Ever a believer in full disclosure, I’m a big fan of my Droid. Yet I use my iPhone (and iPad) as much as the Droid, but for different tasks. I won’t claim to be completely unbiased, but I try to see the whole picture and not get sparkly eyed from any device to the point of evangelizing. The iPhone is sexy, until the App Store wants me to agree to 62 pages of terms and conditions and then demands I prove who I am at every download. The Droid is da bomb, until the too-loose nature of the Marketplace creates security issues at that delicate juncture where personal device meets enterprise use. Nobody’s perfect, after all. But they are all amazingly powerful, feature-rich devices.
For those who have embraced the mobile device lifestyle, it’s the little things that matter. Aggressive auto-correct makes for funny screen shots at times, but is also irritating when you actually need to be productive. Apps that just stop working because they demand to be updated can be horribly frustrating. Reliable authentication to secure Wi-Fi networks and good roaming afterward are important, yet sometimes seem like an afterthought on certain devices. These "minor" issues are why Google’s move on Motorola mobile devices is a big deal.
As Cisco has long dominated the Ethernet world, Apple has become synonymous with "MP3 player," with the iPod, and some people have no idea there is actually life beyond iTunes. Apple’s success is the fodder for grad school case studies, and there is no doubt that Steve Jobs is an unqualified genius. But Apple is far from flawless, despite the passionate claims of Apple Nation. But the market proves that the masses of Apple faithful often choose not to see the warts on their very expensive, non-replaceable-battery-powered wonder devices. And this too is why the full strength of Google now behind Planet Moto matters.
Competition typically spawns innovation, improvement and lower prices. Savvy consumers need choices, and world domination of any one platform is bad news, in my book. As phenomenal as the Apple story is, Google’s history of creative thinking and hyper-successful "people first, profit second" attitude is every bit as impressive. Motorola and Google have already collaborated on the development of Android, which is as world-class (or quirky, take your pick) as Apple’s iOS, and the new Google announcement takes the arrangement to the next level.
Regardless of who ultimately gets the bigger slice of pie on the chart for sales during a given quarter, Google has the deep pockets and commitment to give Apple a more honest run for the money than Motorola alone did when it comes to mobile device experience. You and I are the ultimate winners, as impressive devices will get even more so as these titans slug it out for our business in the days to come. The little irritants will get fixed, and become marketing points. Good has already become great in both product sets, and now great will become mind-blowing--but only because two of the best of the best are pitted against each other. Bring it on.