The moment many have been waiting for — the launch of the Verizon iPhone — is actually happening February 10th, at which point we expect millions of Verizon-branded Apple smartphones to find new homes. With the introduction of the device today, one has to wonder how Big Red feels about Android OS and what this means for OS in general. Sure, the Apple vs Android (Google) battle has been raging on for years at this point, but does that mean a carrier has to favor one mobile OS over the other? Verizon has been one of the biggest champions of Android OS recently, and that has big implications for how well Android OS fares. More to the point, will the arrival of the Big Red iPhone bring the pain to the little, green robot? Likely not in the long run, for multiple reasons.
The hype surrounding this near-mythical handset was fueled by timing. The iPhone was too cool to go to the big CES conference, and instead decided to announce itself two days afterward. Apple’s very good at grabbing attention, but there wasn’t the same media frenzy surrounding the CDMA iPhone as we’ve seen with previous iPhone debuts. Part of the problem could have been the previous week’s flood of Android devices at CES. The hype, while still strong, just wasn’t as strong for this iPhone variant.
The upcoming selection of 4G LTE Android phones also signals some tough competition for this newest member of the Apple family. If you want the fastest speeds available on Verizon, you won’t be getting the iPhone. Sorry. For that you’ll need one of the Verizon Android phones announced at CES 2011. And no, you won’t be able to upgrade the Apple handset to work with 4G, you’ll have to buy a completely new iPhone.
Then there’s the fact that Apple will likely offer a new version of the phone later this year. The month of June usually signals a new iPhone.
So what about Android? Does the fact that the iPhone is on one specific carrier in the US mean that Google’s OS is doomed to fail? Well, if you think that, please smack yourself. While the high-end smartphone market might see a bit of a slump in Android sales, the OS itself is carving its own market by reaching users everywhere. Apple has always stuck to the high-end market, so the low-end market will reach for devices like the LG Optimus series before going iPhone. The iPhone has one path, and Android has many. If you want a cheaper iPhone, you can always grab the 3GS for way cheap, but that won’t be found on Verizon.
If anything, Android sales may slow down for a few quarters, but there’s every reason to believe that it will pick back up. Android keeps getting smarter, as Apple lags behind other mobile operating systems in integrating compelling features. Apple does certainly lead in innovation, but not always. They still need to come up with a decent multi-tasking “fast app-switching” solution. Android has already gotten a stranglehold on the world, so it’s really a bit too late for it to fall by the way side. It just won’t happen.
As many have said, there is enough room for both of these platforms to win, and the introduction of a Verizon iPhone will only make competing carriers ramp up their Android selection like never before. Both operating systems are smart and functional, but have very different strategies. There’s enough room for both to rule the world, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Unfortunately, because of this, other mobile OS‘ will likely find it harder than ever to compete. It’s really all about Google and Apple at this point, and all of this competition does nothing but help the consumer.