Samsung’s Vibrant phone that launched last week on T-Mobile is a
good example. The device includes apps such as Mobi TV, GoGo
Flight internet and Electronic Arts’ The Sims 3 game. Both Mobi
TV and GoGo are applications that require users to pay a fee
beyond the trial period. Motorola’s Backflip phone, introduced
on AT&T a few months ago, includes Where, a location-based service
app, and YPMobile, a Yellow Pages app. Even the HTC Evo is packed
with programs such as Sprint’s Nascar app, Sprint Football and
Sprint TV, among others.
It seems more clear now why Google made the Nexus One: it’s hard to get a phone with the default Android OS. It also seems clear that Android’s openness is largely about being open to the carriers’ ability to customize the user experience. The difference between Android and iOS isn’t that Android comes with undeletable default apps and iOS doesn’t. Lots of iPhone users wish they could get rid of apps like Stocks and Weather. The difference is who gets to decide on those default apps. With iOS, it’s Apple. With the Nexus One, it was Google. With these new Android phones, it’s the carriers.