The big Android Market related news of the day is that Gameloft is backing away from Android and concentrating their efforts on the Apple App Store. Why? Because even the most experienced, talented developers and dev teams are having serious trouble breaking even publishing Android software. At least that’s Gameloft’s perspective. Are they emblematic of the entire developer community? I don’t know. I’m not a coder and I’m not going to guess. We all know the Market needs help, but Android is just starting to make ripples in the mainstream consciousness. Does it seem a bit early to be giving up on a company with the vision and weight of Google? Can there really be only one big name in the app selling industry?
I have a lot more questions about this topic than I do answers, but I can tell you what I think the primary issue is. Android 2.0 and the new Market represent exactly the right kinds of advancements Android was desperately in need of and I can’t fault Google for their rate or areas of progress. In my mind, Android is going exactly where it needs to go in order to truly fulfil its potential. As far as I can tell, the lacking catalyst is time. There is however, one missing element that could instantly address and shortly resolve my primary qualms with Android; the same weaknesses you’ll see me point out in a video I’ll post tonight in response to a DroidDog reader’s question about the ability of Motorola’s Droid to really bring the battle to Apple’s front door: the management of apps and media and the uniformity of Android programs.
That’s it for me. Those are the reasons I refuse to tell a reader that an Android device is better overall than Apple’s iPhone. I may be an enthusiast, but I’m not here to sell something to people that won’t best serve their needs. For the average consumer, iPhone still wins. And while a desktop client won’t improve the quality of apps the day it is released, it would be a step in the right direction. Of course I could complicate the issue and bring up Android splintering and the effect that’s having on customer confidence and developer sanity, but that would only reinforce my argument for a simpler management solution – one that runs on Windows and Mac at a minimum. At this point, especially considering Google’s impending launch of Chrome, which I finally test drove last night, I’d say Linux support is just as important.
little boy that cried, “Wolf!” medium-sized blogger that cried, “iPhone killer!” has already convinced, in my estimation, a good chunk of blog readers that there will never be such a thing. So many noble princes have been deemed worthy of slaying the dragon and failed that I think people are starting to view the iPhone as an untouchable golden ring, and Apple as a deity whose throne no mythical concept gadget could even hope to approach. I’m not asking (or attempting to answer, after tonight) any more questions about whether or not this or that phone is as good as Apple’s. When Google presents some sort of desktop media/app management solution that can, in some way, deal with my DRM-crippled tracks, I’ll ponder it’s stature next to iTunes. Until then, I’ll keep circumventing copy protection and dreaming of the day that they do.