With a rivalry that closely resembles the fierce and brutal nature of Muhammad Ali’s legendary tussles with Joe Frazier or the bitter, ego-fuelled mutual loathing of warring Hollywood starlets, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, the eternal battle between Apple and Google rages on. Teasing tech-lovers with small glimpses and snippets of its latest operating system, the KitKat, ever since Apple was on the cusp of releasing their own divisive system update, iOS7, a few months back, Google have cut through the mounds of rumours and unveiled a concrete version of their new tool, which is available in the LG built and freshly-released Nexus 5.
Continuing the tradition of christening their numerous system iterations after popular foodstuffs (clearly a certain fruit never rocks far from the tree), the KitKat sees Apple’s biggest revenue rival establish a partnership with confectionery juggernauts, Nestlé, in an effort to boost profit and overthrow iOS dominance. Importantly, this union does not feature a transferral of money between the two companies but is more akin to a quid pro quo agreement with Google promoting one of Nestlé’s most-loved chocolate bars to its customers and in the region of 50 million Kit Kat’s being sold in special Android-emblazoned wrappers. A mouth-watering deal for both, with Nestlé imparting their substantial marketing knowledge in exchange for an augmentation of its own profit margins through new and exciting technologies. As part of a whirlwind marketing campaign, Google and Nestlé produced this advert, a witty and intelligent trailer that waxes lyrical on its own design features and simultaneously takes a ferocious and condescending bite out of an iconic Apple slogan.
Whilst many iPhone users are still wallowing in regret after updating their devices with Apple’s much-maligned system improvement, technology critics have been busy expounding the merits of its Google counterpart. The Kit Kat’s ability to run on smart phones that were released far from recent memory removes any trace of exclusivity and drives the accessibility of the iteration, and when coupled with a cleaner-looking screen that doesn’t look like it was designed by ‘a 13-year-old girl (see the previous iOS link) and significant advances in its lauded Google Now application, it has definitely cemented its popularity with those in the know. Although the Kit Kat is unlikely to infect your Twitter feed or Facebook wall for weeks on end a la the launch of iOS7, its critical seal of approval and the notion that existing Google software runs on 80 percent of the world’s smartphones, should be ringing alarm bells at Apple HQ.
App Annie’s third quarterly market analysis for 2013 revealed that Google Play downloads were leading iOS by a healthy margin of 25% due to the rise of smartphone users in South American countries like Argentina, the formulation of a middle class in hugely-populated Brazil and the contribution of the emerging BRIC countries to the mobile phone market. Google still trail their counterparts substantially in terms of revenue generation but it seems that with heavy critical acclaim, solid user approval of its services and systems and the support of a universally-consumed food brand, it’s only a matter of time before Apple’s financial hegemony comes under serious threat from its youthful competitor. Seconds out! Round three.