Lately when I turn on the TV I feel I’m being bombarded with commercials for the Droid and being told how superior it is to the iPhone. At first I thought these suggestions were completely outlandish and this was another phone trying to “imitate” the iPhone’s “mystique”. However, I got the chance to play around with one the other weekend and I must say, Apple should feel scared. I feel in love with the beautiful display, snappy processor speed, and the legitimate 3G connection.
There is no disputing Verizon is the majority when it comes to cell phone users, which makes the proliferation of the App Store even more astounding. Verizon has approximately 89 million subscribers while AT&T has 81 million (Wikipedia). What’s notable is how Verizon customers haven’t really had a smartphone they could get excited about until the recently released Droid.
There is a nice article in computerworld titled “7 Smartphone Predictions for 2010”. One of the predictions they list is AT&T losing their exclusive relationship with the iPhone. Its interesting how they start off the article though….
One such user, John Davis, has been a physician for many years. He owns a new Droid smartphone, purchased at a Verizon Wireless store near Boston in November.
Davis cites many reasons for buying a Droid, the main one being that it is the closest thing to Apple Inc.’s fantastically successful iPhone that runs on the Verizon network. Having been a Verizon customer for years, Davis said he trusts the Verizon network more than he does the one offered by AT&T, the wireless carrier with exclusive rights to the iPhone in the U.S.
Aside from some initial voice echo problems, Davis sees the Droid as being handy for personal use and in his medical practice, where he can use it to browse for new research and exchange e-mail with colleagues. The Droid’s GPS capability is another plus.
But in the end, this is how Davis summarizes what could be the smartphone’s biggest impact in the world of computing and communications: “Eventually, this thing is my computer.”
The main form of motivation for developers to make medical apps for the Droid will be increased sales of the Droid, and it appears that’s happening based on numbers presented in the article by analysts. There are obvious shortcomings to the Droid’s native OS, the Android system. We mentioned these in a previous article. However, the Droid offers a product on part with the iPhone, and if enough excitement is generated by it, I have a feeling we’ll see a growing number of Medical apps for the Android Platform.
With Verizon’s Droid expected to hit 1 million in sales in its first quarter of availability, according to some researchers, a few of the dozens of other new Android devices could also sell well.
The Android operating system is expected to ship globally on 3.7 million smartphones in 2009, but that figure could more than double to 8.2 million in 2010 and Android could start to dominate the smartphone operating system market by 2014, Frost & Sullivan estimates.
By 2014, the Android could be the third most popular operating system, shipping on 65 million phones. That would put it behind first-place Symbian OS, which is used on Nokia devices and is projected to ship on 233 million phones that year, and Research in Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry operating system, which will be on 92 million phones, according to Frost & Sullivan.
I’ve been told by developers they don’t like developing for Android because of the different versions of the OS and the lack of standardization. However, if the Droid keeps pulling in big numbers, in particular medical users such as the above mentioned, than these limitations will be worth dealing with.
The beautiful screen and lightening quick processor on the Droid make it very suitable for mobile medical applications. The screen is larger than the iPhones and with so many iPhone medical apps utilizing robust graphical interfaces one would think the progression to the Droid would be seamless and offer a better experience.
At the end of the day though it comes down to simple supply and demand based on the numbers presented in the above quote: Millions of Droids being sold = Millions more potential customers for mobile medical applications = A new wave of medical applications on the way.