In the wake of the movements of T’Mo and HTC around Dream and the announcement of an A-Phone about a month from now I was starting to write about Google wasn’t making with the software. And just to prove me wrong Google drops the v0.9 SDK which actually might look like the finished thing.
The UI is definitely OK and usable both with a touchscreen and hard keys. Apple here clearly has an advantage by controlling the hardware, Android tries to accommodate all the imaginable phones and that usually doesn’t end well. It’s kind of ironic the way two of most prominent features on both Android and iPhoneOS, the browser and maps are pretty much the same on both sides. Both use a browser based on Apple’s WebKit (even higher irony, the lean webkit was seeded by Nokia) and both use Google Maps. On Android’s side using Google Maps is part of the whole google-in-your-hand approach which on the iPhone using Google Maps is underplayed. The same way, Google is pretty happy with WebKit but doesn’t go into big efforts to make sure everybody knows the code comes mainly from Apple. So, what’s actually different ? Each side plays on it’s strengths, the iPhone is quite obviously a mobile phone strapped onto an iPod while Android enables people to access the Google cloud from anywhere and eventually make some phone calls too.
At the end of the day the iPhone is much more all around polished and Android will allow a lot more stuff but users on both platforms will be starting the same browser to check gmail and google reader and find something on google maps. Gmail/Gtalk/Gcal is be better than mobileme while the iTunes experience will be excellent until someone does an app for Android that grabs music right off amazon. iPhone will sync seamlessly, Android will have a bunch of sync and push and pull apps for different and sometimes amazing things while iPhone will be stuck with an apparently crippled push service. Oh well.
On a final note, where’s search ? Palm invented 10 years ago. I pressed search on my PalmIII and it searched all through my apps. How can that not be possible in 2008 ? Apple, you got spotlight. Google, well, you are google. This shouldn’t be all that difficult!