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Three Things Apple Can Learn From Google's Froyo

May 22, 2010

I don't like the Android. The experience and the interface are inconsistent, its App Store is a mess and the apps are subpar. Nevertheless, Google presented this week at its I/O conference some very neat ideas, and they deserve to get some credit for it. Indeed, by leveraging their experience with the cloud, they came up with a few features for the Android that should become standards, even on our iDevices. Let's have a look at three great ideas Google came up with for the Android that Apple could learn from.


Apple introduced a while ago the ability for apps to receive Push Notifications. Mainly aimed at palliating the lack of multitasking, it allowed for some great apps to get developed. Google is however taking this one step further now, by allowing push notifications (called intents) to launch apps and send them data. At the keynote for example, the presenter looked up an itinerary on Google maps on his desktop and could send it over to his phone with one click. The device reacted by automatically launching the built-in navigation app with the sent itinerary pre-loaded. This also works with webpages, which can be sent over to your phone so you can continue reading them from there. That is a very powerful and convenient feature and it probably wouldn't take much to add it to the iPhone.

App Store & iTunes Push

Syncing over your apps and songs from iTunes to your iPhone/iPad is a pain. Google's answer to this is to allow users to buy apps on their computer, and as they hit the buy button, have the app pushed and installed automatically on their device. No need for sync. Furthermore, users will be able to access their iTunes library on-the-go and over-the-air. Something Google achieved by buying off Simplify Media. The former would be amazing on the App Store. It's indeed so much more convenient to buy Apps in iTunes. Also, having these appear right away on your iDevice would be just "magical". As for the latter, it's probably on its way already thanks to Apple's Lala acquisition.

Wi-Fi Hotspot

If your carrier allows it, you can already tether your iPhone's data connection via Bluetooth or USB. It's very convenient, but turning your phone into a Wi-Fi Hotspot is even better. No surprise MyWi is doing so well. Anyway, Google is introducing it as a standard feature, and Apple should do so as well. Alright, so this was my take away from Google's latest keynote. If you don't mind their duchy new speaker, you can actually check it out yourself over here (Youtube). In my opinion, what Google introduced for the Android is nothing groundbreaking and definitely not "a slap in Apple's face". Nevertheless, the future is in the cloud and some of their ideas about that are particularly clever. Furthermore, these don't contradict Apple's vision of mobile computing, its user experience, or its OS' consistency. So implementing them as well would be a great move for Apple.

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