I believe it is because of Android that there is no iPod touch competitor

[UPDATE: For some reason the original title of the post lost the last word, which made it non-sensical. I have corrected it.]

Where Are the iPod Touch Knockoffs?
[Via Daring Fireball]

Horace Dediu:

So the question is why is the iPad being cloned while the iPod has remained in the market by itself?

I’ve been asking for years. Still no such thing.


From what I understand, Goggle only licenses Android to devices that connect to cell phone networks and can access the Marketplace. Only 3G devices can access the Marketplace. A WiFI only device apparently can not.. As the only alternative to iOS right now for touch devices, the only things then that can be produced using Android are cellphones that mimic the iPhone and tablets that mimic the iPad with 3G.

There is no other OS available to them hat can drive a touch screen music player that only connects via WiFi. At least not one

Thus, there will be no tablet that mimics the iPad Wifi only not anything mimicking the iPod Touch, which is, after all mostly an iPhone without the cellular connection.

3 thoughts on “I believe it is because of Android that there is no iPod touch competitor

  1. There’s several problems I see with this theory:

    (1) Google licenses Android under the Apache license. Hardware manufacturers are perfectly free to make 3G-less devices. I asked some Google engineers straight up about this, and was told “it’s open-source so go build it yourself”.

    (2) Even if Google did require 3G, that doesn’t explain why Google requires 3G! Why would Google artificially limit manufacturers from making something that there’s obviously high demand for, and which would get more users to buy apps from their marketplace?

    (3) Even if Google could require 3G, and even if Google had a good reason for doing so, Android isn’t the only touchscreen music-playing OS out there. (The idea that a portable device’s software must be open-source almost didn’t exist before Android, and Android isn’t even the only open-source mobile device OS.) Where’s the Palm Pre Touch? Or the Blackberry OS 6 Touch? Or the Symbian^4 Touch? Or the “homemade Linux with a bunch of libraries we found on Sourceforge”-based device? If I was in the business of building an iPod Touch competitor, the OS would be by far the *easiest* piece to find.

  2. All very good points. I tried to find out where I had heard about the limitations of Android and failed to find anything really factual so I may be full of crap. Obviously my understanding is based on a foundation of sand.

    There was some scuttlebutt that said that the Android Marketplace was only accessible to devices that had 3G, not to WiFi only devices, something that the cell phone makers had pushed through. But nothing factual I could find. However every shipping product I could find that accessed the Marketplace had 3G. And every one without 3G did not access the Marketplace. That certainly seems odd.

    To be able to have a device to compete with the iPod touch – MP3 player, touch screen, apps – requires an ecosystem that can only be filled by Android or iOS, at least at the moment – I never count MS completely out but they are very late. You must have access to a very large netowrk of useful apps created by a large number of developers. Palm, Blackberry, etc. do not have the App juggernauts that Android or Apple have and are having a hard enough time making their smartphones relevant, much less a new device. How are they, or anyone else going to create a third marketplace just for their device? I would say that at this point, if a device does not permit access to either of those two behemoths, it will be dead in the water for gaining the critical mass of developers needed. Archos has tried and pretty much failed, at least compared to competing with the Marketplace or the Apps Store.

    So, why has no one created a WiFi only, touchscreen MP3 player that connects to the Android Marketplace? That would be the easiest route to a killer device.

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