The bottom line: iPhone 4 vs. Android’s best (does Nokia, Microsoft, RIM have a chance in getting into the game?)

So, since I haven’t carried an iPhone around with me for more than a week and I got an up and close look at the iPhone 4 today here’s my list of the pros and cons of iPhone 4 vs. the Sprint EVO or Verizon’s Incredible (the two best Android-based phones out there).

1. Screen quality. iPhone wins, but only slightly over the EVO.
2. Multitasking. All of them do it, but Apple’s system is a LOT easier to figure out and manage. That said, AT&T’s new data plan pricing has left a very bad taste in my mouth. I’m going to have to use the iPhone 4 for a month to see how much data I actually end up using now that I can do things like use Waze for traffic at the same time as playing music on Pandora, or watching live streaming videos from Ustream, etc. The iPhone should be miles ahead here, because of its superior OS, but is only slightly ahead because AT&T is dragging down the experience for me.
3. Battery life. HUGE win for the iPhone 4, which gives up to 40% longer talk times than the 3GS, which is already giving me at least 40% better battery life than the EVO.
4. Application choice and quality. A slight win for iPhone 4. Overall I like apps on the iPhone better and there definitely are more to choose from. 225,000 according to Steve Jobs today. But there are some apps on Android that are better. Google Voice and Google Maps are two of them, which are pretty dramatic. I keep getting complaints from developers about the Apple approval process, too.
5. Feel in pocket. iPhone 4 wins here. It’s thinner and since it’s glass on both sides more pocket compatible.
6. Voice quality. The EVO is a LOT better than the iPhone 3GS, but I wasn’t able to try it out today for a phone call, so we’ll need to wait until June 24th for that.
7. Sexiness. The iPhone 4 wins here big time.
8. Carriers. The iPhone 4 LOSES here big time. AT&T has dead zones where none exist on my routes around the San Francisco Bay Area on Sprint or Verizon.
9. Video and camera. The iPhone wins here by quite a bit. The focusing on the iPhone is better. The quality seems like it is better, but I’ll need to do a head-to-head after June 24th to really know that for sure. The video features are FAR superior on the iPhone, especially the new editing features. I will buy the iPhone for these features alone, so for a video geek like me these are a huge deal. My wife, though, uses the iPhone camera a lot more than I do (I have a pro camera, she doesn’t and she takes a lot of pictures of the kids), so it’ll be interesting to see what she does with this.
10. Video games. The iPhone is already ahead here by a long shot and with its new gyroscope we should see even more apps for the iPhone that are cool and now that Zynga is bringing its games to the iPhone Apple has widened its lead. Yeah, yeah, I’m sure all the haters will remind me it doesn’t play Flash games but, sorry, that train has left the station and isn’t coming back.
11. Tethering. The EVO lets you share your phone as a wifi hotspot and lets other devices use its data plan to get on the Internet. This is wildly cool and how I get my family’s iPads on the Internet when driving in the car. Apple didn’t say a thing about tethering today and I’m hearing rumors that the iPad won’t tether with the new iPhone. So, this is a major feature in the EVO camp. Plus, AT&T’s new data plan restrictions really bug me.
12. Synch and services. Here Android kicks Apple’s ass. The iPhone has to be physically plugged into a computer and connected to iPhone to synch it. With the EVO I never have connected it physically to a computer. I just entered my Gmail address and password and all my contacts, all of my calendar items, all of my email, and all of my applications just showed up. This is a MAJOR advantage to the Android system.

So, will I start using an iPhone again? Yes, but I have the luxury of being able to afford two devices and I’m definitely keeping the EVO if just for the tethering. If I could only afford one? I’d go with iPhone 4 over the EVO. Mostly because the OS is nicer to use (hard to explain all the ways this is so in a short post, so you’ll have to wait for a longer post after I get mine), the video features, and the battery life is dramatically better. But I totally understand why many of you will ignore those advantages because AT&T sucks so much. If voice quality is more important to you than all the toys, the nicer OS, or the video chat, then definitely go for the Sprint or the Verizon.

To the second part of this question. Does Nokia, MIcrosoft, or RIM have a chance to get into the game?

Well, let’s look at the strength’s of each company.

1. Nokia has a ton of market share in low-end markets. That still gives it a powerful voice brand to build off of. Will it matter in the high end game? I don’t think it will, but I’m sure I’ll have lots of Nokia employees telling me why it does.
2. Microsoft has the Xbox and their new phone is coming from the same team. Wired also explained how Microsoft’s Kin and a bunch of services give it a leg into the game. I don’t buy that horseradish, but I can see how many of you will.
3. RIM has the best keyboards and best integration with Microsoft Exchange (still). Corporate IT folks care about both of these. Even Mark Zuckerberg carries a Blackberry to do email on. Until Android matches the keyboard quality RIM is safe. The first Motorola Droid has a dreadful keyboard. Will the next one have a good enough keyboard to let RIM’ers switch? We’ll have to see.

Anyway, Apple is still on top of the mind share mountain and that’s a powerful place, indeed, to be. Look for Apple’s sales and profits to continue to go up. I’m buying three (one for Patrick, one for Maryam, and one for myself).

What do you think?

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

71 thoughts on “The bottom line: iPhone 4 vs. Android’s best (does Nokia, Microsoft, RIM have a chance in getting into the game?)

  1. May I also say, terrible review Robert. No information regarding the things that matter and the wrong decision in a lot of cases. Id go further into it, but im not sure you would appreciate the criticism

  2. Its a shame people even consider the iPhone as something useful. They have been slightly glorified games consoles from the start. I have worked in IT for 20 years, working with some of the best technical minds and using the most developed systems, only one of these people uses an iPhone, but only wanted it due to apples amazing marketing as he knows nothing about it. Apple have always made second rate products, their user experience may be highly regarded among people who are less technical but seriously now, does anyone really think all the “features” apple advertise for their products actually matter? When will any of the said features actually be a benefit in a mobile device? The fact is, android and the open handset consortium are already technically better with their software development, yet dont lock things down as Apple would. If you all want to live apples way or not at all, then fair enough go for it, but for the rest of the more up to date world, that actually care about having a good, useable device, have a look at the HTC Desire or one of the other well made android phones.

    If you were to opt for the iPhone, good luck to you, im sure you`ll need it!

  3. I am thoroughly looking forward to the moment Apple announces their deal with Verizon only because there will be a mass exodus from AT&T. I think AT&T's network will improve leaps and bounds once it offloads a few million users.

  4. Says who? Can they make 600,000 for the first day? Can they make them affordably? Do they offer a clear benefit to iPhone 4? Do you have pictures to demonstrate how much better that display is?

  5. Also, Super AMOLED technology in Samsung Android phones is better than the IPS technology in the iPhone 4.

  6. Go Evo. Qik on 4G is insanely good, the app is free on Android Market and AT&T will butt rape you on the bandwidth it eats up. If you think the network is bad now, wait until iPhone 4 comes out. Do you want to fall asleep on Qik, or leave it open mistakenly and get a bill for $40,000? Fring Skype also works great on Evo, and it's free. Chances are always better with open-source that developers will make apps suited to your needs.

  7. I am a long time Blackberry user. I read lot of debate on HTC EVO and iPhone 4. I am very interested in purchase either device. The main reason is the front cam. Why? I am deaf and American Sign Language user. My friends will be using the front cam more often.

    Just like Rob Scoble granted a point to EVO for its voice quality. I suppose as a deaf person granted point to iPhone 4 for superb grapic display quality? hehe.

    What I am trying to tackling is the AT&T's new pricing plan. My concern is that that in near future the direction of AT&T and Apple's decision to make the FaceTime popular and put it on 3G network. The usage of video will go over the capped 2 GB. The data plan for me is becoming expensive. I would like to use Qik and Fring due to its interoperability. Right now, FaceTime will be on wifi and connect to iPhone 4 only although Steve Jobs said it is open standard.

    Deaf people have express their concern to AT&T and FCC on pricing issue in lieu of function equivalent.

    Sprint offers unlimited data which is appealing (http://www.sprintrelaystore.com). Also they offered a special pricing for deaf people to make it function equivalent which is a plus. AT%T does have a special plan for deaf people. (http://www.deafmac.org/blog/2010/att-iphone-tap…) But, it is not the best plan comparing to Sprint.

    Maybe someday I will have the luxury of afford two phones just like you, Rob Scoble. :)

    I only jump on the Apple bandwagon following the joneses because I know fanboy out there will focus on building a better app to cater my need as a deaf person. Although, with Android's openness, can they equal with what Apple have in lieu of accesibility issues?

    Hope you Android fanboys and Apple fanboys can help me clarify up my clouded thoughts on EVO and iPhone :)

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