4 Reasons why Daring Fireball believes Google Android’s model is not working

I think I have commented enough on why I think Android’s model is faulty and that is why its is not a good productive device.

But I never expected that someone could be in such an agreement with my views until I found this post by John Gruber from Daring Fireball.

John, being a first and foremost iPhone and iPad user, takes a stab at why the Android just did not work for him.

It shocks me that many of his points is what I feel hits the nail on the head what is wrong with the platform. He is not an apple fanatic and he draws enough examples from other platforms as well.

Critics of both Apple and Google should take a look at this.

Here is a summary of his argument:

1. The quality of Android apps not the quantity

I’ve complained, numerous times, about the “how many total apps are in your store?” metric — the idea that Apple is “winning” because there are more iOS apps than there are apps for any other mobile platform. If quantity of app titles were all that mattered, we’d all be using Windows, not Mac OS X, right? Having the most apps matters, but having the best apps matters too. The sweet spot for a platform is to do well in both regards.

Quantity of titles is, in some way, a measure of a platform’s strength. But what I care about are the great apps. Where are the great, or even good, exclusive third-party apps for Android?

Popular third-party Android apps clearly tend to be of a decidedly lower design quality than popular iOS apps. (The key word in that sentence is popular — let’s concede that the majority of all apps, at the unpopular end of the long tail both in the iTunes App Store and Android Market, are junk.)

Not all popular third-party Android apps are sub-par, design-wise. But those that are well-designed, in most cases, are the ones which are not exclusive to Android. And the ones that are both exclusive to Android and well-designed, from what I’ve seen, seem to be apps that only make sense on Android, insofar as they wouldn’t be allowed in the App Store.

Compare and contrast with the library of exclusive games for iOS. Just in the past few days alone, I’ve bought three new exclusive iOS games, any one of which would surely beat any of the exclusive Android games on Ahlund’s list of all-time best ones: Astronut from The Iconfactory, Rage HD from Id Software, and Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner from LucasArts. (Total cost for all three games: $9.) That games of this caliber are all exclusive to iOS is, arguably, the biggest hole in the argument that Android is to iOS what Windows was to the Mac. Say what you want about the quality edge that Mac software holds over Windows, but Windows has always had the games.

2. Where are the killer third party apps exclusive to Android?

Let’s sort all Android apps into the following categories:

  1. Apps from Google.
  2. Third-party apps that also exist on iOS.
  3. Third-party apps that are exclusive to Android.

From my time spent with the Nexus One early this year, I know that Google’s Android apps are pretty good. These include both the core system apps, and the closed-source “Google Experience” apps like the dedicated Gmail client and Google Maps.

There are definitely a fair number of apps in the second category — those ported to both iOS and Android. Examples: Amazon’s Kindle client, Pandora, and a few popular games, such as Angry Birds and Doodle Jump.

But what I find striking is that the apps in the third category — those exclusive to Android — are almost entirely unappealing or irrelevant to iOS users.

3. Top Apps on Android are things to manage the phone!

In the free list, the top five apps are all available for iOS,2 or, in the case of #5, Barcode Scanner, have equivalent if not superior iOS alternatives. The first app in the list that’s exclusive to Android is #6, Lookout — an anti-virus app.

In the paid list, Android exclusives include Root Explorer (a file system manager), Advanced Task Manager (a process monitor/killer), a collection of home screen widgets, SetCPU for Root Users (a hack for overclocking your device’s CPU), and CacheMate for Root Users (for manually managing system caches). Spot a trend?

In fact, the Android Market, as a whole, bears a lot more resemblance to the Cydia app store than it does to Apple’s official App Store. This is both in terms of content (system hacks, geek utilities, lower-quality UI design) and audience (the sort of users who put “task killers” and home screen replacements at the top of their favorite app lists). Browse the Android Market apps listed at sites like DoubleTwist and AppBrain, particularly the most popular lists. Then browse the listings in the Cydia app store, and tell me there isn’t a strong similarity.

The mere existence of things like task killers and anti-virus apps for Android — let alone that such utilities are popular — erodes consumer trust. Inherent to the console model is that third-party software can’t — not shouldn’t but can’t — damage or gum up the system.

4. Android not meshing the right model compare to iOS

When you think about competition between platforms in other fields, like game consoles — Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo — there’s a strong correlation between device sales, developer support for the platform, and software sales. In mobile computing, it’s not so much that there’s no correlation between hardware sales and the app market, but that there really is only one console-like app market: Apple’s.

  1. Apple has carefully constructed iOS and the iTunes App Store to support this “app console” model.

  2. Developers, large and small, have swarmed to Apple’s app console model, with consumer-friendly apps, design, presentation, and pricing.

  3. iOS users understand the app console model and have embraced it — both in terms of a willingness to look for and install apps, and a willingness to pay for them.

None of those three things are true for Android.

I spoke to a source at a very successful iOS game development shop earlier this week, regarding the company’s plans for Android. According to my source, the company is investigating skipping the Android Market entirely, and working out exclusivity deals with handset makers to bundle games on Android phones.

iOS’s exclusivity for a bunch of big-name mobile games — Need for Speed Undercover, Star Wars: Battle for Hoth, Monopoly, Tetris, The Sims, Assassin’s Creed — has been broken. Not by Android, where none of these games exist, but by Windows Phone 7, a one-month-old platform.

I urge folks interested in such debate to view the original article

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