Why I can’t kick the Apple iPhone habit

Louis Gray just wrote an interesting post about how he kicked iPhones out of his life and went with Android. I could write that post too. After all, I agree with it in principle, even if I can’t take the step and cross over the iPhone/Android barrier.

He isn’t the first, either, to advocate giving up your iPhone and going with one running Google’s Android OS. Leo Laporte told me the same thing at FooCamp (Tim O’Reilly’s campout where he invites a few hundred geeks for a weekend campout at O’Reilly’s headquarters). Although Leo was holding an iPhone he told me he is kicking the iPhone habit and going Android.

On vacation I had dinner with Brett Schulte, who is an IT consultant for celebrities. He’s the one who got me on the set of Criminal Minds and is one of those few influencers that companies try to get to push their products onto sets and into actors’ hands. He’s kicked the iPhone to the curb for the same reasons Louis gave.

And I do try. I’ve had three Android-based phones in my hands in the past nine months: a Droid, a Nexus One, and a Sprint EVO. I’ve also tried a Verizon Incredible and a Hero.

All of these phones have some magical features, to be sure. I loved having the EVO be a wifi hotspot. I like some of the apps better on Android, in particular, Google Voice, Google Maps, and Google Buzz. All are way better than anything on the iPhone.

But still I can’t kick the iPhone habit. Why not?

1. I’m more productive on the iPhone. You might say I didn’t give Android enough of a shot. But I completely stopped using the iPhone for two weeks to see if I could get my Android skills up. I still was faster and more comfortable with using the iPhone. More on why in a second.
2. The hardware is simply superior. Even with the weird antenna issue I just like the way iPhones are built. They feel better in my hands and that’s important to me since I use these devices SO MUCH during my day. The screen on the iPhone 4 is simply superior to anything Android has today. Leo told me “wait until you see the Samsung.” Well, OK, but the Samsung isn’t out yet. When it is I’ll try it out and see if that gets me to kick my iPhone habit.
3a. Apps on iPhone are way better quality. Sorry, but the apps I count on, things like the Twitter app, the Facebook app, the camera/photography/video apps, location apps, etc are almost wholly superior on iPhone than on Android.
3b. More app choices on iPhone, especially in games. I keep finding world-class games on iPhone that haven’t been ported yet to Android. I should make a list.
4. I hate AT&T’s quality, but I don’t hate it enough to leave. I didn’t really understand that, but then I started keeping track of how often I use voice. On my phone I only use voice about 5% of the time I use my iPhone. Almost all the rest of the time I’m using it for Twitter, to read news, to interact with apps, to play games, to Facetime with my sons/wife, etc. In non-voice parts of using the iPhone AT&T’s lack of quality of service doesn’t matter at all. Most of the time I’m doing those kinds of things I’m on wifi anyway. To gain better voice quality, which I only use about 5% of the time, I’d have to give up a better experience on the web and in apps, which just isn’t acceptable to me.
5. Apple users tend to use more apps. I’ve been asking my friends who have Android apps how many apps they have. The average, so far, is about half of the apps that my iPhone-using friends have. Also, something else I noticed, when comparing experiences with SlideShare’s CTO, Jonathan Boutelle, was that we both noticed that Android users haven’t purchased many apps yet. That is something I’m hearing from app developers, too, which explains why the best developers put most of their time into the Apple platform and aren’t working as hard on the Android. But to me this is a bummer because the way I discover new apps is to talk to people. In airports you’ll see me stalking iPhone users asking them what their favorite apps are, or online you’ll see me searching through Appsfire.com for new apps. Is there an Appsfire for Android? My point exactly. There is a network effect with apps and Android hasn’t gotten there yet. Will they? I’m sure they will, Google seems to have the same advantages that Microsoft had in earlier platform battles with Apple, but TODAY Google hasn’t come close and that means I can’t kick my iPhone habit.
6. Battery life. My Android phones totally suck when compared to the iPhone 4. My son literally texted with friends all day while at Disneyland (nothing like a teenager obsessed with texting). At 11 p.m. he still had 36% battery left on his iPhone 4 and I had 50% left, even after using it a lot as a camera taking video and photos of the family and checking into Twitter after an earthquake closed down a lot of the rides there. My Android-based phones don’t come close. My Sprint EVO used 40% of its battery on ONE one-hour phone call. Louis says he gets pretty good battery life, but then I started asking him what he did with his phone to get that and he turned a lot of stuff off that came on by default. I didn’t have to do that on our iPhones.
7. Camera features and aspirational advertising. You know, I’ve had tons of Nokia phones with two cameras. I’ve never used them as much as I’ve used the one in my iPhone. Why? Affordances. My iPhone affords using these features. It is easy, and when someone calls me I can see if they can use Facetime with me. Plus, their advertising is aspirational and gets my friends to WANT to try these new features out. I’ve never had someone get a new Nokia phone, call me, and beg me to try out a new feature. I’ve gotten DOZENS of those kinds of calls in the past three weeks.

So, why am I more productive on iPhones than on Android?

It came down to small things that I’ve noticed. For one, each app works more consistently. On Seesmic on Android, for instance, I could scroll to the top of its window by clicking a red bar. On every iPhone app that happens by clicking the top bar. On EVERY app. On Android it isn’t in the same place, or with the same command.

When I want to edit text, I just click and the cursor on the iPhone enters the place where I clicked. On the Android it doesn’t work as consistently. Partly because some of the screens aren’t as sensitive as the iPhones, but partly if you click too long a dialog box asking if you’d like to copy text comes up. Grrr.

On other things, when I double-click columns of text the iPhone works how I expect it to: the text zooms to fill the maximum width of the screen. On Android it often would overzoom so now I’d have to scroll around to read. Add in the extra readability of the new screen and this is maddening, but is a little thing very few people would notice.

I’m sure lots of people will argue with me and tell me how the Android is already superior in all of these cases. They probably are correct: for them.

But I’ve tried it out and continue doing so (I keep my Verizon account and Motorola Droid and I keep playing with it just to see if I can kick the iPhone habit) and for me I’m still addicted to the iPhone.

When that addiction ends, you’ll be the first to know since I’m in agreement that Google is the company I’d rather be in bed with than Apple but for now I just can’t kick the Apple habit and I’m very happy with giving Steve Jobs more of my money because Apple definitely has built the best mobile device on the market today.

Tomorrow? We’ll see.

How about you? Have you kicked your iPhone habit?

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.

160 thoughts on “Why I can’t kick the Apple iPhone habit

  1. Why in the world would I possibly WANT to “kick my iPhone habit”? I pretty much love everything about it. I've used various Android phones and find them very lacking, especially in the BASICS of the UI. (I mean, why is Google stupid enough to place the “send” button right above the Q, W, E and R keys so that it's so easy to accidentally send e-mails when you're trying to type one of those letters? I get that all the time from my Gmail-using and Android-using friends.) Someone might very well come out with a better phone than the iPhone one day. When that happens, I'll consider it. But since I'm very, very happy with my iPhone, it seems insane to try to force myself to use a pale imitation that isn't even vaguely as good.

  2. @ GVS

    ” I have shown many iPhone users that I am 3 times more productive on a G1 doing exactly the same as they are using with a 3GS or a 4G. Timed and everything. ”

    You sound like an annoying guy to have around. Really. Just use what works for you and get on with life.

  3. 1. Battery on iPhone 4 is way better than any Android phone

    2. Speed of the iPhone 4 (and the GS) is snappy and much smoother than Android

    3. Matter of opinion

    4. Future may be Apple over Google due to hardware/software integration and upcoming Apple 'cloud'.

    PS: Current iPhones can use the Google 'cloud' just fine for mail, contacts and calendar.

    1. I suggest that you try both methods. I’ve been in the mobile software and service space for quite sometime – while you can argue the pluses and minuses of both platforms, there is nothing quite like Android’s OTA sync’ing. Aside from entering in your Google gmail information, you – quite literally – never think about it again. Ever. It just happens, no configuration, no fiddling. Anything you enter online goes to the phone, and visa versa. Also, as Robert points out, moving from one phone to another is ridiculously painless.

  4. Geeks love Android as they earlier love DOS etc. Most common folk seem to really like iPhones. The reality is most people are common folk and do not like tweaking their preferences etc. They run the app and the system the way it is given to them by default. That is why so many are using old operating systems and browsers like IE6,7,8. They use what is given to them. To me iPhone is a better system because of the consistency in apps. Android is too much like the wild west. Too much crap and inconsistency.

  5. I'm an Android user, too, and I've made a few purchases (like Sprite, which backs up your handset to the cloud). But for me the real allure of the Android OS apps is the apps Google gives away for free or the a few third party vendor apps ones tied to other cloud services like Remember the Milk. When I bought my N1, also using Pandora in the background was an important factor. All the cool shopping/barcode apps are free, and that covers 85-90% of what I'd want an app phone for.

    Maybe gamers or iPod-types have a harder time leaving the iPhone, but I'd have a harder time leaving Android as a non-gamer because of Google Voice, Google Maps, and Gmail integration and cloud syncing being more important to them.

  6. Didn't you get your Nexus One for covering the event in January? And the EVO for attending Google IO the developer's conference? The N1 seems like a wonderful freebie/score to the top bloggers and media at the event, but the EVO seems more like a promo bonus given out to every developer or attendee as part of the cost of entry. Big events with expensive tickets always schwag, so it doesn't even sound free to my cheap ears.

  7. Another advantage of the Iphone is how you. An share all of the apps you buy among your family members – something you can’t do in the Android world. I know our family has saved a lot of money on music and apps by only having to buy one copy.

  8. Dude, you need to cover more things than iPhones and Droid. There’s more to the tech world than being attached to a cellphone 99% of the day. You said your kid spent all day at Disneyworld text. Re-read that. (I would have loved to have my parents take me on a trip to Disneyland/World when I was little!) You are setting a terrible example for your own kids and not doing yourself any favors by being so fixated on a gadget.

    I know you think the internet revolves around you and your actions (which is why you feel the need to tweet what you’re doing and geo-establish your location every second of day) but give it a rest Robert. Why don’t you try broadening your topics of interest in technology. Instead of yapping with startups all fixated on cellphones and yakking about the variety of games on Apple’s store (hint: 99% of them are awful – buy a PSP or DS dude) -OR- ranting about iPhone 4,567′s superiority over the HTC Evo Incredible Nexus Billion cellphone…………..


    No cellphone. Just give it up. Keep a Tracfone or GoPhone in your car for emergencies but remove yourself from the clique-ish, flavor-of-the-week, meaningless drivel that is the cell phone industry and debate. This is how the vast majority of people in the world live their lives. We don’t live and breathe smartphones 24/7. In fact, smartphones are so limited due to their pricing and crap coverage here in the U.S. I’m shocked it gets as much press as it does.

    Not that you even care or will read this (it’s not a compliment, so it’ll probably be ignored) but seriously man — take a break from this “always connected” nonsense and start to view technology LIKE A NORMAL PERSON (a person that IS NOT the center of the universe).

    BTW – I’m 27, have a degree in Web Design, work FT as a Web Developer and am finishing up another degree in IT. So I’m not some old, disgruntled boomer who screams “get off my lawn!” at neighborhood kids.

  9. I have to admit I have become a huge Android fan and everytime I hear someone say they would rather choose an iPhone I have to read it over and over just to see the reasons. Robert, I love the fact that your reasons are based on your actual usage and not off of “iPhone can do this, can yours?” I read it and actually think, well if either Google or a phone manufacturer improves upon this, there could be another convert. I think we all agree that the “usefulness” of Google's software (maps, voice and others) and the way they integrate with the phones are amazing. The problem has always been looks. While even some of the items you mentioned (tapping the top bar for effects for example) are both understandable and yet limiting, I can appreciate the thought. I still am on the fence about having all of the apps have the same functions. Individuality is something that has always been a big plus for developing for Android, but in some cases I can see where the uniformity has it's places too. Argh, either way, Android will continue to work on overcoming the simple shortcomings and hopefully make things more friendly.

  10. I don't even own an iPhone (have an iPod Touch and am waiting for the iPhone 4 to come out in Australia) but I find it totally laughable that the main measuring stick seems to be how many apps are available for the device. I surf the app store in iTunes and most of them are total garbage. So when Android has more apps than iPhone, who cares? It's the quality of the app and how it meets your needs that's important. Abandoning your development on iPhone sounds crazy IMO. You're taking a punt on the Android because it's easier to develop on and hoping that the hardware will eventually rival that of iPhone. All the while neglecting a much larger, more consumptive market segment.

  11. Brett, your point #2 is precicely where the iPhone seems to be way ahead. The fact of the matter is that there are many more moms than people who like on their phones like you and I. That is why all of Apple's products are compelling. “Real” people go to stores and buy things that seduce them. Things on the cloud have no “teeth”. This may be the case for several years to come.

    I'm a power user and I found real limits with the 3GS. The iPhone 4 + iOS 4 combination has removed those limits for me. And it's not for lack of trying to use Android Froyo 2.2 on a Nexus One. I just couldn't bear the many incoherences within the system and within the Android apps. Granted, the Nexus One + Android combination runs loops around say a Nokia N95 which was the king of the hill a few years back (in fact, the iPhone 2G when it came out was very inferior to it in terms of “geek” features). But to me, the Android “experience” is neither good enough for mere mortals nor “peace of mind” enough for people like me.

    That's why I moved to Mac OS X a decade ago in the first place. Never looking back.

  12. Google did not have time to create an actual OS so they cribbed some UI aspects from Apple but dig a little bit and Android OS is what you get for a free linux OS. It’s fine for free but the reality is Google only developed the OS to get their search bar on the next gen of mobile phones – that work is done so what do they care if it takes 6 months for a telco upgrade or telco skins or their suggestion that battery life is weak (stop using apps). Google has never announced any apps numbers and no developer has claimed more than 50,000 downloads – it’s EXACTLY like the desktop linux market – fun for DIYers and a solid free OS for telco and handset makers but for end users, after the 5-minute review is done – when you get down to it – it’s like Google Docs or Google video (pre YouTube) and Google social networks – it’s a look alike but not very good. They should stick to search and let professionals work on UI devices.

  13. Miguel what a surprise seeing you commenting here…

    My situation is the opposite of yours…I was considering change from Android to iPhone 4 but that particular feature you mention “FUNCTIONAL cloud-oriented system with all my Google based apps” and the notification thing, are the glue that retain me in Android.

    Also I add the constant Free OTA's OS Updates and the screen customization (Knowing me and how I am, probably I'm going to get bored seeing the same “apps” screen in the iPhone).

    But it's out of discussion that Apple's iPhone UI design and aesthetics is very tempting, especially for me (a Graphic Designer and a Mac user)

  14. The IRONY of the whole iPhone->Android Geek club is that almost all of them are Mac users. They are all secretly Apple fans that go to Android so that they make Apple better by forcing them to compete w/ Google.
    It's very clear. And it's funny. The Android is Linux and it's NOT well baked. That's why I think that Microsoft will eventually come up with a great mobile OS. I mean they are the ones that REALLY know how to do an OS. And now they REALLY want to…

    1. I have used just about every android device out and the best in my opinion is the incredible.

  15. Why you're really NOT more productive on an iPhone:

    1) Battery sucks, and you can't swap it so you have to live life around where you can plug in. I have spare batteries charged for my Nexus One in my bag all the time. Never run out. How “productive” can you really be with a dead battery?

    2) IPhone is SLOOOW, and not just because of the processor. The user interface of the “new” iOS 4 is just as tired and slow as the last one. Even with background enabled, switching between functions like phone to SMS or an app is painful. It'd work great for my mom, but not someone who actually lives on their phone like I do.

    3) iPhone to me is about limits, what I CAN'T do because Apple and/or AT&T says so. #donotlike

    4) The future of phones isn't the phone, it's cloud services, like Google Maps, or voice services, or augmented reality, that will make it incredible. Google is great at that stuff. Apple is not. Look at MobileMe, which has always sucked. There's just no way Apple can catch up in services.

    IPhone succeed because, at the time, it was revolutionary, but now it's actually behind the competition. Sure it's still selling, but only because most consumers don't yet know how much better the alternatives are… but with almost every carrier promoting Android, and every manufacturer competing to make the best Android products, they'll learn fast. Apple has painted themselves into a corner, the iPhone has nowhere to go but down.

    1. You are a big geek. Very smart, but a big geek. The masses don’t carry extra batteries, and don’t want to pay for one. When they do figure they want one, pay for it, then they never have it charged when they need it. Smart type A can use an extra battery like you, but for the masses, it IS NOT a feature that is missed. Apple’s decision to make a larger yet non-user replaceable battery gets chastised by all the geeks every day, but it actually is the right decision for 99% of users. The rest of the 5% can get a battery extender if they want, yet few iPhone users get one. Sure, iPhone isn’t for buyers who are PhDs like you, but 99% of users don’t have a PhD.

  16. I don't know about your “well-known facts” but my experience says otherwise. I am telling you I have been on a phone call, with the Droid giving me turn by turn navigation in my car while driving…

    Unless it's finding free wifi hots spots (which I doubt would be possible at 45mph on a major city street), it's doing something…

    1. When you use the Navigation feature of Google Maps with Android, it caches the entire route map, so you can talk on the phone (or go through a dead zone) and still have navigation. It’s not actually using data, just GPS. If however, you stray from your predetermined route and data is unavailable (either because you’re on the phone or because you’re in a dead zone) you’re SOL.

    2. Navigation isn’t relying on the CDMA network, it’s using the GPS hardware. So that’s probably why that would work. Just saying… but you can’t do two things such as voice and CDMA data (internet) simultaneously. Of course if the data stream is switched over to WiFi, that’s another story.

    3. Perhaps it pre-loaded the map data for your current city at a time when the device wasn’t making a phone call.

  17. iPhone certainly lends itself to speed, but if you spent more than 2 weeks on Android, you'd see that it takes a bit to get used to the keyboard, etc. on the Android phones. Speed comes with time. But then again, EVERY smartphone will never allow one to type as fast as say the BlackBerry keyboard. I could type super fast on that, but never have been able to get that fast on iPhone or Android

    The specs on the iPhone 4 might be great, it might still have the shininess of being an iPhone but it still suffers from one issue: AT&T. More on that in a second. But regarding the screen… Have you used an EVO? Have you used an Incredible? Both are great. I love my Incredible. And really, why does screen matter than much? Are you really telling me that people try and watch full-length movies and videos on their phones? I don't know about anyone else, but about the only mobile device I can watch a movie or even a TV show on is my iPad.

    I'll give you app quality. I still haven't found the equivalent of Tweetie 2 on Android. And quite frankly the Facebook app REALLY sucks. But, on the other hand, we have some pretty cool apps that Apple would never allow on the iPhone.

    1) Google Voice. Hands down a winner for me. I've had the same cell phone number for 10+ years, and don't have a land line phone. Many people around here get confused when I give them my cell phone number with a Chicago area code. I have a Google Voice number that has a local area code and now because I'm on Android, rather than an iPhone, I can actually USE that number as intended…. When I make a call it asks “Do you want to use Mobile or Google Voice?” I can actually choose to make calls and have my Google Voice number the one someone sees. I can also write and reply to text messages to it, from an app, and not have to go to the website. Same with listening to my voice mail, it shows up in the App like the Visual Voicemail on the iPhone does, AND it acts as my voicemail for both my Google Voice account and my regular Verizon Wireless mobile number.

    2) Location aware settings apps. I have a really cool little app called “Chronos” on my phone. What does it do? Simple: It changes certain phone settings based on parameters you've chosen. Example: I have it set so that between midnight and 10 am, all sounds are turned off. Another use? You can say tell it “When I'm at work, turn off notifications, set the ringer to vibrate and turn off WiFi.” Think that Lord Jobs will allow that ever on the iPhone?

    In terms of other apps… What kinds of photography apps are needed besides the camera app? Are you really telling me you're editing photos on your phone? And location apps? You mean like GPS? Google Maps Navigation…a FREE turn-by-turn application. Have that on iOS? We have that on Android.

    Oh noes! We don't have games. Whatever. I can count on one hand the number of games I had on the iPhone. Seriously… Never played games on it.

    Hmm… So you're saying you can suffer with AT&T because you don't you voice. Well… For the rest of us that aren't in a major city, even the data is horrible. I live in an area that AT&T claims is covered by their 3G network. That's great…except that this city is also home to a major university. The network is tolerable, as long as you're downtown, in the summer. 3G is actually usable then. But as soon as the kids show up in the fall….dropped down to the EDGE network EVERYWHERE in the city because their towers couldn't handle the demand. And even out where I live, well away from campus, in their cleaned 3G coverage area, too I kept dropping to EDGE. Oh and don't venture outside of Madison, either, because the rest of Dane County isn't wired for 3G. And don't even think of using your AT&T phone in the southwest corner of the state at all….even along US 18/151 or US 14. No service for the entirety of Green Counties and most of Iowa County. Would have been great to know that I couldn't get AT&T service on my phone when I needed it….like when a thunderstorm with a history of a tornado was barreling down on the location that I was at. I'd of loved to know that the storm had turned and now wasn't coming right at me…but no AT&T and because it's a more rural county, no WiFi anywhere, I had no clue what was happening. Which brings up a good point, too…

    As much as everyone would love to believe it, WiFi is NOT everywhere. It is, maybe, if you live in a city. But try going to a rural area sometime and show me WiFi, much less, high-speed broadband.

    “Apple users tend to use more apps. I’ve been asking my friends who have Android apps how many apps they have. The average, so far, is about half of the apps that my iPhone-using friends have.”

    That's because Apple users tend to download apps like crazy. Now… Ask they how many apps the USE vs. how many they have.

    “we both noticed that Android users haven’t purchased many apps yet.”

    There is a movement happening right now to try and increase the number of people buying apps. Look… I'll buy an app if it's worth it. Of course, there are also some Android developers out there who have alienated their users. I know of one app that had been $1, and all of a sudden, the price was hiked to $10 when the developer noticed a lot of people were adopting the app. Adoption dropped on it, and because of Android's open nature, more reasonably priced alternative apps sprung up.

    AppBrian is the AppsFire of Android. As to more people on Apple than Android… Yes, but I will share some unscientific observations I've done. I was working in the media pit at a major event in Milwaukee in June. I saw many more Android devices than I saw iPhones, Blackberries or feature phones. (Now, this could have changed, since it was before iPhone 4 ship day.) Even in the newsroom I work at, there are 2 iPhones (1 3gs, 1 4) to at least 4 Android phones. (Droid Incredible, Droid (Milestone), Devour, Hero) Note: I'm talking personal phones….all of the reporters are issued company BlackBerries. Even our web guy doesn't carry an iPhone. Why? AT&T. Like many people, he'd get one if he could get one from Verizon or Sprint.

    Oh and one more App note… I know developers who are frustrated by Apple. Why? Because they FORCE you to use THEIR development environment and are basically forcing people to write their apps twice, once for iPhone and once for everywhere else. Notice how quickly they re-did their developer agreement to lock out Adobe's iPhone compiler? With Android, developers have their choice to write in their own software and then use a 3-rd party compiler to write a cross-platform app if they so choose.

    Yes the battery life sucks on the phones…but I also used to kill my iPhone's battery in a day too. And some of the Android's issues do come from apps. I was talking to a developer who told me his app shouldn't have been killing my battery. When I showed him, he noticed that it was unexpectedly polling my GPS more than it should have. And because we're not tied to Apple's approval process, a fix for it can be released and up quite quickly. No waiting for an Apple minion to give their stamp of approval to it.

    Ugh… Enough with the camera. Really…if you want to take pictures that look good, you'll NEVER get that out of a phone. Buy yourself a good digital camera. It'll blow your phone out of the water any day. And facetime and the front facing camera is not a huge selling point for me. Does it work with Skype? Nope. Does it work with someone on an EVO? Nope. It only works between Apple phones. Besides, even with Skype on my iMac, I barely use it for video chat.

  18. I'm wondering if all you media elites (no, really!) are overestimating the supposed power of the “one OS, many phones” meme that makes us think of the Microsoft ascendancy. I'm thinking the Droid this, the Samsung That, the HTC Whatever, are a confusing proliferation of models. A weakness, not a strength. Why buy this one, if the next one, coming out next month, is going to be great and be able to do x? It was one thing, when there really wasn't much difference between a Compaq or the computer some friend made in a garage, except that both had DOS or Windows 3.1 on it. But what our structure of subsidized phones does is make each purchase much more monumental. Any choice of phone is two years of your life outside of pundit land and review phones. Everyone wants to think they made the right choice. So Apple has fanboys, and Android has Fandroids. During the term of my present iPhone 4 contract, we will have iPhone 5 pass me boy, and about 50 Android clones. The question for me, and for most of the normal people out there, is, okay, what phone will I get in 2012? You mean, if the world's still here? If AT&T still sucks? What kind of iPhone will it be then? On Verizon? They'll both have LTE by then, no?

    In other words, the 2-year rhythm of cellphone contracts changes the essential market. The rapidity of software development on Android is out of sync with that, and thus, some of the advantages of playing the Windows card are lost.

  19. Rofl… Iphone fever is clear.

    What will you say about app on Jan 2011 when Android has more apps.

    I agree with you on one thing. and Iphone is better for playing games. Everything else I have shown many iPhone users that I am 3 times more productive on a G1 doing exactly the same as they are using with a 3GS or a 4G. Timed and everything. One of them works on my team at work and the only thing he could pull up to say iPhone can do better is an App that shows which is your next gate on a terminal. Great if you fly a lot, we do to certain extent. Otherwise Android is so much far ahead on Application capabilities that its just worthless to try anything on Apple. To the point that my group has cancelled all its Apple efforts. The cost and development time on Android was over 4 times more cost effective. This is a particular case in Engineer. So please dont take it beyond that.

    App wise though. Take a look at the following:


    1. “What will you say about app on Jan 2011 when Android has more apps.”

      I’d say: “Damn I wish someone would clean up these 50,000 awful nothing-but-wallpaper-and-ringtone apps – they’re not really applications!”

      1. And the iPhone doesn’t have any of those? How do you think they got to 180,000?

        I’m pretty sure if developer interest shifts to an even between Apple and Android (which will probably take longer than people assume), they will come closer in terms of pure app count; and both stores will have the same ratio of useful to useless apps.

        On a side note, I’ld rather have an app store with less than more censorship. If the Android Store at some point gets a decent facelift that allows for better discoverability no one will care about the wallpaper apps anymore, because no one will find them. Just like no one finds the 50,000 flashlight apps on the AppStore.

  20. Also try Droid X, and Droid 2, and a bunch of new HTC, Dell with Super AMOLED and faster processors that are coming in the next few months, and LG's upcoming Android line, and a bunch of new much cheaper Android phones. Consider the current Android phones are still kind of as expensive as the iPhone. Wait and see how fast Android will sell once Virgin Mobile, MetroCPS and all the other pre-paid carriers in the world start selling $99 Android phones for pre-pay plans, no more signing up for $2000+ contracts on iPhones or Android phones, just pay $99 and get pre-paid minutes or even just get pre-paid data to use for Google Voice on VOIP data-only networks.

  21. Did you try the new Samsung Super AMOLED Android phones, Galaxy S, Galaxy S Pro, Samsung Beam, those have longer battery runtimes and the Super AMOLED 4″ is much better than iPhone retina 3.5″. If you want to be productive with web apps, web browsing and stuff, a larger screen makes you much more productive.

  22. I beat the crap out of my phones. The glass on both sides is brilliant and feels so good in my hands. I have a Speck case that protects it pretty well though.

  23. Great article Robert. I love to hear about people's experiences with each and how it caters to your usage patterns. I wish more people would understand that it's a personal choice to use these devices and there is no universal truth. Different strokes for different folks…and all that.

  24. I agree the gap between Android and iOS is narrowing, but I believe when the gap completely closes, I'll still prefer the Apple ecosystem since they ALWAYS consider the hardware and the software combination. I've been down that road that Android is going and I didn't like it. You have a bunch of different handsets with a hodgepodge of Android implementations and very little consistency. With that said, I respect Android and the people who use the devices, but it's simply not for me.

  25. As an owner of the iPhone 4, I gotta say I'm in agreement with you Robert. I also hope that Andriod continues to grow and develop as competition is good for users of both brands. I really think if Google took control and make their own hardware and put more controls into their .app store, the iPhone would be in big trouble.

    I think letting other manufacturers make their product will keep them a step behind. Kinda like the Windows thing? I think so.

  26. GMail has the best spam catcher of anyone. Yahoo, by comparison, is lame. And yes, filters make GMail dance.

    I'm finding my iPhone is becoming indispensable. Cardstar lets your enter the membership numbers for all those little plastic cards that stores scan. It creates the barcode on the iPhone so no need to carry the cards any more. And that's just one app.TSA has an app that shows status of all US airports and lengths of lines (as sent in my users.)

  27. Android on GSM (ATT and Tmobile) = simultaneous Voice and Data

    Droid/Android on CDMA (Verizon and Sprint) = Voice OR Data (not simultaneous unless also on WiFi or Sprint 4G)

  28. It is a well known fact that you can not do simultaneous voice and data on CDMA (sprint and verizon).

    The only way to do voice and data on a 'droid' is to have WiFi available. The sprint 4G EVO only does simultaneous voice and data if you are on CDMA for voice and 4G for data.

    Take your Droid, turn off WiFi and let me know if you can talk and surf the web at the same time.

  29. I use both the iPhone (3G) and MyTouch 3G. For those that believe the Android applications offer as much as the App store in terms of quality and function I would like your comments on the following:
    1. Why do I have far more applications crashes and failures on the Android phone (1.6) than my jailbroken, unlocked iPhone?
    2. In terms of specific applications, why do I not see a turn-by-turn app on Android the same quality as MotionX Drive on the iPhone? I’m aware of the free Google Nav which does not compare to MotionX
    3. Why are Android OS upgrades in such a state of uncertainity with each carrier? I’ve only seen one update from TMobile (1.5 – 1.6) since I’ve had the MyTouch and there seems to be a lot of confusion with all the carriers about updates and which phone model will get them, etc. This can’t be good for the future of Android. I get regular updates for the jailbroke iPhone and only have to wait a few days or at most a couple of weeks until the Apple updates are available for jailbroken phones.

    I’m not trolling here. I like both phones and can easily switch between both. I would eventually like to settle with one. I’m not convinced Android provides the same quality experience as the iPhone. App to app, the iPhone apps always seemed much more polished and well behaved. Would like feedback please.

  30. Louis, considering the 'rumor' that Apple too is working on setting up its cloud strategy right (Lala is first example), will you consider moving back to iPhone as it will do away with most of the limitations that you had listed in your column?

  31. Welcome back Robert. Nobody seems to mention the glass on BOTH SIDES of the iPhone 4. I'd probably go through one a week?! Looking seriously at the Droid X. The reason … at least for now …. AT&T simply doesn't work out here in the backcountry (but the phones remain readily available?!)

  32. The point about how iPhone owners have and use a lot more apps is an interesting one. I'm wondering if there is something inherent about the iPhone's design, or the way Apple has promoted its use that has created this kind of app culture.

    With my iPhone and my iPad, from the beginning I've been fine with paying for apps, even though I haven't been as ready to pay for other forms of digital content such as movies or music in the past. Have they just conditioned me to pay for stuff, or is there something about the product that just makes you accept it and use it that way? Even if Android phones were on the same level as the iPhone, I'm still not sure that people would use apps as much and that developers would make as much money.

  33. I'm an Android user and my main reason for not buying a lot of apps is the quality of Android apps are much lower, as Robert mentioned in the article. The App/developer situation is one of the most frustrating things about Android. It looks to me that many developers are doing apps as weekend projects and pushing stuff out that's very low quality and not charging for it. It's good that it gives us consumers free software, but the adverse effect is it's making the App Store full of low quality apps and crapware. Maybe it's because Android falls into the “open source” ecosystem, an ecosystem full of weekend warrior developers. Open source developers are in an industry built on giving the product away for free.

    I don't think Android is full of price sensitive customers, there's just not enough stuff in the market worth buying. People pay money for things they want, especially when we're talking a few bucks. Hell, most App developers will offer up a refund no problem at all anyways.

  34. “The screen on the iPhone 4 is simply superior to anything Android has today. Leo told me “wait until you see the Samsung.” Well, OK, but the Samsung isn’t out yet. When it is I’ll try it out and see if that gets me to kick my iPhone habit.”

    I have the new Samsung here right beside me, and I can definitely say Apple doesn't have the screen quality advantage anymore. Colors are more vivid and it operates perfectly in direct sunlight. Even though it does lack a few ppi compared to the iP4 it isn't noticable.

    Further I think both platforms have their own pro's and cons. There isn't a 'best' one. I'd love to have an iPhone, but love my Galaxy S as well. What might be an advantage to one may be a disadvantage to another. I say live and let live.

  35. I'm guessing you've never sold software in a retail setting. This story has played out many times with consoles.

    For example, the Nintendo Wii is a larger market than the XBox 360. But the attach rate and average revenue per user is higher for the 360.

    It looks like ARPU will be higher on the iPhone for the foreseeable future because:

    1) Android users are price sensitive
    2) friction between the user's wallet and the developer's wallet
    3) Google is incentivized to commoditize Apps because they are a complement to advertising. Apple takes a 30% cut and is incentivized to maximize App revenue
    4) Apple has 125 million credit cards in iTunes

    Step 0: Charge Customer. doesn't even work on Android since Google Checkout is US and UK only.

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