There have been heaps of hype over the launch of Verizon’s Droid mobile phone, which is made by Motorola and powered by Google’s Android 2.0 mobile operating system.
Droid made its debut via a viral Verizon ad that pointed out all the things the iPhone “iDoesn’t” do.
Verizon’s Droid Ad
The Droid ad campaign drew eyes, despite some of the Verizon ad’s questionable claims. The mighty Google even helped Verizon publicize its phone by placing a Droid ad on the Google home page. And apparently, the Droid launch last week caused (some) lines at Verizon stores.
Will Droid Outsell iPhone?
So, is the Droid an “iPhone killer,” as the iPhone doomsayers portend?
Doubtful. Yes, Verizon’s Droid is impressive, but the Droid itself is not compelling or innovative enough to cause a storm of sales that could match Apple’s unprecedented iPhone sales. Droid is cool, but it’s no game changer.
Nevertheless, given the prominence of the Droid ad campaign and the popularity of Google’s new Android 2.0 mobile operating system, it is likely that Droid will cause a dent in what has for the last year been a smartphone market dominated by Apple.
What’s more important is that Droid will soon be joined by an army of mobile phones powered by the Android mobile OS.
Verizon’s Droid: One Soldier in an Army of Androids
Droid itself can’t take down iPhone. But it can gnaw at Apple along with the army of Android piranhas that will meddle into the marketplace in the coming months.
Droid is the beginning of the “Android army” phenomenon that no one is talking about yet. If you don’t recall, Google’s Android mobile phone software is open source, meaning any carrier can use it on any hardware. And that is the power of Google’s Android.
Think about it. The Droid is a collaborative effort between Verizon (the carrier), Motorola (the hardware maker) and Google (the software provider). There are infinite possibilities for collaboration on Android phones, while iPhone in the US is backed by just two companies, Apple and AT&T.
Collectively, the Android Army will possess the power — and market share — needed to seriously compete with Apple’s iPhone. If you don’t like iPhone, you don’t buy iPhone. If you don’t like Droid, you can still buy some other Android-powered phone. That scenario does not play well for Apple.
And while many people point to the iPhone App Store as proof of iPhone’s permanence in the marketplace, Google’s Android Market contains third-party apps that are usable across Android mobile phones, while iPhone apps are usable on iPhone only.
When Google unveiled Android in November of 2007, I argued that Android would present serious competition for Apple’s iPhone, but I did not consider the potential of the Android army that is in the works.
How Will iPhone Compete With the Android Army?
Can Apple singlehandedly fight off an army of mobile phone giants backed by Google, while iPhone remains bound to the immensely unpopular AT&T?
I don’t think even Steve Jobs, who was recently named CEO of the Decade by Fortune, can fend off the approaching Android army and maintain iPhone’s dominance of the smartphone market.
Apple better wake up and think about a new strategy, because it’s about to face a mighty competitor in Android.
What Do You Think?
Will the future see a smartphone space that is no longer defined by iPhone and BlackBerry? Will the Android army take down iPhone? Let me know what you think in the comments.