Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Android vs. iPhone, Wrong Battle for Google

Yesterday, Google announced the long awaited G1 Android phone. In theory, the G1 should be tremendously successful for Google to leverage its advertising machine to take hold of local search and change the mobile advertising footprint. However, it appears that Google prefers to position the G1 directly against Apple's iPhone. In my view, the G1 does not measure up to the iPhone and will lose that battle.

After many iterations of Smartphones over the past few years, the killer application continues to be voice. Apple apparently has leveraged the popularity of the iPod to enter the Smartphone business. As a result, it is debatable whether Apple has changed the "killer app" paradigm with iTunes. If you believe that iTunes is critical to the success of the iPhone then it is impossible for G1 to directly compete since it doesn't even include a standard headphone jack.

Today, I attended an iBreakfast about Android vs. iPhone from an advertising perspective. The panelist included:

David Berkowitz,
Jon Lumerman, EarthQuake Media
Noah Elkin, Steak Digital

At this session I found it interesting that most of the discussion revolved around the "cool" applications that were demonstrated at the G1 announcement press meeting. However, there was limited talk around Google's core advertising competency. In order to make a dent in iPhone sales, the G1 has to achieve considerable sales. The iPhone has sold approximately 2,626,183 units in a year. If we compare those numbers to other mobile devices, we see that the hype around the iPhone is greater than the actual results.

Hype vs. Hard Unit Sales Numbers

Motorola RAZR V3 Series - 27,690,028
Motorola MotoKRZR - 5,306,736
LGVX8300 - 4,688,511
Nokia 6101 - 3,500,265
Motorola V325 - 2,927,648
Nokia 6010 - 2,711,021
LG VX9900 - 2,700,530
Apple iPhone - 2,626,183

Time will tell how the G1 phone will be received by consumers. It has had a rocky start with the developer community who felt somewhat abandoned when Google decided to release its latest software developer kit to finalist only in the Android Developer Challenge. This decision motivated many developers to move to competing platforms.

Here is a side by side comparison.

G1Price - $179 USD vs. iPhone - $199 USD