Droid Faces Uphill Battle Against iPhone
Verizon is spending a lot of money advertising its upcoming Droid smartphone. It's everywhere -- from commercials on TV to bills posted on construction sites. But I question whether the iPhone-mocking focus of the ad campaign can generate broad appeal.
The ads target the iPhone's shortcomings, such as its lack of a camera flash and the rigid application development limitations imposed by Apple. They include statements about the iPhone such as "‘iDon't have a real keyboard," "iDon't allow open development," and "iDon't run simultaneous apps.'" Those points resonate with me, because I'm a member of the tech punditocracy.
The question is, does the average user care about things such as open development? I'm an iPhone owner, and Apple's draconian policies don't really affect my overall experience. There are still plenty of apps to choose from. I haven't met too many disaffected iPhone users, probably because the user experience-while imperfect-is pretty great.
Beyond the jailbreaking crowd and some grumblings about Google Voice, I have never heard anyone complain that he or she didn't have all of the applications that he or she wanted on the iPhone. Verizon's clumsy wording doesn't help either. The message would be more effective as something like "iDon't permit all the apps you want."
Verizon's playful advertising campaign keeps the Droid fresh in my mind, and initial buzz on the device is favorable. I might consider buying it when I need a new device. However, that would involve switching carriers, and would leave much of my iTunes music library orphaned. My music, video and phone are all-in-one now, and I do not want to have to carry around a separate iPod.
I chose to buy Apple's DRM music format, as well as to be locked into AT&T's network. Aside from some intermittent dropped calls, and poor reception in areas that Verizon fully covers, I'm happy with my decision. If I'm a hard sell, I'd venture that people who don't care about things like running simultaneous apps aren't really getting what's so special about the Droid.