The NYT feeds the Android/T-Mobile hype machine with a fairly tepid press-release-dressed-up-as-an-article, but this utterly craptastic piece of “analysis” cannot go unchallenged:
Apple’s iPhone has shaken the cellphone industry, partly because of its design, but mostly because AT&T and Apple have allowed owners to download any number of applications to their phones. That freedom to individualize a phone’s functions has helped increase the popularity of the iPhone.
Ummm, NO! Sure, the iPhone shook the celphone industry despite warnings (like this one from Palm CEO Ed Colligan) that making phones is hard and “PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.” But the iPhone launched without extensibility or third-party apps.
The iPhone began life as a closed platform. In January of 2007, Steve Jobs said “You don’t want your phone to be an open platform”. There were always plans to open the platform up, but for the majority of the time iPhones have been on this earth, if you wanted to put new programs on your iPhone, you had to jailbreak it. It wasn’t until recently, after a great deal of fear, uncertainty, and drama, that the iPhone platform was opened to outside development.
To say that the iPhone shakes the industry “mostly” because of its extendibility is demonstrably false. It shakes the industry because its a well-designed, well-integrated product in a market sector that’s gotten away with producing staid, nigh-unusable garbage for way too long. Which is why the article in question is so offensive – there’s plenty of opportunity for Google/Android ahead, and tons of other areas to focus on the notion of customer freedom. Why force-fit this story about the iPhone when it just isn’t needed?
Here’s to hoping that Google’s introduction of the Android platform will provide Apple with a worthy competitor—and push the industry to develop 21st century phones.