I have noticed people winging over the past few months about why the Skype for iPhone is making strides in terms of what it is offering, such as video calls etc, while the Android version seems to remain stagnant and slow with it’s releases.
People are screaming out that it’s phones are just as capable, if not more capable than it’s Apple counterpart in hardware to support video calls. Well droid-fans, got news for you. It’s got nothing to do with hardware or software, and not even the fact that the iOS market is more lucrative, after all Skype for Linux is just as capable as it is on any other platform.
If you can cast your memory back to early 2010, when Skype for android first came out. It was exclusive on a specific carrier in the U.S, so if you happen to have a droid phone and on that carrier, you can play with Skype. It eventually got rolled out to other android phones, but the point is, Skype and Verizon partnered up for an exclusivity for a period of time to bump sales of their HTC phones.
It seems this will be the case once again, when HTC announce that on their new HTC Incredible phone, it will be the first one to have Skype video ‘built-in’. Now, if you can’t see the trend that is evolving, out of this wonderful and ‘free’ and organic growth of the open-source Android, you might have to keep looking for more signs out there. But to spell it out, whilst I applaud Google for their Android os in theory, and I know they are getting something back for it, harvest of people’s data, it is only as free as the carriers and phone manufacturers let them be, and you can trust phone carriers and phone manufacturers as much as you can trust a ‘used car salesman’.
The first round, the HTCs and Motorolas’ stick their own bloatware and sluggish UI stuff on top of the free O.S, so that it gives them the power to stop Google releasing their updates directly to the phone. This gives them the right to limit updates to force people to buy new phones. Then, the phone carriers decide (either cooperatively with the OEMs or solo) to add their bloatware on top of the HTC or Motorola phone’s bloatware, to further ensure that customer’s aren’t lazy with upgrading their phones (rather than just the operating system).
This ecosystem now cascades down to Skype and other apps, where they can sign exclusivity deals with certain phones and carriers.
This is the type of thing Apple would not stand for, and for all the people who do not trust Apple, fair enough, but think about this. Do you trust your phone carrier and other manufacturers more than Apple? I am all for an open platform but for the time being, until we get to a stage where Google can update phones without the permission of HTC or AT&T, I would rather the closed yet trustworthy system of Apple.