In one corner, we have Apple creating a proprietary docking connector for their:
They let 3rd party manufacturers (like stereo systems, and other add-ons) get access to how this connector works. You drop your IPOD into the stereo system and use the 3rd party remote to flip through songs. Apple doesn't have to worry about designing amplifiers and other audiophile equipment.
And in the Android world, you have a micro B USB socket placed somewhere on the handheld. Different for each handheld and different manufacturers. As I posted a few months ago even the micro B cable needed to be slimmer/customized for the Samsung Galaxy S phone.
Surely if USB.org can exist to standardize the USB connectors, then the Android folks can get together and standardize a connector and docking system like Apple does. The advantages of dropping your phone into your basic dock/charger/amplifier are huge! And not having to design an amplifier that ONLY works with your phone is even better.
Great post Brian. I would like Android hardware manufacturers take it one step further and locate the port in the same location across all devices. This would be huge for the 3rd party accessory market where they would be able to design products with a predictable docking points. Right now the connector could not only be on the top, bottom and side edges of the device, but also location in various locations on those edges whereas the Apple products in the same location every time; middle of the bottom edge.
The road to the impossible has only to be traveled
Granted that the Apple USB sync cable can be used across all the iApple products, but I've updated my hardware twice (iPod -> phone -> phone) and each time I've had to buy a new FM transmitter for the car because the old accessory is not compatible with the new hardware. I'm sure that this is keeping Apple's HDK partners happy...