Mystery Android project takes a swing at the iPhone
Tuesday 20 October 2009
An aggressive TV ad campaign from Verizon Wireless in the USA is adding to the support building for a software package from Google that is shaping up to be the most formidable challenge yet to Apple's iPhone.
The commercials for the "Droid" phone, being made by Motorola, list features that the iPhone lacks, such as a physical keyboard and the ability to run applications simultaneously. It ends with the tag line "Everything iDon't. Droid does."
It's not the first ad from a wireless carrier to take aim at the iPhone's weaknesses. Notably, Sprint Nextel's ads for the Samsung Instinct and the Palm Pre have compared these devices to the iPhone.
But the Verizon ads come at a sensitive time for the iPhone, as user frustration with the network of the sole US iPhone carrier, AT&T, is growing.
Verizon Wireless gets high marks for its network quality, but it has lacked a "smart" phone that can match the iPhone's ease of use and breadth of third-party applications.
Watch the advert
The touch-screen BlackBerry Storm, which launched last year, is the closest Verizon has come, but the first Storm got lukewarm reviews and was plagued by software problems.
The Droid will run Google's Android software, which is gathering momentum as a platform for a range of manufacturers, in contrast to the Apple-only model of the iPhone.
T-Mobile USA and Sprint already have Android phones. With Verizon, the largest US carrier, now on board, the free software package becomes more attractive to software developers who want to reach the widest possible audience for their applications. A wealth of applications, in turn, helps attract customers to a phone.
The ads don't show the phone or reveal a price or a launch date more specific than "November." But the home page for the ad campaign, droiddoes.com, sends viewers to another site that has "Motorola" in the address. And two weeks ago Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam posed for an Associated Press photographer with an Android phone carrying the Motorola and Verizon brands.
(At the same event, the photographer captured what appeared to be a version of HTC's Hero phone. It is expected to be the second Android phone Verizon Wireless releases. It's already available from Sprint and T-Mobile, and is more like the iPhone, lacking the slide-out keyboard of the Motorola model.)
McAdam said at the event that Verizon Wireless was putting "substantial resources" into developing and selling Android phones - an unusual initiative for a carrier that has previously relied mainly on manufacturers to supply it with competitive devices. It's not clear how much Verizon is spending on the Droid ad campaign, however.
The campaign is an important endorsement for Motorola, which started using the Android software as part of a turnaround effort. The cell phone maker is struggling to recover from a multiyear drop in sales. Motorola started selling its first Android phone, the Cliq, on Monday through T-Mobile USA. Motorola has previously made smart phones using Microsoft's Windows Mobile software, but these haven't been big sellers.
Motorola shares rose 62 cents, or 7.9 per cent, to $8.47 in Monday afternoon trading. Shares of Verizon Communications, which owns Verizon Wireless along with Vodafone Group PLC of Britain, were unchanged at $28.90.
The heavy anti-iPhone message of the ads shouldn't be taken as a sign that Verizon Wireless won't eventually carry the iPhone. Having a viable alternative to the iPhone could strengthen Verizon's hand in negotiations with Apple.
The terms of the exclusivity agreement between Apple and AT&T are secret, but there has been speculation that it could end next year.
However, the current version of the iPhone doesn't work fully on any national US network expect AT&T's, so Apple would need to produce new versions of the phone for Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint.
Sticking to one carrier doesn't appear to be Apple's long-term goal. In several countries, there are multiple iPhone carriers. Canada will soon have three, for example.
Life & Style blogs
How old is your heart? US research finds three out of four people have hearts five years older than their actual age
iPhone 6s Plus photos: leaks show Force Touch display, subtly altered size
Huawei Mate S and Huawei Watch: new products take on iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch
How to discover who your best friends are on WhatsApp - using a tool within the application
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
- 1 Huawei Mate S and Huawei Watch: new products take on iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch
- 2 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 3 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
- 4 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
- 5 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
£55000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£38000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Design and build advanced appli...