azurite: (cat: what the shit is this!?)
[personal profile] azurite
So May is the month for humor, apparently, because Wired's Humor Issue features not just SNL's Andy Samberg, but also the uproarious kicker "How Android Beat the iPhone." Being the curious sort (and someone who has been using Android phones for over 2 years, currently works for Apple, and just switched to her first-ever iPhone), I flipped to the article, and I have to admit, I'm a bit mystified. Is it really humor, or are they being serious?

A few points that they make as to why Android is "better" than the iPhone's iOS platform:

There are approximately 170 devices on the market that run the Android OS.

Uh, is more supposed to be better? I think it makes it more confusing! Sure, there are more carriers with Android devices, but how do you know who has the better PHONES? If the software is so awesome and the carriers vary depending on where you live and how much you pay, doesn't it really come down to the hardware, and how capable it is?

My mistake was sticking with a carrier that I loved, and that had good coverage where I lived. I heard good things about Android, but T-Mobile simply didn't have phones with hardware capable of running the software properly. I got stuck with a myTouch 3G (the HTC Magic), which SUCKED. It's hardly worthy of the moniker "smartphone," and is only a hair's breadth better than its predecessor, the G1.

Android gives the carrier 30 percent of app sales, minus credit card processing fees, while Apple keeps that 30 percent for itself.

Someone please explain to me why the carrier deserves ANY of the cut of app sales. Here's how apps work:

(1) A developer makes an app to work on the software's platform. Either Android's OS or Apple's iOS.

(2) The developer submits it to Apple for review, or Android for placement in the Android Marketplace.

(3) If/When it's accepted/posted, people can then download it. Paid apps result in the developer getting paid for their idea and hard programming work, while free apps sometimes include ads, and other times just test out if a good idea can compete. People download apps while on a wireless network (usually "free," as-in, a home Internet service, an office network, or a local wi-fi hotspot like at an Apple Store, mall, or coffee shop; sometimes "paid" as at an airport and hotels) or using their carrier's 3G service. Since most apps are fairly small, this barely takes any time at all--maybe a few minutes, maximum--on either network.

(4) People rate and review the app, it gets more attention, and the developer makes more money, yay! And normally the other developer--the one that built the code base that the entire phone runs on--would get the other chunk of the profits. This is how it is for Apple, but Google gives their code away for free, and they don't "need" the money, apparently, so they give it to the carrier...because the carrier is SOMETIMES used to download things like apps (or apps which result in heavy load on their networks, like Netflix) to offset the cost of things like network maintenance. Bwah? What if someone downloads an app that never needs any additional network access, for anything? What if it's an app that requires the faster connection of Wi-Fi, not the carrier's 3G? Or what if it's an app that connects, but only at the user's discretion (when they connect to Facebook to download friend lists, for example), or only downloads a minimum amount of content--not streaming movies or whatnot?

This is what I don't get: if your network is too shitty to handle the load, upgrade your damn network! Don't try and pass that cost off (in any form) to the end users, who already pay you for their service in the form of ridiculously-priced data packages, overage limits, roaming, etc.! I guess it's Google's prerogative to give what should be THEIR profits away to whomever, but honestly? I think if they want to give something away, it should be to the developers who bother to use their crappy system (because yes, it's crappy. I would say it's "the Windows of smartphone operating systems," except Windows HAS their own smartphone OS, and it's probably even shittier than Android)!

I'm so sick of carriers whining about how they have all this work to do because people are flinging their money at them, making contracts and getting plans and then wanting to use the networks the way normal, connected people do nowadays. Get with the program! The hardware (network and phone) needs to be able to handle what the software (Android or iOS) throws at it. Apple's devices never seem to have a problem with this; why do the Android's partner manufacturers?

You could argue that Android runs on AT&T and Verizon, but also on Sprint, T-Mobile, and heck-knows-how-many other carriers out there, and this is true, but bad software--whether it's the apps themselves or the Android OS--will have more of a ping on an unstable, outdated network in small numbers than great software running on the best hardware currently available on the two largest, fastest 3G networks in the country. And if Android's marketshare is growing, that's even worse--all these carriers will have to upgrade to keep up, because people are going to demand BETTER networks, networks they deserved to have from the beginning. How is it the end user's fault if the carriers underestimated the phone's capabilities, even though the hardware manufacturers and software developers (well, the OS developers, anyway) should have known better?

I guess what makes it all the more humorous is that the article pretty much concludes by acquiescing that Android has all these failings--too many crappy apps in the open Marketplace, no guarantee that any given app will work on a phone, even if it has the latest Android OS available--all because carriers muck things up in their own way. It says that the Android OS doesn't have the largest marketshare of smartphones now, even though the growth is pretty amazing, and sales did, at one point, surpass sales of the iPhone. But then again, if you're only looking at iPhone sales vs. Android on ALL its devices (smartphones and tablets), that's not really a fair comparison, is it? Better to compare the sales of all iOS devices to the sales of all Android-powered devices in the same period, and then see who comes out on top. And yes, since Android is on more devices in general, on more carriers, it may very well win...but is that marketshare the same six months down the line? Has it increased or plateaued? How long do users put up with Android's bullshit? I know I did--for too long, and now I'm happy to have finally switched.

If Android has "beaten" the iPhone, it's by pulling one of those hitting-over-the-head-with-a-chair moves like in the WWE. And the iPhone may stagger a little bit, but it's far from out for the count.

January 2016

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