With the large public debacle that was Steve Jobs' and Apple Inc.'s "Antennagate," a growing number of smart phones and connected devices on America's other wireless carriers and an ever-maturing mobile OS and app marketplace, Android is looking more attractive all the time. And while mobile banking apps and features seemingly pop up everyday on iOS, the same can't be said for Android.
While the public uptake of mobile banking might be slow to develop, it would seem that with a growing number of Americans choosing Android devices over iPhones, banks and providers would at least try to offer parallel services in the Android Marketplace. And the openness of app development and deployment on Google's mobile OS seem like a good opportunity to get on board.
But that's not necessarily the case. And that could be dangerous.
In this Internet age of connected devices and social media, where public outreach and brand loyalty come from perceived accessibility through Facebook and Twitter, I find the notion of 'define yourself lest others define you first' to be increasingly important. The same could be said for mobile apps.
It would appear, however, that some of America's larger banks don't feel the same way. Meanwhile a number of third-party Android apps exist promising access to mobile banking with any number of banks. And to the average consumer, those anonymous apps might appear to be a good enough substitute in lieu of an official app from their absentee bank of choice.
People trust far too much that services in the social space or that can be downloaded to their phone are inherently safe. But the truth is not always so clear. Just this year a developer operating under the name "Droid09" developed a number of apps that promised access to online banking services in a relatively sophisticated phishing scheme. While Android's webkit browser offers access to online banking, sometimes customers simply want that perceived direct connection with their bank via app. And if it looks like the real thing, and it's available in an app store, they'll download it.
With the new release of the Motorola Droid X on Verizon Wireless, the HTC Evo 4G on Sprint, T-Mobile's MyTouch line and the Samsung Galaxy S family of phones looming on the near horizon for several carriers, customers who don't want an iPhone or AT&T's service are getting more and more exposure to Android. While iPhone still has the buzz factor, and has reached a purported 100 million devices using some form of iOS, it makes sense to lead a mobile app strategy with Apple's App Store. But as Android fills in the blanks and continues to offer competitive functionality and devices, it might not be a bad idea to acknowledge its ever-growing audience.