"I've always hated litigation. I continue to hate it. I just want people to invent their own stuff."
- Tim Cook
- Tim Cook
The writing seems to be on the wall. Apple feels as though Android is cashing in on stolen technology. Validity aside, the question at hand is this: is the animosity between Apple and Google real? Is there truly a smartphone war going on? And if there truly is a ‘war,’ will there be a winner? Will the loser be the company who makes the least revenue or be the first to go under? Or, maybe the winner will be the one who wins the most patent cases in court?
On top of the cluster-______ that is the US patent system, word has it iPhone 5 is coming out soon. And if I read Apple's official tech blog correctly (*cough* BGR *cough*), it’s going to be kind of a big deal.
Apple’s next iPhone launch could be most important in smartphone history
That was the title of their article, not a quote, not an editorial, but I digress. In response, Samsung is also apparently coming out with some important smartphone, but the rumors of it seem to be few and far between. The world really does need a sarcasm font, but I digress.
Will the winner of the smartphone war depend on the Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5? I’m sure some will think so, but device sales are only part of the battle. In fact, they seem to be a part that Google may not even be interested in. If The Guardian’s conjecture is to be taken seriously, which is arguable since it’s based on Google’s subpoenaed numbers in its battle with Oracle, then Google doesn’t really care if Android bests iOS in the smartphones wars as long as their true money makers are installed on both operating systems.
The figures also suggest that Apple devices such as the iPhone, which use products such as its Maps as well as Google Search in its Safari browser, generated more than four times as much revenue for Google as its own handsets in the same period.
- The Guardian
- The Guardian
Forum user, kendall316, posed a topical question in the Off-Topic forums that is worth considering when contemplating the thought of a smartphone war and the possible victor. Android’s main draw, aside from its openness, is arguably its ability to be customized to suit a user's desired look. Themes and mods are available that can leave an Android phone looking and acting like an iPhone, a Windows Phone 7 handset, or even UIs that will likely never darken the door of an OEM. Is Cydia’s Dreamboard theming making that customization, and therefor that specific argument for Android's superiority, irrelevant?
The Cydia tweak dream board can completely change the look of the phone. There are a ton of themes. I know we can have different launchers [on Android] but for the most part they all look the same. Each Dreamboard theme changes it completely and allows you to put widgets on and stuff. Just wondering with the iPhone 5, if it has a bigger screen and a ton of the other rumored specs, would anyone consider getting, then jailbreaking for Dreamboard?
Of all the evidence pointing to actual animosity between Google and Apple, jailbreaking customization vs. native customizability seems to be the least compelling. Android and Apple inhabit different spaces in the smartphone ecosystem. iOS devices are dependent upon their ability to work as expected right out of the box, whereas Android devices are purchased (amongst other reasons) because some 300 million Android devices exist in the wild and not two of them probably have the same look to their home screens.
In conclusion, there is no real war and both sides should get on with life and enjoy their technology. As much as some fanboys on both sides of the aisle would like to push the thought that Apple and Android would be better off with one or the other annihilated from the global economy, that just isn't true. Apple and Google need one another to push innovation. Even if the iPhone 10 sells 5 billion devices, Google will still make a boat-load of money off the software on them. Even if Android Taffy Apple gets installed on every smartphone in North America, Apple will still be able to claim that their operating system line is less fragmented.
What exists today is a technology cold-war. Just like the USSR and the US used their national enmity to create Sputnik and send men to the Moon, respectively, Google and Apple need one another to innovate personal technology to places no one could have imagined 60 years ago. Except maybe Gene Roddenberry, I get the sense that he saw all this coming.