Marco on Android and Verizon

RibbitMarco Arment: “Droid isn’t actually “close enough” to the iPhone in most important ways, but in marketing and customer perception, it doesn’t matter. Apple can’t win this fight on quality and overall experience because most of these customers have never owned iPhones. They don’t know what they’re missing. They just know what the Verizon marketing told them: Droid phones are pretty much like the iPhone. When they encounter all of Android’s rough edges, they assume that all smartphones are like that, and grow to generally dislike using them. (Much like the computer market.)”

I’m finding that most folks, of the geeky variety, that have Android based phones tend to have them for philosophical reasons. “They’re more open”, “Apple is EVIL”, “I can’t make the app I want”, “AT&T sucks.” Typical geek reasoning. The normal folks mainly don’t care if the phone is iOS or Android or Symbian or Windows Mobile. They mainly care about the User Experience(UX) of the thing, and that they can find an application for locating their favorite restaurant and make reservations at the touch of a button, or they can check Facebook or Twitter and update their location on Four Square and Gowalla.

Another thing most people do care about is call quality and not dropping calls. If you follow Marco, he lives in New York, you should note that he has issues with Verizon as a carrier. Dropped calls, lack of signal, etc. It’s just like AT&T, it just depends on where you live as to the experience. In Fresno, where my brother lives, Verizon has a great network. There was a time when a Verizon based phone wouldn’t work inside my house, but an AT&T phone would. It’s all about where you are. Hopefully AT&T gets their act together and expands their network with all the cold hard cash they’re making from Apple fans. Heaven knows they’re only going to get more subscribers that use more data. Trust me, data usage is only going to go up now that they have tethering. If they don’t improve their network there could be a massive rush to Verizon at some point, at which time we’ll discover if Verizon can really offer a better experience with the iPhone. Something tells me, it’ll be about the same.

And, yes, I’m well aware of the major differences between AT&T and Verizon’s network. AT&T’s is much better for a couple of different use cases. One: Using the internet while on the phone. Two: Using your phone outside of the US, on Verizon if you went to Europe you’d have a paperweight in your pocket. Not so with AT&T.

And Marco’s closing statement of “I’m guessing a CDMA Verizon iPhone will be available within 6 months. If it isn’t, I might need to start learning Java.” tells you where he’s leaning.

5 Replies to “Marco on Android and Verizon”

  1. The effect of the iPhone’s popularity on AT&T can’t be overstated. I’m starting to think that what Jobs said at D8 about this subject is true. Jobs says that any network would have had similar issues handling the load of iPhone users. To be clear, I’m not a fan of AT&T but I do know that they have had issues in cities like San Francisco because of regulatory restriction on antenna sizes. I wish Apple would open the iphone up to other GSM carriers. Hopefully that would spread the load across a few carriers. We can hope.

  2. Bob,

    That’s pretty interesting RE:San Francisco. I didn’t know there were regulations on antenna size. Interesting. And, yes, I really do believe Verizon would have issues with the load as well, but as you say, spreading the pain out may help. 🙂

  3. This seems much more about Verizon as a carrier and very little substance on the Driod phone or Android as an operating system.

    I can’t comment on Verizon or the Driod phone. But I can comment on the Android OS. I’ve been the proud user of the My Touch by HTC that is on T-Mobile and uses the Android OS.

    I haven’t experienced many if any rough edges on Android (please elaborate on the rough edges that you know of). And I did try out several iPhones and speak with users of various smart phones. What I have experienced is that iPhone users are willing to accept fundamental flaws that earlier and current phones have already addressed. Low battery life, no video, can’t run background applications. These issues are just now being resolved with new generation iPhones. The first iPhones even had fundamental issues regarding call functions that even normal cell phones could do.

    And as these issues have been solved, iPhone users I know have acted as if it is Apple breaking ground and solving this issues or offering features that no one has before.

    I see it as the iCult accepting Apples word as law. Many of whom have never used other current smart phone. It is really weird.

    Anyways, I’ll continue using my Android phone that has all the apps I need that can run in the background, capture video, and make it 12 hours with out recharging. I can put up without the cool factor, but I can’t put up with you iPhone users complaining about your product but then shelling out $100s every year that Apple comes out with a less shitty version.

  4. I don’t own an Android phone for philosophical reasons. I own an Android phone because I have a contract with Sprint (and I actually like Sprint – never had any issues with reception or customer service, and their everything family plan is much cheaper than AT&T). I love my HTC Hero. I find it useful and simple to use. It connected to gmail and synchronized all my contacts within seconds of turning it on, without tethering to a computer. It’s smaller than an iPhone and fits better in my front pocket. I really don’t know what advantage the iPhone is suppsed to have over it. And if you prefer hardware keyboards (like many people), then you’re out of luck with Apple.

  5. Kiel, this is the “philosophical battle” I refer to. Apple created something new, then someone else upped the ante, now Apple has to play catchup. Philosophically I fall in the Apple camp. I like the UX. I have little problem with how tightly controlled the platform is because it does benefit me as an iPhone developer.

    I’m not sure what rough edges Marco is referring to. It would be nice to see him elaborate on it. One of the issues, and strengths, with Android is how fragmented the market is.

    It’s hard for me to really chime in on the whole experience. I don’t have an iPhone or an Android, I’m stuck on a Palm Centro for the time being. I don’t have any complaints about AT&T either, I haven’t had a problem with their service.

    Like you Kiel I’m constantly telling people to vote with their dollars. If you don’t like something DON’T BUY IT, but don’t gripe and continue to give your money to the company you’re griping about. Make a change.

    As for me and my dollars, I’m fine with the iPhone, and I’m also very interested in HTC based phones. They’ve done some amazing things with their UI.

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