I have always been a technology and gadget geek. Having grown up coding on DOS-based systems since the Neolithic days of dial-up BBS servers and command-line interfaces, I have seen many pieces of software come and go. Some good, some not so good, some simply genius. Over the last 10 years I have been enamored, just like many other uber-geeks, by the massive proliferation of mini- and mobile-type devices found everywhere on the market today; my first real mini was the venerable Fujitsu P1110 ... think laptop with a tablet complex! Beyond that, I have always had some type of smart phone. It started with the Hitachi G1000, my first true convergence device - ugly as any Frankenstein, and just as big - but while most people merely dreamed of iPhone-type functionality, I already had it in my pocket!.
Over these last years, I have had many units, and usually just as soon as they came out on the market (yes, ! am that guy). I've had a Palm Treo ... no, actually 2. Got the G1 when it first came out ... ah the long list of my miniaturized digital glory days runs on and on; I have even played with the iPhone, but was just not as impressed as the rest of the world. When I compare it to other mobile OSs I have used it tends to always remind me of the PalmOS from the Treo. Obviously with Apple building it, it gets the hugely glossy big-money corporate layover but it still strikes me as operationally too similar. Since I had already used this style of interface it just did not stick out to me. I also could not bring myself to digest the draconian contractual obligations of the strategy employed by both Apple and AT&T, as they each battle to neatly lock the end-users into their respective ecosystems.
Then, like a note from heaven, like a beam of light from the cloudy autumn sky, came the Android. I got a G1 within the first couple of months of it's initial release. It made such a profound impact on me that, even as a power user, I remember saying to myself, "This is one device that is definitely going to give Microsoft and Apple an honest-to-goodness run for their big money." Even then you could still see the familiar interface of the desktop, application menu areas, and most of the normal conventions we have in a desktop OS environment. At the same time, they leveraged the environment they created far beyond the normal expectations. And for my benefit, Android had the Alerts Tray, a huge step up versus any other OS on the market!
These advances in UI/UX design from Android really put them out in the forefront of the mobile OS market, in my view. Delving into the ecosystem they created to support the devices, you begin to see other, even greater advantages; for example, the Android OS runs on many devices, designs, and hardware specifications - and this can make for unlimited possibilities in the future. Compare this to the architecture-tethering stringency of iOS specifications and licensing, and you're quickly stuck using the iPhone only, or at best, resort to constantly "jailbreaking" your iPhone. On top of that, you get stuck with being limited to apps from the iTunes App Store instead of having all the convenience and economy of the open-source strategy Google employs in leaving the Android market open and free.
Everything around Android and it's services is designed to provide the end-user with greater control of their digital environment and more available options, by sourcing its platform from external competition, innovation, and the power of the open marketplace. When I look at the iPhone I can only conclude they have the attitude,
"@ll y0ur m0n3y i5 0ur5."