Android phones are now the number 2 seller on the market today, followed by iPhone (Blackberry is number 1, but that’s not really a surprise, right?). After all the “we sold forty bazillion iPhones” from Apple the last two years, it’s nice to hear that something else can be just as popular, if not more popular. I have had a bad taste in my mouth about iPhones almost since the beginning. Just because something comes from Apple doesn’t mean I’m going to buy it without question. I own one Mac laptop, and an iPod Nano and an iPod Classic, but that’s it as far as apple products go. I’m just not all that impressed, to be honest.
I know some of my reticence about Apple products has to do with cost. Their products for the most part are over-priced for what you get, and even after paying out that huge cost for the item itself, you get to spend even more on applications and software, or service. The base service plan on an iPhone is about $70 a month, but unless you use only what came with the device, you have to add on applications, and then by using those applications, you then get to pay more in data rates too! What a racket they’ve got going there!
When Android came on the scene, there was some room to breathe. While data plans are about the same cost with the Android, many apps are free or exceedingly low-cost. Anyone can write an app for the Android using open-source software and then offering the app for free to users. There is also the ability to make the Android what you want it to be; that flexibility is not something Apple offers.
Of course there are exceptions to Apple’s “buy the device, and then we’ll gouge you for the software” approach to sales. I’ve had my classic iPod for more than four years now and have not had to pay for any upgraded apps or firmware. I have had to pay for music, but I haven’t been required to pay for that music from Apple unless I wanted to (I upload my own CD’s or mp3′s I’ve bought elsewhere, for the most part). Same for the Nano. I know that would not be the case with an iPhone if I had one.
I still think the Blackberry is the grandaddy of them all, and will remain on top for a long time to come. Their business model is solid and proven at this point, and they aren’t turning off customers through the nickel-and-dime tactics Apple seems to want to use. But Android has the makings of being a Blackberry killer at some point.