Sunday, January 9, 2011

What an iPhone on Verizon Means

As most of you have probably heard by now, rumors are flying about the iPhone coming to Verizon this Tuesday (January 11th). Although I feel that Verizon could use this moment to pull one of the largest pranks the entire mobile industry has ever seen and introduce another Android device, I think that most experts agree this is the day the iPhone will finally be announced. To be honest, I am not as excited about this as most. Allow me to explain.

Since the beginning, I have supported Android. I have owned iOS devices, but have felt that, as someone who loves to modify and customize my device, Android is the better platform. I do admire Apple for their products that "just work" and feel that they have become the leaders in the mobile industry because of this. They are catering to a market of people who don't care about the technology behind their devices, they just want to turn it on and use it (Obviously technology enthusiasts use iOS devices as well, they're just not the bulk of users). But in the end, Android has become a place where I can install whatever application I like, change my home screen, and make changes to how the entire operating system functions; it's just how open source works.

This is why I don't look forward to the 12 Million expected iPhone users, each consuming on average 200 MB of data per month, consuming valuable Verizon resources. Android users have enjoyed Verizon's fast, always-present network for about two years. Unless Verizon has invested millions of dollars in infrastructure to support the impending onslaught of iPhone users, you can bet that the network will stagger under the load. While I doubt that it will suffer as much as AT&T's has, I am certain that the slow-down and congestion will be noticeable.

In addition to speed issues, I fear for the future of Android. Android is an amazing product and has made huge leaps in terms of development and market share. A huge portion of Android's success (sadly) has been because it is typically referred to as the "Verizon iPhone." I have no doubt that Android's market share will take a huge dip when the iPhone is introduced. It will need to fight to stay alive, and without Verizon's ridiculous marketing, I honestly don't know about Android's future.

The iPhone coming to Verizon is something millions of customers have wanted for years. Now that it is finally here, I fear it will bring congestion to Verizon's networks and a decline in Android's market share and development. Google will need to invest millions in marketing, which I hope they do. Competition is good for the consumer and I hope that both products will benefit from this. I just hope that Google can do enough to convince new users that Android is just as good (and better, in some cases) than the iPhone.

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