coverage of the latest Android news coming from Google's I/O conference. Dan Langendorf writes that "as you would expect from the company that brings you search and Google Maps, Android handles information delivery, location and navigation extremely well -- or so we think. There's still no actual Android phones to play with." The obvious question on peoples lips though is: how will Android compare to Apple's iPhone? On that question there are mixed opinions.RWW network blog last100 has
"I wouldn't say that at all. I think the iPhone is just a world-class device with a great Web browser that delivers in many respects on one of Google's key goals: to bring the Web to the mobile device. We wish every mobile device was as good as the iPhone."
Some people think the comparison to the iPhone is unfair. Noted Jawad Shuaib in the last100 comments:
"The comparison between Android and the iPhone is unfair. The iPhone, with all its glorious UI experience, is a very closed and tightly controlled platform. The promise of Android is not a better user experience but rather an open experience - the sort of stuff that the mobile web really requires at this stage."
And open is where Google is headed, or at least that is their stated goal.
However Google won't be able to avoid comparisons with the iPhone that easily. Apple really did take the Mobile Web up another notch with its superb user experience and ability to run web apps in the Safari browser, due to Apple using its OS X operating system in the iPhone.
As last100 editor Steve O'Hear noted in reply to Jawad, "in terms of UI and the Web browser (WebKit), the two platforms have a lot of common ground, so comparisons are inevitable." Steve also pointed out that we'll need to wait and see "how open the iPhone actually feels to end consumers, and what restrictions carriers / handset manufacturers put on so-called Gphones -- they will be free to alter the Android experience as they please, so it could lead to a lot of fragmentation, leading to mixed user experiences and expectations."
Check out AndroidCommunity.com for pics and video. I think Android is looking very good so far, and we've already seen that there are a bunch of innovative apps being built for Android. Check out ReadWriteWeb's picks of promising Android apps.
That is where Android has a very good chance of usurping Apple -- web apps. Right now I use just a select few web apps on iPhone: RSS Reader, email of course, twitter... not a lot of truly mobile native apps (partly that's because of the network operators here in NZ, which still have high pricing and slow speeds). But if Android comes out with some new innovative Mobile Web apps, I'll be pretty tempted to switch -- well, maybe just buy another phone! I still love the iPhone :-)