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As the iPhone 4 Juggernaut Rolls, the Android Camp Counterattacks

The iPhone 4 is turning out to be setting new records with its early sales — almost 1.7 million in first three days alone. And the Android camp is doing its very best to counter what seems like a monster launch from Apple.  In many ways the iPhone 4 has once again re-defined the smartphone landscape. Witness Apple’s (s AAPL) competitors: they are introducing feature packed, big screen devices that are powered by beefy processors.

Last week we saw Motorola, Verizon (s VZ) and Google (s GOOG) jointly announce the new Motorola (s MOT) Droid X. Now comes word that T-Mobile is launching Samsung Vibrant (which runs on Android 2.1), which comes bundled with my favorite app, Amazon Kindle. The device has a 4-inch screen, making it great for reading and watching videos (via MobiTV) and reading books.

Samsung has also launched EPIC 4G for the Sprint (s S) network and it too runs on Android 2.1. In addition to a big 4-inch AMOLED screen, the 5 megapixel camera, it also has a front-facing camera for video conferencing and a full QWERTY (slider) keyboard. Samsung devices are powered by Samsung 1 GHz Cortex A8 chip. Both Samsung phones are part or Samsung’s Galaxy S series of smart phones. T-Mobile USA also launched Motorola Charm, a qwerty keyboard phone which is also using Android 2.1 but with MotoBlur user experience.

Anyway it will be interesting to see if the growing number of feature-packed and powerful phones will be able to stop the iPhone 4 juggernaut. Or will this be a repeat of iPod — too many different MP3 models would do nothing in stopping Apple momentum.

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63 Responses to “As the iPhone 4 Juggernaut Rolls, the Android Camp Counterattacks”

  1. Rachdanon

    Iphone did revolutionize the mobile phone scene. Rest of the pack copied, including Andriod which is doing so with a better OS and is taking to the skies leaving the Iphone behind. Such is life. Someone copies you, adding somthing superior and you are left behind….

  2. Yea iphone is leading the pack that Android will follow. Except one little detail. Android has had a whole bunch of larger screen, high resolution, high power cpu phones out for a long time. iphone is leading from behind with feature long out of the barn. Talk all you want about the new droids following the iphone but phones like the nexus one, droid, ally, incredible, evo, moment came to market first. Facetime isn’t an open standard. It’s an apple thing. Not standardized by any means. Come join the rest of the world on SIP or Skype.

  3. Chris K

    Won’t be like the iPod if Apple keeps to one carrier in the US.

    If iPHone goes to all carriers I think the desire to get the competition’s product drops considerably.

    iPHone surely is not perfect, but it is the most polished product in its market space.

  4. no doubt iPhone 4 is doing awesome, but I fell the iPhone is for boring people who like to be packed with rigid rules and all that, and don’t want whole lot of fun out of their smart phone. I mean it.

    With Android I get the best of whatever I want. that’s the way it should be.

    Like, you get choice of carrier, hardware, software, pricing and bigger and more beautiful phones. These are choices, but I call all this, FREEDOM !!

    • dstrauss

      Then count me among the “boring” throng that is iPhone owners. Sure, Apple protects its walled garden pretty successfully (and rigidly I might add). But all that Android “fun” and “freedom” you extoll comes at a personal price of constant tweaking, upgrading, and hacking. AND NOW you are starting to see the first hit of Windows Mobile in the Android market. Each manufacturer and each carrier are not upgrading to the latest OS version with device releases. Why in heavens name are teh Evo and Droid X releasing with the admittedly inferior 2.1 versions when 2.2 is being upgraded OTA to Nexus owners? I was stuck in upgrade hell when I owned HTC and Samsung WinMobile devices when the manufacturers, and AT&T, blocked upgrading to the newest and greatest OS versions. Just wait and see.

  5. Simply amazing. You know I think that Apple is facing all of these issues because they rushed to make the iPhone 4. Android more than likely caused this. However, Steve needs to give an official statement and soon. Until then we can only speculate.

    Any how theres this article at http://getyourgadgetsgoing.com/ called “iPhone 4 Is In But The Problems Are Out: Complete Overview”

    Check it out for the complete listing of iPhone 4 issues and one that you may yet have heard of but still might be experiencing.

  6. Colin English

    A 4 inch screen, with a 1GHz processor? Sounds like the HTC HD2 to me. Oops, HTC aren’t releasing Android for that (xda-developers.com may), nor WinMo 7. Shame as the hardware is excellent.

  7. I have been waiting for an android for nearly an year when my family members and friends got iphones. I finally got the Desire and don’t see myself going for or wanting an iphone 4. Android lets me enjoy the true freedom.
    I’ll give one example:
    Couple of days ago I purchased a rss app from the android market and for some reason it didn’t install. It stuck at “authorizing purchase”, when the payment actually went through. I emailed the author, from the same gmail account I used for registering.
    Within an hour the author emailed me back with the package file (.apk). Since I used my same google account he didn’t even want any authorization.

    I saved the.apk file and simply installed the app by clicking it. All without even having desktop near me. I was on the train. Would iphone let me do something like that? No. its called freedom.

  8. Realistically Apple is so far ahead of the curve that it’s impossible to stop their momentum. The interesting thing to note here is that with each new device Apple sets the standards and then others follow to copy and by the time they do that it’s too late as Apple is already on the verge of launchign something new. One draw back for Appple is that the market has gotten used to Apple deliverying innovative products every year and that is reflected in their stock price and valuation so the pressure is on Apple to keep on innovating and the questions is can they keep on doing it? So far the anwaer is a resounding YES

  9. Kanubee

    As far as upgrading from an iPhone 3 or 3GS to Iphone 4 goes…what’s the big deal? The upgrades are negligible. I don’t see how the phone’s improvements will make a difference in current owners’ lives. However, converts are a different story. But will prospective customers on Verizon be willing to abandon their carrier now? Really?

  10. iPhone is for people who like it simple, reliable and cool. They don’t mind being told what they can or can’t do or even need, and they don’t seek openness since they wouldn’t know what to do with it in the first place. There are a lot of people like that – starting with the tech challenged and ending with the fan-boys.
    Android is for the rest. GO STREAK!

  11. Yogesh Pandeya

    The real competition will begin ONLY when iPhone becomes available on all the operator’s network. Once it happens it will be interesting to see Apple Vs. Microsoft Part 2 with Microsoft getting replaced with Google. Same story getting played on mobile than on PC.

    • That my friend will not happen, here is why. AAPL gets $17 / month from AT&T per iPhone customer, you think they will be ok with iPhone on Verizon or Verizon will pay APPL that kind of cash when they can sell Droids like crazy?

      • HD Boy

        Maybe Verizon sells Droids like crazy only because they have no iPhone option to offer customers. Will Verizon still sell Droids like crazy once the iPhone becomes available on Verizon? I doubt this.

      • dstrauss

        Please define “sell Droids like crazy”? As in 1,700,000 units in 3 days crazy, or a couple hundred thousand on release weekend? You are probably right about the $17 gambit (if the number is correct) and that, plus total freedom of design, are apparently the reasons that iPhone is wrecking havoc on the AT&T data network today rather than Verizon. I still stick by my prediction (which I may never be able to prove) that if released on all four networks, all those “I bought an Android because it was as close as I could get to an iPhone on my network” will convert to iPhone.

  12. The Epic wasn’t launched, merely announced that it would be available “in the coming months”. Sprint also announced the Nexus One, which never actually launched… So I wouldn’t quite count that duck yet.

  13. Really, you’re going to play the “Reality Distortion Field” card against Google when Steve Jobs is saying “There is no antenna reception issue” even though he’s been proven false by antenna experts?

    It’s been my experience that Apple fans tend to spend more time in that “distortion field” than anyone else. Both sides have fan-boys but Apple’s tend to ignore obvious problems/issues while defending the object of their affection.

    I understand that Google said some things but to act like they’re the only one’s living in some fantasy world is ridiculous.

    • Blad_Rnr

      That “reality distortion field” created the iPhone. Yes, the iPhone. The phone that turned the smart phone market on its head. The smart phone that made plenty of other CEOs and pundits eat their words. You act like Apple has been in the cell phone business for twenty years.

      It took Apple, once again, to set the ground rules for the smart phone segment as to what a smart phone should be, now everyone is trying to copy who? Why Apple, of course! If Rim, Nokia, MSFT, Google, HTC or Palm had any real innovation they would come up with something different. But they didn’t and still can’t. It’s always similar to the iPhone. Never out-of-the-box. They wait and see what comes from the “reality distortion field” and then they copy it or try to enhance it. So who is living in the “RFD?” Why, all the hand-set makers, trying to copy Apple, while Apple rakes in profits for themselves AND their developers in the App Store. The “reality distortion field” must have fake money or something because it sure is making real, huge profits for a lot of people.

      Hate Apple and their “reality distortion field” all you want, but what would the smart phone market look like if Apple hadn’t made the iPhone?

  14. daniel

    Go Android!

    I pre-ordered my Droid X two days and will be canceling my iPhone AT&T contract only 10 months in.

    Sick of Steve telling me what I can & can’t do with my stuff. He is a Bully.

  15. dstrauss

    I think my personal experience may be akin to what Apple is doing to this market, just like it did to MP3 players. I havebeen the inveterate GEEK: had to have a Toshiba 1100+ before notebook were even cool; the MP3 player with FM and recording capability; the uber Windows Mobile phone from HTC with slide out keyboard and ultimate custom-ability.

    Then I fell into an iPhone (in fact, the 2g and 3gs) and realized I enjoyed a closed system that work reasonably all the time. All the bells and whistles of ever-improving WinMobile and particularly Android phones didn’t even turn my head. Five years ago, I probably would have already owned a Moto Droid, HTC Evo, and on the waiting list for both Droid X and Samsung Galaxy. But I just don’t want to “fiddle” with all the settings any more – tweaking it until my eyes bleed. iPhone is basically simple but elegant; powerful but not overwhelming; iTunes keeps my music, videos, and apps in working order; Exchange Activesync is relaibale; and it just works (I know – flog me for that cliche, particularly given teh brewing antennae problem of iOS4 – I refuse to call it an iPhone 4 problem because my 3Gs does it too since upgrading to iOS4).

    Maybe it’s old age. Maybe I crave the simplicity of simple focused applications for specific purposes. Maybe I just recognize that iPhone does 100x more than that Toshiba 1100+ ever could just 25 years ago (shoot, it can run circles around my 2000 vintage notebook). In any event, I think the average consumer just appreciates size, function, and design over kick-ass power (that the new generation of Android 4.3″ phones epitomize). I truly beleive that if iPhone were on Verizon, much less all four major carriers, Android would be spinning its wheels. Face facts, Android is THE PHONE for those who can’t own an iPhone.

    • Narayanan

      Having struggled through all those days and countless gadgets which I have left unused in the drawers gathering dust, I totally agree.

      Though there are some similarities between PC and Mac era of the Eighties and Nineties, the big difference is that the modern day buyers do not need any purchasing advice from the geek crowd.

      Form + Function is a rare combination indeed and an extra long feature list may look impressive only to those stuck in a time warp.

      The issue of Apple’s marketing prowess and RDF is another lame excuse commonly offered. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      Apple focus on the user experience is the ultimate truth.

  16. ApPle’s weaknesses lies in its closed platform, it’s just a matter of time before they loose market share altogether…iphone’s Achille’s heel is itunes, when you purchase an android phone all you have to do is enter your gmail account and your whole life just syncs seamlessly to your device – truly brilliant!

    • What makes you think that itunes in the cloud won’t solve that problem.

      Also, I would argue iTunes is actually a strength. That’s why google is creating their own version (cloud based) for android.

      Being able to plug your phone then restore/backup/synch your phone (photos, apps, music, movies, podcasts) with one click has been a plus for iPhone owners.

      The next step for iTunes is the cloud.

      • Precisely…the cloud is at the core of Google’s strategy with Android…when your purchase your iphone/ipad you still need to plug it to your PC/Mac first and sync it for a few hours, it ties it to itunes and its ecosystem altogether. this doesn’t work anymore in a ‘mobile’ world and I believe it is too little too late to shift gears and ‘think different’…

    • Why doesn’t Apple just have both options, enable wireless syncing and the ability to connect to Native iTunes if(when) the cloud temporarily goes down?

  17. The industry hates Apple coz they dont share much, platforms are very closed, company is hidden in secrets compared to others like Google.
    But their products are fantastic and the good thing about them is that the products are different and innovative.

  18. How exactly is iPhone 4 re-defining smartphone landscape?? Sure, the original iPhone re-defined the smartphone arena, but after that it has done virtually nothing. The iOS is lagging behind Android big time, only thing that keeps iPhone turning out millions on phones is because of app store and itunes…

    Front-facing camera is re-defining smartphones?? are you kidding me?? front-facing camera’s has been there for years. So is every little bit of technology Apple is using. They just have a nice package and a whole bunch silly fanboys who wants to be ‘cool’…

    • Ted T.

      Right, just like Web browsers on smartphones had been there forever when the iPhone first appeared in 2007 with Safari.

      The difference is that when Apple implements one of those features “that have been there forever” for the first time, they actually work, and are usable by and useful to normal people. They might as well not have existed before for all the good they haven’t done.

      As for Android taking over iOS — not if iPhone goes to all four US carriers in the next year. You’ll notice that in countries where iPhone is carrier independent, Android is nowhere. You will also notice that in competition vs. the iPod Touch and WiFi model iPad where no carriers are involved, Android is practically non-existant. Android still cannot compete with iOS head to head.

      • “You’ll notice that in countries where iPhone is carrier independent, Android is nowhere” –
        Ted: Please enlighten us, which countries exactly are you referring to? Texas? Alaska? your naivety is staggering!

      • Ted T.

        @saad: “Ted: Please enlighten us, which countries exactly are you referring to? Texas? Alaska? your naivety is staggering!”

        Try France, Italy, Germany — in all of those and many more Android has minimal traction. At least I know the difference between a country and a state.

      • The problem, Ted T., is not with Android. The problem is with the so-called big-boys not having balls to make a decent product. HTC was the first to produce a Android phone (although it was an ugly ass phone) and still they are the brand that puts out many Androids. Motorola is following, in my opinion with slightly better built phones, but who else are active in Android?

        The “they actually work” argument is so old. Yes, they actually work on Apples’ products, and they have to! They control everything little bit from hardware to software, so yes, they actually must work!

        iOS took 3 versions to introduce copy&paste. And it has taken them 4 versions to get multitasking in. So much for revolution huh? Even their much touted multitasking is so blogged down and controlled you really cant do much with it, other than just suspending the state (except for 3 special cases). Android gives you much more freedom in multitasking. And yes, if the apps are not coded right, these freedoms can sometimes hinder performance, but at least it gives you the capability. Whats the point in boasting that it actually works, when nothing’s really going on?

        iPad has no competition in slate/tablet market not because of a problem of Android, it’s because of the inability of big-boys to make a decent tablet. With all their money and R&D power, you would expect companies like M$ and HP to be able to take a project to end right? Courier gets canceled. HP Slate gets canceled. It’s not Androids fault. Or iPads superiority.

      • @Ted: I guess you don’t get sarcasm…I assumed you were from either one of those 2 states that produced stellar intellectuals in the U.S. that I will not name…
        In any case your claims are unfounded, Android is getting a LOT of traction, have you ever heard of the Open Handset Alliance?

  19. Just as, in past decades, people would be foolish to bet against IBM or Microsoft, it would be foolish to bet against Apple in today’s context. Eric Schmidt / Google is what amounts to, in the mobile platform space, an also-ran (its utterly clear from the way Google behaved and the way they delivered their message at their recent I/O conference vis-a-vis Vic Gundotra). ’nuff said

    • An average customer does not follow the WWDC or Google I/O, those events are meant for developers. What is wrong in Google behaviour ? they were trying to exploit the long times required for approval process. In fact if you followed WWDC, there were plenty of attacks against Google delivered by Steve Jobs.

    • Apple vs. Google or Coke vs. Pepsi, this is all about competition here. Nothing wrong. Google has an opportunity in the mobile world, so why wouldn’t they exploit it? They just can’t rely on search only. Altavista anyone? Google is just one-click away from the users to lose search and they know it. They have to enter other markets because for now, they’re are a one trick pony. Google Wave, Google Buzz, Google Docs, you name it, all of these don’t bring them a dime. Not even GMail. Not even YouTube (no huge profits). For now, Android is just given away when iPhone is pouring money like crazy. Who knows how Android will resist to the upcoming Windows Mobile 7 attack. So yes, they should attack and grab whatever they could! It won’t prevent Apple to keep the edge anyway.

  20. History is repeating itself. Instead of HP & Dell on hardware, you’ve got HTC, Motorola, & Samsung leading the charge, and on software & services – multiple carriers with the Google juggernaut instead of Microsoft.

    • Not completely. 1) Steve Jobs is not fired from Apple, 2) Apple has 40+ billions in cash, and 3) Apple knows its enemies today. The battlefield might look the same but it only look the same. The iPhone will enjoy a far bigger success than the Mac worldwide and for a very long time. This doesn’t mean Android won’t be successful though. It’s no longer a zero sum game. There’s room for everyone.

      • The largest market for mobile devices is the emerging market, where people would rather purchase phones over computers due to prohibiting pricing, that’s why Nokia is the dominant platform worldwide and will stay that way for a long time until android devices start catching up…Apple will never appeal to that market precisely because the iphone is tied to an aging, outdated, desktop based ecosystem strategy(itunes sync) rather than fully embracing the cloud….

      • “3) Apple knows its enemies today.”

        And Apple is willing to sue. Apple couldn’t protect Mac OS due to being handcuffed by that ill advised Sculley agreement with Microsoft. This time its different. Truly unique intellectual property will be defended and no matter how detractors spin it, there is no shame in that.

  21. iPhone 4 will be fine, it is Apple that needs to worry. When the competition is equal / better (depending on personal opinions), the first thing that happens is a price drop. Consider that most of the 1.5 million iPhone 4 buyers were previous iPhone owners (77%) , there is space for multiple OSes. I think iPhone will be the top selling phone but Android will be the top platform, something like windows/mac, but more like 70/30 rather than 95/5

  22. Talitinium

    mp3 players are a bad comparison, Android phones are backed by Google & thats the difference. Google is the single most important tech company in the world today followed by the giants of yesteryear like MS & Apple.

    Apples heading down the same path they did in the 90’s with their “headstart”. what happens when SJ ages to a point the hipsters dont idolize him or eventually passes on (dies)? these are the problems of a company that built their empire based on marketing & image.

  23. Saleem

    A news expected phone HTC Vision with 1.20 GHz (new dual snapdragon processor from Qualcomm), 1020P HD video capability, HSPA+ support, high resolution and 16 MP camera will let many people to wait for HTC. Apple wont launch new phone in a year but customers will get many Android phones in this time.

    iPhone had edge over phones due to its software..hardware is not some thing that U can’t catchup…but launch of ANDROID make Apple really tense and now Android is having technology edge and iOS is now catching up Android…one simple example MULTITASKING.

    This all is good for users…so enjoy competition between all phone making companies.

  24. The iPhone juggernaut is coming to an end. iPhone 4 does very little to change that. The majority of iPhone 4 purchasers are upgrading from an older iPhone. All Apple can do now is hope all their lawyers beat the competition.

    • Jack and Jill

      Bob and Bill went up the hill to fetch a pale of Reality Distortion Field (set by the dweebs at the Google I/O conference proclaiming Steve Jobs to be “big brother”)!

    • Sergio

      Yes… just as other MP3 players with more storage and more features killed the iPod these commoditized Android phones with bigger screens and more features will surely kill the iPhone… just as with the iPod success has nothing to do with the user experience… success is all about the features list.

      • @Sergio

        Just as those cheaper and better featured PCs didn’t kill the Apple Mac. Oh wait, they did.

        Don’t confuse your markets, chief.

        Anyway, what will be interesting are AT&T’s subscription figures or Apple’s new customer figures. That’ll be what determines if Android is making an impact on the iPhone’s sales or not.

      • Sergio

        Cheaper and better featured PCs killed the Apple Mac? Really? I think that if you queried investors who have held Apple stock for the past 10 years and investors who have held Dell stock for the past 10 years they might be very surprised by that information.

      • @Sergio,
        Yes the PCs killed Mac during the late 90s It was 1996/97/98/99. Apple somehow managed to stay alive and came back strong. However history repeats, this time it will be Android eating Apple. The 77% of the repeat customers tells that folks no longer jump to ATT for iPhone. Besides by time time iPhone is available on Verizon/Sprint …. folks already built loyalties to Android. It will be tough to compete with an army of companies on all technological fronts.

  25. In a way it doesn’t matter as the market is massive, and the only real impediment is the carriers, not market demand.

    I have have been using the NexusOne with Froyo 2.2.72, and while it may not have the screen of the iPhone 4, T-Mobile works fine, the phone works, and there are lots of fun apps. As a consumer, my desire, is for there to be lots of competition, as it only gets better.

  26. i dont think Apple has the strong upper hand. I think Android has arrived. Compared to last year, when IPhone 3gs was released, this time around, a number of android handsets already somewhat measure up to IPhone. We have to see what blackberry releases and also wait for windows phone 7 release.