People have said they can’t tell from my post yesterday whether I like the Droid or not. I re-read it and see what they mean.
So I thought I’d inaugurate this blog with a clear statement: I not only like it, I love it. It excites me in ways that computer products used to, years ago, but rarely do, these days. I see the Droid as the next step in bringing the web to life. The iPhone was pretty awesome when it shipped, but this goes so much further. Partially because it comes from Google, and I’ve built a fairly complex system around Google’s web tools. It’s exactly those tools that show up on the desktop of the Droid. And partly because, like the web itself, it’s open for anyone to play with, in any way they want.
Some people have asked if I like the Droid because I don’t like the iPhone, and yes — that’s true too. My early enthusiasm for the iPhone was dampened by the fact that it didn’t achieve what I felt was its basic promise, that it would be a Mac but in a small form factor. I wanted my Mac software to run in this environment. The iPhone did not even try to do this.
I never really saw the iPhone as more than three things: 1. A phone (and not very good at that because of AT&T). 2. A communicating camera (great!). 3. A dress rehearsal for what the web will look like in a hand-held form factor.
I didn’t use it for email or Twitter or really anything else. For that I used my Asus netbook because I could write software for it, it could be part of the system of tools I use on my Macintosh desktop computers, which is ironic because it runs Windows, and the iPhone, under all its layers of UI, runs Mac OS.
The Droid still doesn’t give me a way to run my software in a mobile format. For that I will still have to rely on the Asus. I’ve been developing for many many years. The idea of a platform that asks me to start over is not at all appealing. So the Droid doesn’t have my full attention. If I were younger I might try to transition my codebase to run here. But unless someone ports the OPML Editor to this environment, I don’t see that happening. 😦
I wrote in a tweet yesterday: “the big diff is developer freedom. i used listen to find my fave podcasts. no sul. no app store bs. google will prob screw up, but not yet.”
Droid has the potential to be a coral reef the same way Twitter is. It doesn’t have a suggested user list (or anything analogous to it). I was able to easily listen to all my favorite podcasts using their software. The app store isn’t the only way to get software onto the device. It doesn’t appear to be locked up. This is a huge difference.
People snicker that I’m being idealistic. Maybe so. But culture can’t develop without freedom. All the great platforms of the past were allowed to evolve in ways that were not anticipated by the people who started them. Platforms that have bottlenecks, are imho doomed. That’s why, once Apple’s strategy for the iPhone as a platform emerged, I knew I would find a way to get off the platform, as a user, and that I would never develop for it.
All this is part of putting my stake in the ground. I expect to learn a lot about this product in the coming months. I hope to share that here, and invite others to participate in the site. The only thing we share is the sentiment in the title of this post.
Update: Just got a call from Scoble on his Droid. We did an A-B comparison Droid-to-Droid and iPhone-to-iPhone. The Droid is much clearer. But get this — we were both able to put our phones on speaker, and then go use them for other things. Another big difference.
It’s more of a platform. It’s more of a personal computer. It’s also a better phone.
Final note before moving on to other things… another tweet from last night: “I dont think theres much doubt but i’m building a nest on the droid.” That was 22 hours ago and now I feel even more strongly about it.