HTC Dream is the Amiga for Android


I see the HTC Dream being the Amiga of mobile phones.

I say this as the G1 is really geared as a platform for programmers to hack away on and to create applications for future generations of Android phones.

I remember when I encountered the Amiga in the late 1980s it blew me away as the graphics and sound were much better than my 8088 PC with its 4 color CGA graphics and mini internal speaker.

Amiga was popular with early gamers, programmers, and computer graphic designers as it was ahead of everyone else with its graphics, kernel, and tremendous multitasking capabilities – like Android in the current mobile market.

Then what doomed Amiga is what made Apple lose ground in the computer market, starting when IBM allowed its operating system to be created by a third party and then available to any computer company.

This open innovation is what differentiates Android from Amiga along with having Google’s bankroll — which Commodore did not come close to having.

That’s why the G1 is really the Geek Phone for programmers to use as a breadboard to openly innovate for future generations of Android phones to become the mobile supercomputer phones for businesses and consumers in general.

Then the end result for Apple’s iPhone will be the same as it encountered with the PC just as Germany expected a different result from the first World War in the second.

Apple is doing it differently and with much better initial gains but by keeping its application closed, like Germany fighting on multiple fronts, will lose again to a more open platform.

Then Android will truly become your Amiga or Amigo if you prefer.

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  1. I’m an old Amigan and I was just thinking this very thought today! This is the promise that people believed in with the Amiga and what the community is still working toward (some small pockets). With the backing of the 34 member OHA, maybe we can get beyond the dream and make this a very lively and vibrant reality!!

  2. Yes, the developers will make the difference, but T-mobile is not standing alone putting out a device & operating system the way Commodore did. They’ve got Google and HTC of course, and the whole alliance. And a whole lot more people can see the vision than could back then. (remember — there was no color pc before amiga). So both hardware and software are being collectively driven by the alliance and the developers notions. The G1 is like the A1000 machine, Android is like the lean Amiga operating system and those sweet apps are those first crazy Amiga games and programs. anyone?

  3. Wait, who’s IBM in your Android scenario? Is it T-Mobile? If so, then I think your analogy fails since T-Mobile is in no way the IBM of cell phone carriers. Is it HTC? No that doesn’t make sense either. I get that Google/Android is Microsoft but who is IBM?

    IBM ceded control of the PC industry to Microsoft which made a closed-source, proprietary OS for IBM PCs and later clones. The clones created a huge market that Microsoft exploited by forcing bundling of their OS.

    I’m afraid I don’t really see the parallels here. I’m not saying that Google & Android’s open source approach won’t be successful but I don’t get the IBM PC reference. A little more analysis might be necessary.

  4. For clarification IBM in this scenario is analogous to Google whereby allowing a third party to expand upon its product.

    For IBM the third party expansion for its product – the PC – is the OS – DOS/WIN – to be made available on all PCs.

    For Google the third party expansion for its product – a mobile software stack including an OS – are the applications – ie Funambol for resolving syncing – to be made available on all Android phones.

    So properly, Microsoft in this case are the collective of outside developers such as Funambol and the Jeffrey Sharkeys/Mark Murphys creating apps….unless they unify into one company and truly become another Microsoft.

    You could argue that the iPhone allows this as well, but is on such a tight restrictive leash for outside developers, that I dont feel it holds water.

  5. Still confused. IBM quickly lost out to the clone manufacturers because it ceded control of the market that it created to Microsoft. IBM didn’t make software (not really.) They were the hardware manufacturer that could create a command economy because of their reputation with the business community at the time. But instead of leveraging that economy themselves they gave it away to Microsoft. Unless Google/Android is Microsoft, that is not a good place to be.

    I don’t think you will ever see again a market like the one that IBM/Microsoft created. It was a unique circumstance where the powerful entity, IBM, gave up its power by mistake to the small newcomer, Microsoft. If IBM had it to do over, they would never make that same mistake again.

    Again, Google might be on the right track, I don’t know. But the IBM PC/Microsoft analogy just doesn’t fit very well. Linux is completely open for both the OS and applications yet it hasn’t made much headway in the desktop world. It isn’t just Microsoft’s monopoly holding it back since Apple has made modest gains against that same monopoly with a much more closed desktop system. It isn’t enough just to be open. There must be a compelling reason for consumers to buy Android over the competitors (iPhone, Symbian and Windows Mobile.)

  6. @James,

    You raise an intelligent debate so let me respond to your counterpoint on the Google/Android & IBM/OS comparison – as I never included Microsoft in the equation since I believe this is where Google is taking a different course when giving away the “keys” to everyone not just one particular company.

    Google is ceding control to third partys by letting them creating apps to resolve issues – as is the popular refrain of Google to Android’s current issues – ie desktop & email syncing

    Google’s reputation in Search is leant to the mobile market for Android, as Google is not in the business to be a mobile operator or handset maker.

    Google is “giving away” the money of these apps to the developers to compel greater creation so more people go online with their phones on ANY mobile platform and make their money on the backend with the increased searches online which Google would sell advertising for.

    Difference between Google and IBM is that Google is giving up this “power” purposely to create the compelling reason for consumers to go to Android.

    The compelling reason(s) are the plethora of creative and freely accessible applications for whatever the open market is asking for.

  7. I agree with pretty much everything you just said. I just disagree that there is much of a precedent for it.

    I don’t think trying to find a parallel with the IBM PC era is really compelling. Google is using its reputation as the leader in search to attempt to create a new market just as IBM used its reputation to create the IBM PC market. But that is about as far as the parallel really works in my opinion. And that is a good thing for Google/Android because IBM’s approach didn’t turn out that well for IBM shareholders.

  8. The main point I was trying to get across is that the Dream itself is like the Amiga where its an innovative workbench basically for programmers to create and use Android to mold the mobile device that leapfrogs the iPhone.

    The IBM reference wasnt the main point but used as a segway into the iPhone Android comparison with it being similar to the previous Apple battle in the 1980s/90s.

    As the Mac with its perhaps better but closed OS was overcome by the PC w a clunky somewhat closed OS with the tipping point being that it was made available to the majority of systems and developers.

    The only parallel with IBM and Google I am using for this arguement is that at one point both companies were the considered leader of the tech world, enabled a product that wasnt their direct forte, and came into direct competition with Apple.

    You are correct that they do indeed differ as IBM ended up the loser in that game – never mind when they tried their own OS DB2 which used some Amiga code but killed the developer incentive needed by CHARGING to access its SDK – but Google is hedging their bets so if Android doesnt take off they would still profit by just Android’s emergence has accelerated development for increased mobile web access – so it will in the end gain by the increased searches and the advertising they would sell with it.


    I have been a sidekick user since first generation sidekick. It is a multi-task all in one device with notification. The phone is a linux based phone as well. Why do I mention this? Seems so much hype goes into the android development… I cannot help but think this is an ex danger employee making his way into the google money cart… Alot of people who do not use a sidekick everyday prolly would see the similiar design… HOWEVER lets just look at HOW similiar. Besides the obvious EXACT keyboard layout… I mean a row with number keys.. shift keys in same spot the same @ symbol next to the space bar.. Almost like a design way to show MICROSOFT they arent playing games and dangers way of saying we still live on. I have noticed on the site ANYTHING you could wish or “dream” for on a sidekick, well here it is! touchscreen, integrated video, open platform, multitask tabbed browsing… When I see this phone I see 100% that android development came from influence of a danger associate or more. I think Tmobile made a kids device out of sidekick.. I think this android os is the more developed and thought out platform of danger. I also think google recourses and money and ability to be the back end server with an open alliance, was to keep the original linux platform alive, sidekicks plan is innovative and one of a kind. The G1 will be much better then an iphone. background apps that are “always on” is nothing new to linux based mobile devices, and no brand has come close, apple will only ever come half way with mobile me notification service… However as for android, welcome to the ikick!!! look out microsoft!!!

  10. @Steve: sorry, but would be I mentioning the obvious that everyone here knows by pointing out that Andy Rubin IS the man behind the Sidekick?

    I see a lot of references (not just here) noting the similarities between Android G1 and Sidekick… I remember reading stuff about Andy Rubin and how the Google Guys hired Andy because they were big fans of the Sidekick and basically wanted to do a Sidekick their own way.

    Once again, apologies if I’m just stating the obvious.

    Cheers, good discussion.

  11. @John

    I know I went analogy heavy in this article and I debated within myself to include the WWII reference, but I did not include any mention of the German government of the period as that would be an offensive and unwarranted stretch of comparison for Apple.

    I simply inserted it to show that Apple is fighting a similar war with Android as it had with the PC and basically using the same mentality but expecting a different end result – especially when an open system will create multiple threats similar to fighting on multiple fronts.

    I could have also used the 2nd Napoleonic war but that is a more obscure reference and Apple facing its Waterloo moment may be many years out.

  12. what doomed commodor was a structure fire that killed all of senior management….otherwise i bet they would have done well

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