up switching, but also uses even more power. So it'll be interesting to see how these displays compare, particularly on how they affect battery life.
          • Wishful thinking

            Just curious, how you *know* any of this, when neither the iPhone 5, nor the Lumia 920 have been in hands of anyone? (not prototypes, the real units for users)

            It is weird to make comparisons like these based on promises. But I can understand opinions based on religion or blind faith.
        • OK, I'll play.

          I'm a current WP7 owner with a PoS HTC Trophy (blow me Verizon!) However, if the 920 comes to Verizon, I will get 3 of them for the family because of:

          - Better OS, faster, better social integration, faster browsing and skydrive integration
          - Better camera and video shooting capabilities (check the net for comparisons)
          - NFC integration to be used as a digital wallet (I've used PayPass but I prefer to use my phone for these things instead of carrying a wallet)
          - Great map integration (only Google does mapping better than Nokia)
          - Free Nokia Music streaming to all Lumia owners
          - Universal connectors (micro USB, proprietary connectors are 100% lame!!!)
          - Wireless charging
          - Integration with my Windows 8 desktop and soon to be purchased Surface if it is priced right
          - My GUESS is the Lumia will be competitively priced with the iPhone 5, or even better priced with (hopefully) better storage options (fingers crossed for micro USB)

          That's just off the top of my head. So today's announcement does nothing for me, or anyone with a shred of intelligence who researches technology purchases to go out and buy this phone, although I would love to hear your argument how the iPhone 5 is better than any WP or Android offering out there today!
          • You make some good points

            If you're already using Windows 8 and are planning to buy a Surface too then staying within the same ecosystem for your phone seems to make sense.
          • No Micro USB

            No micro USB for the 920 from what I've read.
          • Have you guys......

            checked out the Galaxy S3? Most of these things your touting or wanting on the 920 are on it as well. 1080p video recording, micro usb , micro sd slot, NFC, upgraded to Jelly Bean next month further improving the camera among other features. It's a pretty solid offering unless you just want a Windows phone for a Windows ecosystem. Which I fully understand if that's the route you're going.
          • Can we

            Is it possible that we too see the script from which you read?
            That is, we might learn some other revelations about the marvelous Nokia/Microsoft wonders...
          • Can we

            Is it possible that we too see the script from which you read?
            That is, we might learn some other revelations about the marvelous Nokia/Microsoft wonders...