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Paul Thurrott believes Android will conquer iPhones...

I own an iPhone. We have two, in fact... one that is my corporate phone provided by Voxeo and one that we bought for my wife as her personal phone. In the couple years I have been using it I have come to truly enjoy the user interface, the AppStore, the ecosystem, etc. It truly has changed how we as a society think of mobile devices.

But though I may be a Apple "fanboy" in many ways, I do have some grave concerns... such as the lock-in to the closed system controlled by Apple, which I wrote about at length related to the iPad. As a believer in open standards and an advocate for the open Internet, I'm glad to see Android out there... even as I read about it on my iPhone.

paulthurrot.jpgSo naturally I was intrigued to read Paul Thurrott's piece titled "Droid Attack Spells Doom for iPhone". I've been reading Paul's writing for years related to various Microsoft and Windows topics... so when one of the chief Windows evangelists I know writes about Android... well, I pay attention to it a bit. Paul relays the story of his wife's move to a Droid phone and his own experience upon receiving a Droid X. (With, of course, the obligatory reference to Windows Phone 7 which he naturally views as superior. :-) )

You can read the piece for his full review, but he believes the devices truly have parity with the iPhone... and the "horrible" Android Market is where the Droid offerings fall down. He ends with this:

Aside from the abysmal online store experiences, however, Android and the Droid X are first rate. And looking ahead, I'll be comparing this system to the upcoming first generation Windows Phone 7 devices and to Apple's latest iPhone to see where these systems fall. For now, however, Android and the Droid X are, warts and all, already neck and neck with the iPhone 4. It's scary to think how one-sided this would be if Google just put a handful of UI experts on the marketplace. Game over, Apple. Game over.

That's the point, though. Apple has focused on the user experience. If you buy into the whole Apple stack (meaning their devices, iTunes, even Mac OS X), it's a wonderfully simple, easy-to-use, painless - and often delightful - experience.

But again, Apple's ecosystem is a closed, walled garden controlled by Apple. The user experience is so simple because Apple has constrained the choices. Open systems are messy. Open standards take a (usually long) while to evolve and converge.

The challenge before Google, and before Microsoft as they attempt again to re-enter the space, is to promote an open system[1] yet still deliver the simple and easy user experience that Apple delivers. I hope on one level that they succeed... we need the competition out there to keep the innovation accelerating. But it's a big challenge.

I don't think, Paul, that it's "Game over" for Apple at all... I think the game is just going to get more interesting...

[1] And I actually don't know how "open" Microsoft's system will be...

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