Quick Comment on Android

A number of comparisons have been drawn between Apple’s “dominance” of the computing space in 1984, and Microsoft’s successive takeover, with Apple’s current “dominance” of the smartphone space, and the slow rise of Google’s Android.

Although the analogy is flawed in a number of ways, the most interesting to me is this:

Google does not give a crap about whether current hardware will be able – at all – to run the next version of the OS.

You could certainly say that Microsoft, in the early days of Windows, was pushing the performance envelope.  There were definitely computers being sold that wouldn’t be able to run the next version of Windows – my lowly 33MHz 486SX with 4MB of RAM needed a lot of coaxing to run Windows 95.

But at the time, that computer was a few years old already – at least three.  And it did indeed run Windows 95, albeit slowly.

On the other hand, the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab are just over a year old.  Yet, they will never receive the Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich.

Maybe it’s unfair of me to say Google doesn’t care about this; I’m sure somebody there cares.  But apparently, as a team, they don’t care enough to make sure that Samsung can get it running on a phone that is, at worst, only one generation behind the current.

And maybe that’s part of why the Google/Microsoft analogy is so flawed.  Fundamentally, the market for phones and tablets is different than that of computers in the 90’s.  So, perhaps a more forward-device looking approach is better.

Perhaps not.  I like that my wife’s iPhone 4, clearly a generation behind, runs the latest iOS.

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