I should have known better
With the risk of sounding like a broken record with my Android experiences I just can’t let this one piece of news slide.
Early August, when the launch of Android version 2.2 was imminent, HTC Desire users of Vodafone UK (as many others) were eager to get the update. When it eventually arrived, disappointment ensued.
It turned out that the update was not the awaited 2.2 but a new 2.1 with lots of Vodafone 360 apps and graphics. Apps and graphics that were non-removable to the user. This created enough stir in the community that Vodafone took action (planned or non-planned?) and ensured all users that a 2.2 update would override the 2.1 update and be based on the common Android version.
Read all about it here: http://www.telecoms.com/22013/vodafone-backs-down-on-custom-android-update/
Needless to say, the initiative went off the mark but I still believe that Vodafone are on to something in taking the Android track with their 360 initiative.
With Android, operators with the scale and ambition of Vodafone may have their “final” shot at designing and “owning” the customization, UI and applications. The Open Source nature of Android, the possibility to add UI layers and create applications pose a clear opportunity for anyone wanting to add the little extra.
So, what do I think they should have done? Well, offer the applications, UI layers, widgets etc. in the android market (yes, I know they’re offering some, but..). Their basic strategy evidently implies a belief in being able to add value to the customer experience. If so, then why not compete with all other apps in the market. Why not go for a wider audience than the Vodafone user base?
In the new world of app stores freedom of choice prevails, and if Vodafone wants to play a role in the applications and software arena they will have to compete with the best of breed to really win their customers’ hearts.