Why Android v. Apple isn't like Microsoft vs. Apple

I was up in Sham Shui Po today, looking to buy an Android tablet.  The reason I didn’t buy one was kind of interesting.

Sham Shui Po is basically Shenzhen’s outlet in Hong Kong.  The Golden Computer arcade is a collection of “China Generic” computers and parts, and you can pick up pretty much anything technically related from the iPad down to things like cables, iPhone cases, and other tiny computer parts (what we referred to as the “pocket lint of the tech industry”).  In the street markets around there you have dead ducks hanging from a hook next to a hook full of HDMI cables.  It’s pretty wild.
I’m not really in the market for another tablet, but if I saw one I liked I was ready to shell out to buy an Android tablet primarily for some projects I’m working on.  But I’d have to see the right one before I’d buy as I wasn’t out to just get any Android tablet–I wanted the best I could buy (and one that I could eventually run Honeycomb on safely).  So what did I see?

There were dozens, and not a single one was even remotely worth buying, let alone being an iPad killer.  They were brands I had barely heard of, and, of course, the dozens of China generics still selling themselves based solely on the ‘specs’ of the hardware rather than the overall experience.  In the end I just couldn’t justify buying one of these things that would likely become a coaster in the next few months when something better came along.

I keep hearing that Android will due to the iPad/iPhone (iOS) what Microsoft did to Apple.

Do you really think so?

People tend to forget that Microsoft did not succeed because there were dozens of computer makers pushing it.  There were several competing OS standards back during that time all of which could have become “the standard” if they had the ace up their sleeve.  IBM.  Microsoft got their biggest boost because IBM was using it.

At the time, IBM was the be all, end all of computers.  No one would go wrong buying an IBM system and when they introduced their PC it was by far the market leader in the enterprise purchases. Commodore and Compaq and HP and Dell and all the assorted others were but a mere sideshow to the big boy on the block that was giving Microsoft cachet into the tech industry.  Within 3 years, IBM PCs were nearly 50% of the computer industry, and their use of the Microsoft OS went along for the ride.  It wasn’t necessarily Windows that beat Apple, it was the IBM-compatible that beat Apple back then.

So who is Android’s IBM?  What company out there today making Android tablets is the “big boy”–the flagship for the fleet of Android tablets that are going to be coming out?  Is there any hardware company that could possibly get to 50% of the tablet market share?  Nokia? (nope).  Dell?  Wait and see.  HP? Samsung?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Who is the 800 lb gorilla in the room this time?  Apple, to be honest.

What would have happened in the early 1980s if IBM had launched the IBM PC with their own (licensable) operating system?  If IBM was selling machines with an OS that they were licensing to clone manufacturers, do you really think Microsoft would have stood a chance?  They would have just been some company that made a few BASIC games and then went poof.

Apple, of course, is not licensing out there iOS behind the tablet, and this may prove problematic one day, but Android is not being used by any company that is a “MUST HAVE” in the technology industry either.  There is no IBM tablet on the horizon, and the best of the best of the best that you see today (Samsungs, HP) are being dwarfed, by an order of magnitude, by sales of new iPads and holdouts waiting for iPad2.

So next time you hear tale of Apple’s demise due to the power of Android don’t necessarily think history is about to repeat itself again.

This is not your father's Missile Command & Asteroids

Actually, it’s not my father’s either. In fact my dad didn’t play video games. The ‘old man’ in our family who plunked down dozens of quarters into Asteroids and Missile Command machines was me, so in a way when I say this isn’t your “father’s” missile command I guess I’m talking from the perspective of my kids. Whoa. Scary. There goes a saying I can’t use very well. But anyway, there is a new “app” on the Apple desktop App store worth checking out.  It’s called Pangea Arcade and includes Missile Command (not called that), Asteroids (not called that) and Centipedes (not called that either).  Damn lawyers. Anyway, it’s in the top ten and it is FREE on the app store, so worth checking it out if you want to play some old time desktop classics on your shiny new Mac.]]>

The Politics of Dancing by Re-flex

Fat Angelo’s this weekend having some pizza and listening to a pretty good mix of 80’s new romantics bands on the speakers. Kind of a throwback to sitting in Garcia’s Pizza back at the University of Illinois in the 80s and listening to the same music. It’s kind of funny but there are times when you are focusing on just what is front of you, like your kids or a pizza on the table and music in the air and you really start to lose track of where you are. Yes, I’m in Hong Kong, 6,000 miles from home, but at that moment, I didn’t even notice. Anyway, now this song is stuck in my head. ]]>

Boeing 747-8i rollout video

Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental was introduced this week in Seattle. It’s got an extended upper deck as you can see, and is about a dozen feet longer than a standard 747. No idea when I’ll get to ride on one of these. There is talk that this might become the new Air Force One (or the 787 if that gets off the runway eventually). I say just keep going and rebuild the entire upper deck the length of the plane (take that Airbus!). You know there are some engineers who have tried that in the lab. Wonder if it would work. ]]>

Into the Apple Product time warp

[/caption]Ok, so I was sitting here surrounded by stuff and no Internet, which means basically I have to behave like it is 1992 and I can only use my computer for doing stuff locally. So I started to make a list of all the Mac computers I’ve owned. Apple IIc (Dad’s) Mac512KE (1986) Powerbook 140 (1993) Powerbook 5300 (1997) iMac (2000) Power Mac G4 (2000) Powerbook G3 (Pismo) iMac (2004) Mac Pro (2005) Macbook Pro (2006) Mac Mini (2007) Mac Pro (2007) Mac Mini (2008) iPhone v. 1 (2007) iPhone v. 2 (2008) iPhone v. 3 (2009) iPad (2010) iMac (2010) iPhone v.4 (2010) Guess it is time to buy some more stuff.]]>

Randomly waking up to see Egypt explode

Al Jazeera English and pulled out the iPad.  I then looked up and saw the Vice President of Egypt start to make an announcement. “Hosni Mubarak has waived the office of presidency….” WTF?  Is this live?  I grabbed my glasses to look for the LIVE ticker and then the next scene was pandemonium.  I had to turn down the TV volume.  Mumbarak was gone, and Al Jazeera, to their credit, then showed nothing but screaming crowds for what seemed like 5 minutes. I booted up Twitter and it hadn’t hit yet.  I started blasting some messages and within about a minute I was getting replies and other updates from the breaking news services.  It was kind of funny to still get my assortment of tech related messages coming through oblivious to the world changing outside, but eventually Twitter caught up to the fast changing events happening on TV. Talk about a random moment to wake up.  A few minutes later and I would have been too late.  A few minutes earlier and I probably would have gotten bored and checked the movie channels. Here is how it played on Al Jazeera: