Smartphone Wars

The Times reported over the weekend on Android's growing success as the OS of choice for handset manufacturers. When it was first unveiled, the Google software was only running on a few devices, and only on T-Mobile's networks.  Now, it's stealing major market share from Windows Mobile.  Motorola is dropping the Microsoft OS entirely, and others are following suit.  Why? Well, Android is free, it's open-source, and it's cool.  And Windows Mobile is none of these things.  In fact, it's so uncool, even people who use it have never heard of it.

The signature Android device, expected this fall, is called Droid, and is the result of a team-up of Google, Motorola, and Verizon (and will be unveiled tomorrow morning...). But the Droid's big rival isn't anything running Windows Mobile.  Rather, Droid is reputed to be the first legit challenge to the iPhone. And this ad (that is exciting for some people and creepy for the rest of us) looks like a massive cannon pointed at Apple's head:

You'd think this would be an indication that talks to bring the iPhone onto the Verizon network had, to say the least, gone south.  But nay, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg assured everyone earlier this week that Verizon is still very much interested in the iPhone-- it's Apple's call, he says.  If Apple jumped ship from its exclusive deal with AT&T, it would certainly be bad news for that carrier, which has seen their profits powered largely by the iPhone's success. But it's hard to know exactly what's holding Apple back, aside from a feeling of offense at that ad.

In other Android news, defense contractor Raytheon has developed an Android-based application (the power of open source!) that allows soldiers to track fellow soldiers and unmanned drones-- yes, drones-- in real time.  Providing, that is, that the drones are on their buddy list.