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The Android Army: Is Google vs. Mac the New Mac vs. PC?

Google Android army

Those slightly amusing Mac vs. PC Apple ads are getting a bit tired now, but when the PR guys dream up the successors, they might need a rethink on the strategy. Because the new "Mac vs. PC" battle might be "Apple vs. Google."

The idea has popped up courtesy of The New York Times's David Pogue, who's also been speaking to the editors of tech blogs Gizmodo and Engadget. In a blog post late yesterday, Pogue believes he has revealed a "whole new untapped population online: The Android Army."

Pogue's thinking rests on an analysis of the user comments on his review of Google's new Nexus One smartphone. Though the review was largely positive, Pogue came to roughly the same conclusion I did, working on leaked data before the launch, that though it's a great app phone, it's "marred by some glitches." And those words seem to have incensed a large number of Google fans, whose attacking comments are in some cases foaming at the mouth.

"You are an idiot" begins one, while another attacks Pogue's attack on the lack of multitouch in the U.S. version: "You write that the Nexus One doesn't have a multitouch screen, but it does; Google just didn't enable it. You should be fired for your incompetence." That's fighting talk, and especially dumb since Pogue is right—the N1 won't be multitouch in the U.S., but will be overseas—and that directly affects millions of end-user's experience of the device.

Pogue concludes that ferocity of these posts (and personal emails to him) stems partly from the slight disappointment in the wake of the N1's launch, and mostly from the fact that it's open-source architecture attracts the right sort of code-head enthusiast who'd be happy to send off a vitriolic comment. The Google defenders are a new religion, in the exact same vein as Mac fans versus PC fans. And it's really a Apple vs. Google thing, since the iPhone is dominating the touchscreen smartphone market that Google's so keen to break into.

Does our own experience bear out Pogue's analysis? Kind of. When I pre-empted the N1 launch with a post titled "Google's Nexus One: Go Home Folks, Nothing to See Here" that was based on leaked info that proved nearly completely accurate later, some comments questioned the title, the body text and my journalistic skills. Admittedly there were also some comments in agreement...and some indifferent ones too. Maybe Fast Company's readers are just a little more level-headed?

However the Android Army marches on into the future, seeing how the battle is waged with Apple is going to make for some very hot-topic news indeed.

[Via The New York Times]