The DROID vs. the iPhone: It’s in the Advertising
Someday, there will be a time when our way of life causes our destruction. There could be a physical attack on the fiber-optic and phone lines that provides us with Internet service, and America's infrastructure will be hopelessly crippled — or terrorists could successfully destroy one of the many data centers which store hundreds of terabytes of financially sensitive information in the nebulous space often referred to as the "cloud".
An enterprising group of hackers could create a virtual skeleton key and use it to destroy the reputation of and aura of safety around online transactions. Our machines could even become sentient and rise against us, and as we huddle around the transistor radios in our basements, surrounded by canned goods and yellowing issues of inTouch Magazine, listening for updates from the resistance as the robots salvage bits of metal and plastic from the wreckage that was once our homes, we will wonder why we kept buying excessive amounts of electronics until it was too late. Did we really need that fourth iPod nano, the one with the marginally interesting extra features? We will cower in the darkness and marvel at just how irrelevant it all really was.
Until then, there's the Motorola DROID.
Verizon and Google recently announced a partnership centered around Android, which basically amounts to VZN throwing its weight behind the platform. One should note that the DROID is a line of products rather than a single phone (for example, Sprint's HTC Hero is being rebranded for Verizon as the Droid Eris). What's interesting to me is how this commercial, the only DROID ad I've seen thus far, is primarily anti-Apple.
It must be obnoxious for Apple's competitors to have their flagship products constantly compared to the iPhone — recently, Walt Mossberg lumped the BlackBerry Storm 2 and the Cliq (also by Motorola) into one article, dismissing them as part of the "long parade of iPhone threats." Motorola and Research in Motion are both huge companies who've spent a ton of money and hired quality personnel to develop and market these phones. It's a testament to the iPhone's world-class industrial design and user experience that ads like this one have to bash Apple rather than tout the impressive features of the product they're selling.
The Motorola DROID is getting excellent reviews — it's running both a fast processor analogous to the internals of the iPhone 3GS, as well the newest version of Android (code-named "Donut"). Both Engadget and Gizmodo rate it as second to the iPhone. So, again, not a product that should need to bash the iPhone in its ads in order to get attention, but a product that has to in order to gain any significant traction with consumers. It's unfortunate that it has to be that way, and maybe if a company like Palm or Motorola really gets its act together, that might no longer be the case. Until then, you have the iPhone and the DROID. One device runs a proprietary, notoriously closed OS and app marketplace, and one device is mostly open-source. One device has a great physical keyboard, and one device has a great virtual keyboard. But only one device is the iPhone, and for the forseeable future, all others have to follow its lead.