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Tobotron's avatar

IPhone or Android?

Asked by Tobotron (1313 points ) September 30th, 2010

so I’m getting a new phone only there’s now a contender on the scene, had a go on both recently. What should I go for?

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27 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Depends on what service you have and what plan you want and which apps you will be using and what other hardware/software you may have to interface with.

As you know, Android is open source software, so it will develop a larger set of apps than iPhone will. Also the app developer corp may be more responsive. iPhone has been in the market a while, and has more gizmos, but surely Android manufacturers will catch up to that soon.

I enjoy my MyTouch. It does a whole lot of things that I used to have to carry all kinds of kit around to do. It works well with my Google account—email and calendar and contact list. It makes my life a lot easier. I wish my wife would let the rest of the family get one.

erichw1504's avatar

This may not help, but it looks like Android is gaining momentum in the mobile market. So, maybe more developers will turn to it.

Blackberry's avatar

Well, the droid 2 and droid x are the only phones with flash player now…...which means I have to switch to verizon…

Katexyz's avatar

@Blackberry
That’s not true. My Incredible has flash, and I’m pretty sure all new android phones will, plus any phone here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplatform/supported_devices/smartphones.html

Gamrz360's avatar

Android all the way.

wgallios's avatar

Android…and the EVO has a big screen… Size matters

Blackberry's avatar

@katexyz Whoa! Freaking…awesome.

wundayatta's avatar

T-Mobile does Android phones, too. You don’t have to go with Verizon. What’s the big deal about flash?

jerv's avatar

First off, if you decide on an iPhone, wait until they either come to Verizon or until AT&T finishes upgrading their spotty, unreliable network. Also, I should point out that, at least for the moment, Verizon’s data plan is unlimited whereas new AT&T contracts (as opposed to those grandfathered in) have a tiered monthly charge and a definite cap. Those two reasons alone are enough to make some people go Android. I don’t know much about other carriers as I pretty much only considered those two when I went for a phone. Android is available from pretty much any carrier, so again, you have mroe choices that you would with an iPhone.

As a piece of portable electronic gear, the two platforms are pretty evenly matched, though I like the ability to view any web page; the iPhone won’t do Flash, so many sites (including many Facebook games, at least the ones I play) I go to are unviewable on an iPhone/iPod Touch.

Contrary to many fanboi’s beliefs, the apps are fairly comparable. While the Android Market is smaller, that is in part because there are only a dozen different versions of Solitaire as opposed to eighty-seven; there is less repetition and cloning. The quality of the apps is also about equal; I saw some horrid, buggy apps when I was loading up my iPod Touch. Also bear in mind that Android is growing fast, and may actually have a bigger apps market than Apple pretty soon. Oh, and that doesn’t count apps available from other sources. Personally, I get all of my apps from the Android Market as those are free of malware and tested at least as vigorously as anything from iTunes, but at least Android offers the option of getting apps elsewhere.

The interface is pretty similar, though I prefer the Android’s ability to organize your icons with spaces in between them. ( I also disable the “Auto-arrange Icons” on my Windows desktop for the same reason.) I’ve found things to be a little more intuitive on my Droid X than on my iPod Touch (Of course, my intuition is a little different from many people’s, if for no reason other than the fact that I have been using computers for almost three decades, so take that with a grain of salt) and my Droid gave me something that Apple decided not to; a first-boot tutorial.

However, Android isn’t quite as n00b-friendly as the iPhone since it offers options that Apple omitted for the sake of simplicity. For instance, I can delete an icon from my screen but still have access to the app by pressing a button and selecting it from a scroll-list, which helps reduce clutter, whereas iOS simple deletes the app.

I compare the difference between the two operating systems to the difference between a car, which allows freedom but can hit a tree, and a train, which steers itself but is limited in what you can do. The iPhone is simpler for those that are of limited computer skills, whereas Android treats the phone as a handheld computer, complete with Task Manager and File Manager (both of which are available in different varieties as third-party apps).

As a phone, the iPhone is inferior. I’ve heard that the newest revision of the iPhone 4 is better, but I’m still skeptical for the moment. From everything I’ve seen the iPhone only really works when it’s close to a tower and loses signal pretty easily. This isn’t as big an issue abroad where they have a better cell network in place, but in the US it is pretty common to drop calls on an iPhone (I’ve heard an AT&T tech say that 75% of AT&T’s dropped calls are from iPhones; not good when you consider that that is less than 30% of their customers). I don’t know how much of that is the phone and how much of that is AT&T though, but I suspect that between Apple’s latest revisions and the impending end of the AT&T exclusivity deal, this may not be an issue for much longer. Then again, my friends who have AT&T phones other than an iPhone have similar issues, and I can often pull 2–3 bars when they lose service.

However, Apple does have an edge in design quality. You can bash Apple all you want (and historically, I have) but they do make fine hardware. The “Retina” display is awesome, and only a complete moron would refute that Apple makes sexy-looking, well-built machines, portable electronics included. I’ve seen some shaky-looking Android phones that were rather flimsy, ugly, or just plain ghetto, but if anybody at Apple tried that, Steve Jobs would put their head on a pike and feast on their entrails. And their customer support is pretty damn good as well.

I think that the only way you can really make a decision is to actually take both for a test-drive and see which you like better. Go to the Apple Store and mess with an iPhone (or an iPod Touch; unless you want to make calls, the two are functionally identical, at least as long as the iPod has a wifi connection) and then head to Verizon and bang on a Droid X or Droid 2 for a bit. Try all sorts of stuff that you would normally do and get a hands-on feel for the differences between the two.

Personally, I prefer Android as it is far more flexible. You can get a Droid 2 with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, or a big 4.3” screen, or… well, there are many options whereas there is only one iPhone and if there is a feature you want that it doesn’t have then tough. However, it is more like a computer than a toy, by which I mean that the flexibility I love can lead to “option shock” whereas Apple has perfected the art of idiot-proofing the iPhone to the point where even a small child could use it. It really depends on whether you can handle riding a mountain bike as opposed to a sidewalk cruiser with training wheels. Since your preferences may differ significantly from mine, I am not in a position to say which is better for you, but I hope I have given you enough information to make your own decision. A large part of it really does depend on personal preference.

@Blackberry Any Android phone running Froyo (Android v2.2) has Flash. That includes my buddy’s original Droid as well as any Android phone released recently. .

@wgallios I’ll stick with my Droid X, thank you! I get better battery life too :P

deni's avatar

Droid. I think this question is funny because it is so obvious to me. I have the droid and my boyfriend has the iphone. I use the same functions on both phones and his takes about triple the time for everything. Its harder to use…the screen is fuzzier…there IS NO KEYBOARD…who wants a phone without a keyboard? I don’t, personally. Thats a big thing for me. And I get waaaaaaaaaaaaaayayayy better service.

Blackberry's avatar

@wundayatta Flash player lets you see websites that use flash. For example if you needed to go on a website with flash, it would just be blank, and a lot of websites use flash now so you have access to more websites.

I liked the droid because it has the slide out keyboard, I have to check again, but t mobile only had the G1 and that is so old it can’t get the froyo update.

jerv's avatar

@deni @Blackberry Not all of us need a QWERTY keyboard. I do just fine on my touchscreen… and better than I did on my iPod since I have large fingers and the iPhone/iPod has a screen that is appreciably smaller than 4.3”.

wundayatta's avatar

I got my MyTouch about a month before the MyTouch slide was due to come out. They asked me if I wanted to wait, but I didn’t want to. I really can’t imagine typing with my thumbs (or any of my digits) on a tiny keyboard like that. I use the swype system, and I have to wonder how my speed using swype compares to someone thumb typing.

Blackberry's avatar

Ok I just looked and the G2 is coming out in Oct, although I’m not gonna pay 1 million dollars for it so I have to wait longer lol.

@wundayatta I don’t really know why I like typing with my thumbs, but I started so I’m already used to it lol. What’s the swype system?

jerv's avatar

@Blackberry Basically, you put your finger on the first letter of the word and just slide around to the other letters. When you get to the end of the word, lift your finger and it recognizes what you were trying to type.
It also has auto-capitalization (handy for “I” and the first word of a sentence) and auto-apostrophe (so “ive” becomes “I’ve”). Pretty slick once you get used to it. In the unlikely even it gets confused, it calls up a dialog with a default choice; if you ignore that box, it’ll assume the default and continue on. So far, I’ve found it to be pretty damn accurate (it is pretty smart, so you don’t have to be absolutely precise), and much quicker than tapping. Or you can watch this and compare

Swype is trying to get into the iPhone/iPod Apps store but I don’t think it’s there right now.

Blackberry's avatar

@jerv I see, that seems better than pressing the screen and always hitting the wrong key, which is why I didn’t like texting on screen.

deni's avatar

@jerv i’m sure some people do just fine with it, but i just don’t see the point in not having a keyboard. i often find myself with greasy fingers (i just ate half a chicken!!!) and if i’m greasy at all my hands don’t work on my phone…i know i know you’re saying GO WASH THEM!!!! but sometimes thats just not in the cards and i have an immediate Urgent text to reply to. you know how these things happen. :)

wundayatta's avatar

Swype shows a virtual keyboard, but instead of typing, you drag your finger from note to—(ooops, I was just playing piano with my son)—from letter to letter, picking it up at the end of the word. Apparently there are competitions in doing this at speed. I can’t find any good ones, but I did find this comparison of swype on a MyTouch against iPhone typing.

MeinTeil's avatar

Whatever one has the Apple logo on it.

jerv's avatar

@deni Any truly urgent message I get is via phone call with a prolonged ring and unlimited in length, not a text message with a short, easy-to-miss beep and a 160-character limit. I work in a machine shop, so my hands get greasy too, but it’s easier for me to pick up a call (one button, and I can do it one-handed) than to drop what I’m doing and/or hit many buttons. It’s also easier for me to hear a ringtone or feel a continuous vibration than a quick blip in my pocket. Besides, like most people, I talk faster than I type.

rawrgrr's avatar

I agree with pretty much all of what @jerv is saying. Listen to him. Keep in mind that it’s hard for us to recommend the phone that’s best for you since we don’t know much of what you really want/need. Since we don’t know much about your needs I’m leaning towards the iPhone since it covers the needs of most average people, but it’s not for everyone as stated by @jerv.

If this is your first smartphone you’ll definitely appreciate the simplicity of the iPhone OS and the beautiful design (and dont forget the beautiful screen).

There are so many “tech junkies” obsessed with feature checklists and meaningless specs. Apple is one of the rare companies that deeply cares and understands how important the user experience is.

“People who think it’s “just good marketing” or “fashionable” do not understand why their devices are so popular and so they think it’s some conspiracy or cult that everyone’s in on. No. Just look at consumer satisfaction levels for their products. I still think that the “secret sauce” is the software, and combined with their hardware quality, they’re going to be hard to beat.”

But

If Apple’s restrictions are inconveniencing you to the point where it’s making your life harder and you feel like you need more options and more customization then go with an Android.

Some people like their freedom (and Flash too!) and don’t like the idea of a company controlling every single detail. It is a very good OS but it seems like it’s for a slightly more specific group of people which is why it’s harder for me to recommend you one of the gazillion android phones.

Also don’t only compare by specs. Don’t forget the important things you can’t compare on paper. Go and try the two phones out and make your own decision based on what you like and what matches your needs but you’ll probably end up happy either way.

Blackberry's avatar

I think the iphone would annoy me because it’s too simple, after reading jervs and rawrgrr’s answers. I kind of grew up experimenting with computers as well, so just a cool design doesn’t impress me. I still get annoyed when people want their computer displays all pretty when they could sacrifice that for performance lol.

ratboy's avatar

My iPhone is a nice toy. If I need a computer, I use one.

jerv's avatar

@Blackberry You and I are undoubtedly Android people.

@rawrgrr The Android side also cares. Why do you think there are skins and themes instead of one uninstall, locked-down interface? Sure, it’s another totally optional layer of complexity, but an adjustable car seat is more complex than a non-movable seat bolted to the floor. There are tradeoffs either way, and each person has to decide what tradeoffs they are willing to make. You and @ratboy have different opinions on what we want and need, and I don’t think any of us are wrong here.

rawrgrr's avatar

@jerv Well obviously the android side cares. Never said they didn’t. I’m just saying that because there are alot more choices of the OS and hardware (which is a good thing!) it’s harder for me to recommend one than it is for the iPhone.

The example you give of an adjustable car seat bolted to the bottom of the car is different. That design choice would be out of pure spite and to me, since we all come in different sizes those kind of options are crucial to our safety and use of the car. But when you have just one consistent (and beautiful in my opinion) UI across all devices this just reduces lots of complication for those that don’t need it. I mean if it was really a big problem the customer satisfaction wouldn’t be as high as it is.

There isn’t anything wrong with choosing and android OS phone. Its a very good OS. It all depends on what the user wants.

jerv's avatar

@rawrgrr Exactly! There is nothing wrong with choosing an iPhone either; it’s all about the individual.

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