Much fuss has been made about Google’s Nexus One over the last few days. Let me tell you a simple fact though: all Android phones are still toy phones.
Don’t get me wrong, the potential for the technology is good, and much as I love my iPhone and have no intention of swapping any time soon, I have a strong desire to see healthy competition in the Smartphone market. RIM barely provides this. It addresses a limited, primarily business market, and that’s becoming increasingly apparent. Palm lost it years ago. (I had a Palm Treo 650 for 2 years, and got one update during that time. Palm spent years treating their users like disposed faecal matter, demanding that to get even a minor OS update they replace their device. You reap what you sow, Palm.) Microsoft has shambled from one failure to another with their Windows Mobile devices for over ten years without any major successes, and of late has seen their extremely limited market share plummet like a brick thrown from a plane … a plane that was still on the tarmac, mind you.
Android does seem the best possible hope for strong competition to the iPhone.
But, and I’ll be very blunt here, all Android phones are still toy phones.
Look at the Apple App Store. Apple has made the iPhone what it is today with third party applications. Most users have dozens of them, some have hundreds. Each one of those applications takes up space. Some may be small, some may be large, and others huge. Thankfully though on iPhones (and iPod Touches), there’s plenty of space, with the smallest iPhone having 8GB of space, fully shared between music, video and applications.
It doesn’t matter how much space you have on an Android phone at the moment, there’s an inescapable limitation: you are limited to 190MB for application storage. Yes, that even includes the much vaunted Nexus One. 190MB is, despite what some people think, not very much. A couple of games will quickly fill you up to that. If you think games aren’t important, think again. Games constitute a significant portion of the App store. People want games. Even more so, on powerful Smartphones, people are clearly valuing microgames – games they can run for five minutes while waiting for a bus to arrive or while in a queue. Microgames will usually take less space, but people want more of them, and good graphics always take space.
190MB? That’s laughably low.
This is something that desperately needs to be addressed by Google. If they want any hope of their product surviving, they need to fix this one basic flaw as soon as possible.