I’ve just reviewed the LG GW620 Android phone. I was impressed by its features but disappointed by its usability – it’s not that bad, but scrolling web pages accurately with touch I found almost impossible – it’s hard to avoid scrolling too far and missing out a chunk – and why does LG supply the device with four different email clients?
Apple’s iPhone is much more expensive and compares badly on features, but has the usability and polish that the LG phone lacks.
OEM Android versus Apple iPhone – it reminds me of Windows vs Apple on the desktop.
One is for the mass market, cheap, feature-rich, a bit chaotic, always a few annoyances, but you put up with them because you can still get things done, and it’s an open platform which lets you do what you like.
The other is premium-cost, single-vendor, less annoying, and you spend more time getting on with what you want to do and less time fighting the machine.
I don’t intend this as a complete parallel. There are more than two popular operating systems in the SmartPhone market right now – Symbian, Meego, WebOS, Blackberry; and Microsoft has big hopes for Windows Phone 7. That said, it is hard to see all these platforms thriving long-term.