14
Dec
android-logo

First off, this is all in good fun. Any intelligent person could draw the conclusions this author did based on what was happening at the time, and with the limited information available about Google's plans for Android. We're posting this because it's funny to look back on it with some hindsight.

Back in 2009, Android's fate was anything but decided in the eyes of the tech journalism world, and many took a dismal view of Google's purchase of the young upstart open-source mobile operating system. What could Google, a website, possibly do with a mobile phone OS? This 2009 PCMag article, titled "Has Android Already Failed?" has some real gems, including speculation that Android is doomed, and, in what is news to us, headed to netbooks:

Android's proponents, including Google CEO Eric Schmidt, now seem to be turning their attention to netbooks. Android on netbooks will be a giant stink bomb, because the OS combines the unfamiliarity of Linux with a total lack of desktop-class productivity applications.

Of course, everyone knew at the time that Android was a mobile OS, but this article seems to think that Google had done a pretty terrible job selling that OS to hardware makers:

Google's cheerleading for its own OS has been on again, off again at best: It's nothing compared with the relentless drumbeats of marketing that come from Palm, RIM, Apple, and Microsoft.

There's a lot of delicious irony in that statement, particularly considering the state of Palm, RIM, and Microsoft - two of which essentially killed their mobile OSs (WebOS was sold and Windows Mobile 6.5 got the axe) because they were pretty much unsellable to consumers. RIM, of course, isn't exactly doing well. It goes on to say:

For Google's hardware partners, Android plays second or third fiddle. HTC does most of its business with Windows Mobile. LG just made a major commitment to Microsoft as well. Samsung is willing to try everything and see what works, which means it loathes having to play favorites. And you just heard about Sony Ericsson and Motorola.

Considering Android now has a big place at every one of those companies, that's a particularly funny one. Finally, the author contends that unless Google makes a big showing at CTIA Fall 2009 with piles of handsets, it's over for Android:

The CTIA Fall trade show in October needs to include a full-bore assault of Android models from multiple manufacturers, in multiple form factors. If that doesn't happen, we'll just have to toss Android into the big pile of Linux distributions that tried to breach the consumer market and failed.

As we all know now, it was really just one handset that saved Google's mobile OS, the original DROID by Motorola - and to some extent, the Hero by HTC. Considering where we're standing now, on the eve of the Galaxy Nexus' supposed release date, it's a little surreal to think that just over two years ago people were speculating that Android would never amount to anything but a bad investment.

Thanks, Deon!

David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Zc456

    This is why I'm gonna give WebOS the benefit of the doubt.

    • David Ruddock

      Good point, who knows what Meg Whitman could do at HP.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Android had the support of hyper-motivated developers and a technically adept company. WebOS doesn't have either, and while it's now OSS, it doesn't mean jack for its future success. It's so far behind Android and iOS, it's going to take massive, inhuman effort to catch up.

      • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

        P.S. Fuck you in advance to future David lookalike quoting this comment in 2 years, celebrating WebOS' victory over Android.

        • Drewskee

          LOL...I'll be looking for it.

  • http://www.twitter.com/standateeze Aash

    You guys should have an option for liking comments and shit.

    • David Ruddock

      We've been working to get Disqus running on AP for quite some time (read: like a year), but there's still some major bugs that Disqus needs to fix before we can implement it. We know, this system kinda sucks in comparison.

      • edd

        Lol my exact comment - I wanted to like Artem's post :)

      • drksilenc

        eww i dislike disqus because my office blocks it....

        • Dandmcd

          Same here, can't view Disqus comments at work either!

      • Gekko

        i wish i lived in Malibu. is it all it's cracked up to be?

  • ecko

    is there a link to this article? who was the author?

  • Graz

    I've been using my Galaxy Nexus for almost a month now so it's already been released. It's really good too.
    I wholeheartedly recommend US citizens buy one when it finally gets launched in their territory.

    (Couldn't resist-*parp*)

  • JayMonster

    Ah... Sasha Segan, that explains it. Part of the "new guard" that helped drive PC Mag right out of the print magazine world and into a has-been, afterthought of a website.

  • Bolski

    That was good for a laugh. I wonder if the author still has a job?

  • http://www.pcmag.com Sascha Segan

    Thanks for calling this out. At the time I was making the best conclusion I could based on the evidence available. Let's think about this: April 2009. There was one Android phone on the market, the G1. The second one had been announced, but not for the US, and it wasn't that impressive anyway. Google was in fact talking about netbooks at the time. The Hero and the Droid were both months away. The Palm Pre had been demoed, hadn't yet been flubbed by Sprint and was getting great press.

    Obviously, I got this wrong. That's the peril of any prognostication, and it's part of why I prefer to be a reviewer rather than a previewer. One of the great things about technology is that things change fast. There's always another exciting surprise around the corner!

    • cosmic

      "First off, this is all in good fun. Any intelligent person could draw the conclusions this author did based on what was happening at the time, and with the limited information available about Google's plans for Android. We're posting this because it's funny to look back on it with some hindsight."

    • Peter van der Schans

      I don't think any justification is necessary. Things could easily have gone the other way for Android. The reason is survived and eventually flourished is because google put a huge amount of resources into it and constantly made improvements. The original phones were definitely lacking. I'm not sure how google eventually got the manufacturers to buy in, but the software itself has always been promising, so the real push Android needed was good hardware. Perhaps what google decided to do with the nexus one was the catalyst, even with poor sales.

    • Xenon

      Do you have any new prognostications? Because I'd like to do the opposite.

  • Michael

    That was a great laugh, thank you. I don't fault the writer at all because he did the best with the information that was available. The best part is the turn around that ensued a few short months later with the release of the G1 and the OG, that's really what made Sascha's predictions wrong, I think. The OG and G1 were so successful that they were able to do what most in the industry thought was impossible.

  • Kai

    I recall thinking exactly the same things as the original article way back then - although I was desperately holding onto my Nokia phones in the hope that they would become relevant again..
    Wrong on so many counts! And now I shudder at the mere thought of using OS other than Android, despite its flaws.

  • Andrew L.

    Huge props to Sascha Segan for having the cojones to come on here and admit he was wrong! =)

    • http://shwetank-shukla.blogspot.com/ sWiss

      i doubt his genuinity...i mean i think someone made that acc just fr laughs but ppl took him to be the real shit...i dun know fr sure ofcrse :-/

  • Ryan B

    I can't say I disagreed with the author at the time. I wasn't taking Android seriously until I got my hand on a Droid. I think the fact that it was on Big Red, with their advertising push, really helped to push it to a place where more consumers were aware of it, and it helped that it was on a network that didn't have the iphone.

  • Gekko

    It's very hard to predict the winners and losers - especially in the technology space. I don't mind when the "experts" make predictions - but they should always do it with humility.

  • Lazarus Dark

    Lol.
    I finally... er... side-graded from WinXP to Win7 this summer (okay, Win7 has a lot of good improvements, I'll admit. Still, I expect this to be my last Microsoft product ever, now that we have Tegra 3, I expect to see serious games come to Android, which is one of the main things holding me to Windows still).
    Anyway, so getting Win7, I went back to my CPU magazine issues back to 2009 to see what tricks and tips they had for Win7. But as I did, I noticed a lot of talk about how iPhone was going to rule the universe and was the greatest thing since sliced bread and how Android was stillborn and would never catch on just as linux has never caught on on the desktop. It was pretty hilarious stuff considering where we are now.

    Side note, I am still on my OG Droid (until I get a Galactus), my first smartphone and truthfully the first smartphone ever worth considering in my opinion. As far as I'm concerned the Droid was the first smartphone worth owning.

    • http://twitter.com/Sxeptomaniac Sxeptomaniac

      Still loving my OG Droid, too, though my installing of CyanogenMod 7 and other tinkering has resulted in a few "fights". I don't plan on getting rid of it, even when I eventually upgrade my phone. I plan to use it in other ways until the hardware gives out.

  • Deon

    Thanks for the mention, it was awesome to see my name credited in an official AndroidPolice article, I read AndroidPolice daily. It wasn't to make fun of PC Magazine or the author, I agree, at the time Android's future was uncertain so it was plausible to write such an article, and it's awesome how the author came and posted in the comments. It's just a hilarious read now, considering all that's been done. My first Android phone was a Nexus One but I agree, the G1 was only so-so, not bad but not crazy either, and even then HTC had some better Windows Mobile based offerings, had better hardware and such. T-Mobile really dropped the ball in advertising and it's push for Android, it was the original Droid phone and Verizon's relentless radio and television commercials and huge push in the stores that really catapulted Android into the main stream and I think it's why Google has shifted their loyalty to T-Mobile (allowing them to have Android first, like the G1, Nexus One, Nexus S) now to Verizon (Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus). Back in the day I never saw a T-Mobile Android commercial but we all know the 'Droid' sound and commercials. Anyways, it's amazing where Android was just 2.5 years ago and where it is today. I have high hopes for WebOS now that it's open source but I agree, it'd need an insane following and a lot of push from developers and company's, etc. if it had any hopes at all of catching up to Android. But I can still hope for it, after all, competition is good. If it weren't for Android, iPhone would be the only 'real' smartphone choice and that's not a world I'd want to be in. The only thing keeping Apple on their toes and continuously innovating and pushing to come out with better phones and keeping the price relatively down (I mean, it's still an Apple) is Android. If Android were suddenly gone tomorrow, Apple could release whatever they want, whenever they want, with whatever crappy specs they want, and charge whatever they want for it. Competition is good. Anyways, Android FTW! Look where they are 2.5 years later, imagine where they'll be 2.5 years from now.