Could Apple be giving an assist to Android with the iPad?

Ipad_n1 When the iPhone came out in 2007, I was using a Sprint Treo 700w at the time, which was like my bazillionth smartphone, and I was very pleased with the performance of the stock Windows Mobile environment Palm chose to go with. As much as I tried to talk myself out of an iPhone and a switch to AT&T, there I was on the release day, hovering around the demo units at the Apple Store, eventually finding myself walking out to my car with $600 fewer dollars and one of those cool Apple sacks. Oh, and the iPhone.

Even though there was no App Store in those early days, I was content with my iPhone not only because of the cool factor, but I knew it would be a huge step forward. I kept using my Treo to run the apps that I was used to, so there was no urgent need for the iPhone to do anything else but make calls and browse the web.

Now with the iPad, I'm seeing a bit of a similar situation, only it now involves Android and my Nexus One, specifically. I'm actually starting to think the two devices can get along, especially since one is very pocketable, the other not so much, yet they each have their place. You might be thinking to yourself "What the heck is he talking about? Has Chris thrown back one too many?", but I assure you, the only thing I'm guilty of consuming in excess are the bags of 50% off Easter jellybeans I bought today.

I've had my iPhone SIM in my Nexus One for the past three weeks, and I love the phone as I mentioned the other day, but I have been missing the "always there" comfort of my 3GS. Since getting an iPad this past weekend, I've been thinking about how easy it would be for me to now use an Android device as a full time phone, knowing that I still have the iPad and App Store ecosystem to fall back on. While I'm using the WiFi-only model right now, my preordered 3G version should be here in about three weeks or so, and that's the one I plan on using to supplement my Nexus One now and my EVO 4G in the future. 

Surely I'm not the only one with this bizarre thought of an Android and iPad tag team, because I know there have been plenty of iPhone users who have been eager to venture to the other side of the fence to check out all the buzz over Android. In fact, this thread on an Apple-focused website has dozens and dozens of people who have done exactly that by moving to a Nexus One. With the EVO 4G coming out this summer, plus the Nexus One landing at a carrier near you, the spotlight will be focused even brighter on Android than it is now.

If users are able to migrate successfully without losing anything in the process, what can Google do to take advantage of this? Apple is giving them the unlikely assist, at least in the smartphone arena, because even though Android looks like iPhone OS, it's not really like it at all, but it doesn't have to be with the iPad around. Instead of trying to emulate, Google should further innovate, and the same thing goes for app developers. Don't make poor retread versions of iPhone apps unless you are trying to surpass the original version, make something new and exciting that will draw new users to the platform. Take that same huge step forward that Apple did three years ago.

Of course, here I am spouting all of this crazy talk now, but what happens when the next-gen iPhone comes out this Summer? Well, you'll have to check with me then, but I know I will be waiting anxiously for not only that, but the EVO 4G. If you see a trend here, that's because of my mobile device team. What great teammates Android and iPhone OS are!

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Chris King

Chris King is a former contributing editor at Pocketables.

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