TECH LAB In battle of smartphones, Google has the right answer Company's decision to distribute Android operating system widely gives it an edge
By Hiawatha Bray, Globe Staff | August 19, 2010
The war for smartphone domination is pretty much over, and the reasons are sitting on my desk.
There's the Vibrant from Samsung Group, a sleek, four-ounce beauty with a dazzling color screen. Next to it sits the hulking, half-pound Streak from PC maker Dell Inc., the biggest cellphone I've seen since NBC canceled "Miami Vice.''
Each, in its own way, is delightful. And both are built around Android, the smartphone operating system from Google Inc. that's outselling Apple Inc.'s in the US smartphone market.
Apple and its excellent iPhone will do fine, but Google will seize most of the market because it has adopted Microsoft Corp.'s old PC playbook. By selling Windows software to any computer maker, Microsoft flooded the world with Windows machines.
Today, there are just three iPhone models, all from Apple, and available in the United States through just one cell carrier: AT&T. There are more than 20 Android models, made by a host of companies, and available from every cell carrier. Of course Android wins.
The Android approach encourages phone designers to create innovative devices to target particular niche markets. So we're getting products like the Vibrant and the Streak, devices that have almost nothing in common except the software they run.