Steve Whitford
Steve Whitford

Android vs iPhone

Android pips it, but only just.

With the new Android software version 2.1 running on local HTC phones, there is no doubt that the iPhone has a true competitor in the market.

I am running a HTC Hero with 2.1 software on it and I’ve never owned an iPhone, so doing a comprehensive review is a little difficult.

Having played with an iPhone quite a bit I can do some comparisons though.

The iPhone is the faster operating system (OS) and it is very slick. The OS just seems to work so well and the synchronising with iTunes is really good. The phone has a large number of applications available for download and it has smooth integration with Facebook, Twitter etc. As much as I am not an Apple fan, it’s a really good phone.

On the downside, it is really pricey, was only available on Vodacom (that’s about to change with the iPhone 4, which will be on MTN as well) and it had little glitches in the software that could get up power users’ noses. Furthermore, the phone’s OS is locked down, so customisation is not possible. That problem is solvable with a crack though, which seems to give a lot more flexibility.

Android’s 2.1 OS puts my HTC right up there with the iPhone. The OS is almost as fast, later versions should see it outstrip the iPhone though. However, what it lacks in speed it gains in customisation. The phone has seven home screens, which can all be customised with shortcuts and widgets in whatever layout you want. Widgets include Facebook and Twitter feed, weather, address books widgets, calendar widgets and so on. A push of the home button on the phone brings up a bird’s eye view of all seven screens or you can flick your finger to move through them.

While the Android Market has fewer applications than the iPhone store, they have more free apps by far and with a much better developer policy, the market will more than likely outstrip the Apple store.

Lastly and here is the killer point for me, Google’s synchronisation is just way better. Not only do you put in your Gmail address when you start (and all your subsequent Android phones simply set themselves up by connecting to the address), but Google Docs just gives Android such an advantage over Apple.

At the end of the day, Google has an open mindset and Apple has a closed one. Apple will always have its fan boys, but I think Android has the edge right now and will ultimately be the better, more affordable phone into the future.

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  • sakmaz

    agreed. android 2.2 will certainly spice things up. as will google’s new android app developer for novice builders. apple is catching on, somewhat, with the release of the jailbreak for iphone 4.0. a significant step, considering its past..closed-mindedness. however, i doubt it will overpower google in its domination of, well, every possible digital/online service. hail!

  • Mark

    I agree with some of your points, there is however some logic in the way Apple manages (and restricts) it’s applications. At the moment probably 80% of all the iPhone applications are useless. I predict that more than 90% of all the Android applications will be useless in the next 12 months. At least Apple is trying to select good apps, even if it’s just their opinion. Android app store is going to be flooded by marketing and advertising apps.

    I own the iPhone and the iPad and had the HTC for quite while. The great advantage that iPhone has is not the OS but the hardware. It’s stable and easy to use. It’s going to be long time before someone is going to be able to beat the interface of the iPhone. The HTC has always been unresponsive and the hardware, in my opinion, not up to scratch.

    It’s going to be an interesting battle and I am sure that the Android is going to become the more popular choice. However, Apple has never been about being popular with the masses. Let’s put it this way, Apple is for the more discerning consumer :)

  • Dave

    I have the HTC Desire (1GHz Snapdragon processor) running Android 2.2 and I’m completely sold. I’ll readily admit that I’ve never owned an iPhone but that’s by preference. That preference is largely due to the close minded thinking of Apple.

    To quote Mark above,

    “At least Apple is trying to select good apps, even if it’s just their opinion.”

    That, to me at least, stinks. I like being able to select and install the apps I want. Not the apps that Apple want me to want. I prefer being a free thinking individual and making my own choices. Now, that’s not a dig at Mark (apologies Mark, whoever you are), but I think it’s exactly the sentiment that I’m dead against.

    I don’t think that Android or HTC is quite where it should be. I don’t know if it/they will ever be. However, I think that history will reflect that Android will win this one in the long term. It’s akin to the success of Windows as an OS. Windows isn’t a great OS either but people buy it because it runs the apps that they want. Love it or hate it, the Win32 API is quite possibly the single greatest contributor to the adoption and currently ubiquitous nature of personal computing. It fostered a whole legion of developers, all trying to sell their apps to people like you and me. I see the same parallels in the Android v. iPhone wars and I’d put money on seeing Android coming out on top.

    I predict that within the next 10 years we’ll still have Android as well as iOS. iOS will be a minority group (same as Mac users are today). Blackberry will eventually die except for the handful of die hard companies unwilling to embrace new technology. Microsoft will still be trying to play catch up with their bloated offerings on mobile technology. There may even be another (currently unborn) competitor in the mix by then too. Still, I think Android will be the default OS bundled with mobile devices.

    DISCLAIMER:
    I don’t work for any of the companies mentioned above. I’m a senior software engineer in the finance industry. I use MS development tools for work, use Eclipse at home on Ubuntu. I won’t call myself impartial but that’s the beauty of an opinion.

  • Mohamed Khan

    Detracting form the Apple/ Android debate that this may end up becoming, I wonder whether the article has any merit as it appears to be comparing the latest Android version with the older Apple operating system. I say this assuming that the new iPhone 4 comes with a software upgrade.

    @sakmaz Although I think Google is awesome, you have to admit that both Google wave and Google Buzz could be considered a failure by their dominating standards.

  • sakmaz

    Right you are there Mohamed…I particularly hate Buzz. Fortunately Wave is easily pushed aside by Chrome Frame, and Buzz..is, well, an opt-out for most. I mean, Google quickly realised its mistake with these softwares, and quickly sought to rectify them (I guess to varying extents). Whereas Apple is still ‘feature creeping’ iTunes into infinity, which makes the software inherently bloated in the long run. One example of many.

    PS Android 2.2 can be just as easily compared to iOS 4.1 …for me, Android takes it regardless.