This week's iPhone killer seems different from the rest. It has Verizon, Motorola and Google in its corner and is packing a serious killer app. Wednesday's unveiling of the Droid revealed a huge screen, physical qwerty keyboard, five megapixel video camera and user changeable battery packed into a phone that is almost the same size and one ounce heavier than the iPhone. Gizmodo did a complete hands on of the first Android 2.0 phone and declared it a terminator. The NY Times' Gadgetwise added the unsurprising but undeniable truth - Google's Android system powers phones that have extremely valuable search functions.
No one can challenge the iPhone based on search and flashy hardware alone. The iPhone app ecosystem has so far kept all challengers at bay. This is probably why Google picked Wednesday to announce a richly featured turn by turn navigation app, free. The system leverages Google Map's satellite and street views along with Google search which can guide you to a destination even if you don't know the street address. Traffic data is pumped in as well. The blog IntoMobile published a video of a Google product manager doing a full demo. Google was able to create a nav system with features that will be extremely difficult to match. On Wall Street the stock prices of TomTom and Garmin plummeted.
Google was unclear about plans to share its new advantage with the iPhone. TechCrunch suggested that they make Apple beg for it given Apple's (or perhaps AT&T's) decision to block Google Voice apps last July. Several bloggers pointed out that Google was also flexing its muscles against the carriers in a now full blown effort to achieve dominance in smart phones and mobile computing.