Did Android win the mobile platform war?

I am not fully sure anymore Android is the ultimate platform war winner. True, Apple is getting boring and Nokia left Microsoft alone with Windows. All the interesting stuff happens in the open Android world where you have huge growth and everything starts looking like the new normal. However, there are strange things ongoing like Google rebranding the whole thing without asking key partners and users apparently anything. Would you like to have a Samsung KitKat phone? This is how Google operates. My take is that there’s still room for a contender, which “does no evil.” Something like Google’s search engine used to be before it sold out.

Why I am Switching from iPhone

I’ve owned an iPhone since October 2007 when it was far ahead of the competition. I posted enthusiastically about my phone in 2007-2008, getting kicks from hacking and finding something new and playing retro stuff. I even went to one launch event once when it was a new concept and there was’t any queue. Then came the stores — both physical and online — everything went closed, commercial, queues grew up, and I had less time to hack. My previous iPhone post is indeed from 2008. Since then I’ve been running it in stock mode with just a couple apps. Issues I have with iPhone today include:

  1. Look and feel is the same as when it launched five years ago. Yes. Where’s the innovation? On the left you have the original 2007 model, on the right hand side the latest model selling five years after in 2012. I want and expect change.

  2. Crashes more and more often, and compared to competition it is getting worse. Here’s one related study although I’m talking about the operating system crashing, not an individual app. I’m experiencing at least once a week complete system hang which needs hard reboot. It can come any time during any operation of any app, like with the built-in map application. Apple is hacking an ever complex, closed system in-house. Some would say this is the expected outcome.
  3. Hardware is closed and has no open connectors anybody could freely build accessories for. There’s less third party stuff in general. No peripheral ecosystem. Again, less innovation.
  4. Apple is sold out like a girl or boy band at the peak of their career. Anything Apple is no longer cool. It gives me no kicks. Why would I devote any time to hack or talk about Apple’s devices because everybody is doing it. Having too many fans can makes you look dumb with those white earphones. I so much like this ad:

  5. Overpriced and will remain so, despite all of the above. While this may not be the really limiting factor to get one, it will hit me that I don’t want to spend anybody’s money for technology that just isn’t worth it anymore. I think it is morally wrong and detrimental to innovation if people are spending money into that stuff and let them put out more crap.

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On the positive side iOS devices are still easy to use and fast, very good (when it doesn’t crash) for basic email, navigation and surfing. There are apps for everything. Yes, like Windows 95 or 98 for basic desktop use. That comparison should tell enough why I’m switching …

Overall, Apple is today like Microsoft in the mid or late 1990s. It is hard to see right now how they can ever fail. They have obviously many great years ahead but, at the same time, the other guys are creating a more interesting future.

Trading places in professional sports

This time last week the biggest Bay Area sports news was Monta Ellis trade. I was lucky to see Monta’s last home game as a Warrior with my son. It was one of the good games where Monta produced and Warriors took it home agains Mavericks. The previous game I saw with my daughter they handed out Monta Ellis signs for everyone to cheer with. Now the number one guy is gone, traded away. How can a franchise do that? Obviously the fans are still angry about the trade.

Today we got the more positive news Alex Smith has finally signed with the 49ers. After the playoffs I think his star started to really shine here. I remember listening to the feed from the Bone of the game where he made it:

Alex Smith in the play of his life..!!

A couple nights ago I was at our kids’ school fundraising event where they sold framed and signed 49ers pics featuring Smith’s run and Vernon Davis’s catch at the final moments of the game against Saints. Having another QB after that game just wouldn’t have made any sense, no matter how the team will perform next year and no matter if it’s all just business like they say.

Change means new opportunities

What an interesting time to move into Silicon Valley to witness the change. Just in the last ten days we have had the following news from local companies:

  • Google buys Motorola Mobility. I still remember the first real business phone I got into my hands back in 1999: Motorola TimePort. It worked all over the place. The first true mobile. And now? What does Google acquisition mean for the Android ecosystem in general? I’m sensing more disruptions in there.
  • HP, which bought Palm only last year, appears to be killing not just their phones and tablets but PC business as well. PC was invented here, in Silicon Valley. And now, what is left besides Apple?
  • Speaking about that, Steve Jobs just announced he has retired as a CEO effective immediately. Despite medical leaves he’s been there to introduce the latest iPad2 and making sure the hype remains the same. Changes will happen slowly, but my guess is that Apple is going to start changing direction as well. It cannot continue as a closed cathedral forever.

Overall, I’m sensing there will be tons of opportunities for companies who bridge the ever-changing platforms and ecosystems together. That’s my mission to do as well.