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?


  1. No, I meant I’d have to make too many different versions with Android for all the different phones.

  2. Just became a new 3GS user (4 months) after 3 years of Windows Mobile 6.0, 6.1 and 6.5. iPhone 4 is still on its way here in Italy, but honestly here we are still a “province of the empire” for some kind of core Android services. For instance we don't have Google Voice and some new models of Android phones are not quite good supported by our TelCo companies so we don't have the proper flat fee.
    So for the moment I can't say I won't leave my iPhone, even because I can't stand GMail :-)

  3. I believe that Android will never by equivalent to IOS for the same reason that Windows is not equivalent to Apple's OS. Apple makes both the hardware and software thus they work together efficiently. Androind like windows is made to work with many hardware configurations which in my opinion will always be a disadvantage.

  4. I know Robert. Don't want to go off topic with Gmail, but I receive as an average 200 spam emails per week, and the fact that I can't block some addresses or domains makes me crazy. In my case filters are not the answer unfortunately. Not to talk about the privacy theme. But that's another story ;-)

  5. Robert: I was one of the early adopters of the EVO thanks to Google IO. I loved the phone but I did not feel it was enough to leave the iPhone. I sold it two weeks ago and now I miss Android a lot.

    I really miss having voice input everywhere and being able to productively do a search in Google Maps, which is far superior than Maps in the iPhone. I also miss a lot having a FUNCTIONAL cloud-oriented system with all my Google based apps.

    Last but not least: I miss having unobtrusive notifications. Push notifications are the CANCER that kills the love I have for the iOS ecosystem. I hate very time a notification pops up and interrupts me and moreover I hate not being able to have a unified inbox of first and third party notifications as Android do in the top Notifications Bar.

    Now I am considering going back… but there is no phone that appeals me as the iPhone 4 does…

    What a dilemma.

  6. Android Twitter and Facebook apps have improved quite a lot in recent versions of the better apps, so that one is a wash now. AppBrain.com is the AppFire for Android. App interface consistency is definitely an issue. Build quality does suffer on some phones and is excellent on higher end devices. The gap is narrowing and I fully appreciate that it isnt close enough for some people.

  7. Well, I am not a gamer so the fact of lots of games is neither here or there. I do use the phone as a phone about half the time (so retro, I know) and the Hero is very comfortable (possibly because it is just a little bigger it fits my mitts): better than any of my last 4 Sony Ericssons (the 5th previous Ericsson was very nice to hold) on any of the older Nokias.The apps I need I have on the Android (HTC Hero in the UK on 3 mobile network). When I find I have a new need (recently a guitar tuner) the app is there. I don't want an app for most of the crap that is advertised: “there is an app for that”. So what!? I am also a contrarian so the minor UI inconsistencies (and getting around them) seems to amuse rather than frustrate me. I do pay for apps on Android and would have for the above mentioned tuner, but it is free. I can't help it if there are so many great free apps that people do not feel the need to pay. Does this depress the market – probably, and we should be concerned (come on Android users, pony up the 3 bucks instead of another latte – it will be better for you in two ways and us all in the end).

  8. The fact that you only use your iPhone about 5% of the time as a phone is telling – my phone is my lifeline, and if that goes out, I am so screwed it's not even funny. Between the iPhone, the iTouch and the iPad, Apple has really split up the functionality between three different devices. What the Android has done is combine all three of these functions. Are these first and second generation of devices up to par with Apple's iPhone #4? Of course not, but they are gaining traction every day.

    Because the Android is not locked into a specific carrier, it has a wider reach, despite what Apple and AT&T want you to think – in the end, their numbers will be higher…

    1. Trying to figure out how exactly you figure apple has split up functionality between 3 devices, the iPhone does EVERYTHING an iTouch does (and more), and the iPad’s big claim to fame is a much larger screen size… just how did Android combine these three functions? Sounds like smoke to me.

  9. I have been careful to try not knock the iPhone or Apple in any of the posts I've made discussing mobile, Android, etc. I like Apple a lot, as you know. I am happy with our iPads and enjoyed 95% of the iPhone experience. The polish of Apple's product and its integration with apps is unmatched. But I think the tide is turning, and we are at a point when choosing Android or Apple is a great choice, period. 12 months ago, choosing Android would be premature. This graph is intersecting, and Android is going to pass Apple. The innovation curve is simply too fast and too many people are aligned to help Android win.

    Even if iPhone 4 is the best mobile phone today, it doesn't change the way the ecosystem is being developed, and the capability of the device to match Android phones feature for feature.

    As I've said many times in many places, that we are talking Android and Apple is great. Microsoft, Nokia, Palm and others are out to lunch, and they shouldn't be seen on this playing field again. As a result, consumers win.

    1. I fully expect Android to pass Apple… in numbers. Like Windows, Android is going to become the primary commodity OS used by the most manufacturers/

      But given that, I expect that those manufacturers are going to find it difficult to significantly differentiate their products from one another. As such — and again like Windows — I belive that most manufacturers will race to the bottom competing primarily on price. And (like Dell and HP) phone quality will suffer accordingly.

      The recently announced low-end Motorola WX445 is just the first step in that race…

  10. So Robert, what do you want to do now?
    Saying Android should be trashed?
    All you said is personally preference. Other people might feel it the complete opposite way, like me.

    To number 3: I know you don't like that, but that's not true. It's what YOU feel is superior hardware. You say the display. Well, it's more in a phone besides the display. You can't call it superior hardware, when some components YOU like are better. The reception e.g. is way better on some Androids (same network). And there is no antenna which is defective by design that needs to be “corrected” by software, showing you wrong reception results. Btw, I think one problem is that there are so many different Android phones out there. There is no one Android phone. You might check a G1 and say omg what a crap. Then you see it's 4 years old (if I remember right).Then you compare the iPhone4 to it…and…well… The iPhone 4 is the newest model. So you need to compare it to the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S or the DroidX, not an old Android phone.

    But what makes me sad is that you are making such a Fuzz against it. Why don't you leave Leo and Louis alone with their decision. It looks like they hit you personally with this. You need to accept that their is choice. You like iPhone better? Cool. Buy it, use it, and have fun with it. No problem.
    But why do you try to convert people from Android to the iPhone?

    I'm an Android :). I bought it, I use it, it's the best phone in MY eyes. Don't you want me to be happy with it?

    1. Ryo: Try under two years, end of October 2008
      Android phones have moved VERY fast, The G1 was crap, but Google had nothing 4 years ago. 4 years ago the forthcoming Android phone looked like a Blackberry knockoff and no the iPhone knockoff they have become now.

  11. Well, I'll be free to buy another phone next year. So, if Android finally gets there, I'll be first in line for that. Oh, and Google has GIVEN me two free phones. Apple has not given me any. In fact, with Apple there is an additional cost of waiting in line to get the first devices. No one ever has to wait in line to get Android devices.

  12. Since buying my iPhone 4 I have put 8 hours and 44 minutes on it and driven more than 1,500 miles with it while downloading 420mb from AT&T (in about three weeks). Voice is VERY important to me. You might have missed what I do for work: talk with people! But online app usage is MUCH higher than voice and is getting more and more important every day. Even voice is starting to switch over to IP-based now, so AT&T is getting to be less and less of a factor.

    Plus, on my Verizon/Droid I can't talk to someone AND use the data features of the phone at the same time! That is a MAJOR disadvantage to AT&T, especially for someone like me who has to look at calendars and emails and other things while talking with people.

  13. I feel your pain. There is no “perfect” device which is why those who say Android is better are correct and those who say iPhone is better are also correct. It is, indeed, a dilemma.

    1. Android has been ported over to the iPhone 2G and 3G. It’s just a matter of time when you can have it one iPhone 4.

  14. That's it? I get about 1000 a day, although GMail catches them all.

    And +1 to filters. They are the best thing ever. All my non-important e-mail skips my inbox but doesn't get marked as read.

  15. “I’m in agreement that Google is the company I’d rather be in bed with than Apple”


    My take is that this a battle between the ad serving vampires versus the porn censoring werewolves. There is plenty of shadiness on both sides. My take is that trying to paint Android versus iPhone as a moral issue is rhetoric.

    Best product wins and the best set of checks and balances is competition.

  16. WHo cares? As long as they don't get into my inbox I don't care at all. You should see the ones I automatically delete that AREN'T spam, though. :-)

  17. Great to see an article here about trying to leave iPhone.. I had a hell of a time doing it myself when I moved to the Google Nexus One but after about a month of so I would never look back.. There's just something about Apple and the iPhone that made me feel too tied into their roadmap and their services. It just felt like a larger more successful AOL walled garden.

    I wrote about my change from iPhone to Android Nexus One here -


  18. I can see that. I felt the same thing when I had the Sprint EVO for a few minutes. But then I started realizing I was Tweeting less due to the lower productivity. Sure enough, I went back to iPhone and my productivity went back up and my enjoyment of being online went back up. So, FOR ME the Android system just isn't ready yet. Close, but not yet.

  19. Well, that's exactly the reason why it doesn't make sense for App developers to target Android.

    Giving away free phones creates a market of price sensitive customers. It's difficult for App developers to create a viable business in this type of ecosystem.

  20. You're using an old droid then – because I have the 2nd generation Droid and I can do that exactly! I actually did it just two days ago talking to a client about an invoice and with them on the phone, went to my email, and pulled up the invoice notification.

    This returns us to our first point of comparing the same generations with one another – you are comparing a first generation droid with a 4th generation iPhone and that is not a fair comparison to make. You may as well compare OSX with Win 3.1 for workgroups! :)

  21. I think AppBrain.com is better than AppFire in one key respect: OTA delivery of apps!

    Robert should try this out because this is the direction that Google is taking with everything — Chrome to Phone for packing your open tabs when you hit the road, cloud delivery and syncing of functionality.

    I can't see Apple enabling the App Store to do OTA delivery of apps anytime soon.

    1. AppStore on the iPhone has been available since the creation of the AppStore. Are you unaware that you can, today and for the past 2 years, do “OTA delivery” of applications? The only syncing needed for iOS devices is large media: movies, tv shows, podcasts, and music. Although you can download new music and podcasts from the iTunes application on the phone without syncing. Everything else, including applications, applications updates, etc is all OTA.

  22. Well, yes, I have a first-gen Droid. But I've also had an EVO, which is a late generation Android and I also have a Nexus One, which is fairly late generation. Plus, I've had DroidX and Incredible and other Android devices in my hands.

  23. There is just a just a #paidapppledge for Android apps going on. Yes, we buy many and pricey apps. It's ridiculous to say that people buy less apps when they get their phones for free… And not everyone is a Robert Scoble. I paid a lot for mine. Will buy the DroidX without a contract (expect about $650), so I can choose the network I like.
    Price sensitive… I've never heard such crap… unbelievable.

  24. But, Verizon is a CDMA system. It is IMPOSSIBLE to use voice on Verizon and also do data features. That has nothing to do with the phone.

  25. I bought my own Droid. But these are DEVELOPERS telling me this. They are all talking amongst themselves about what kind of business is showing up on the ecosystem. Are you hearing different? Please provide facts, sales, etc.

  26. Yup, THAT is one MAJOR thing that is making Google Android very cool and hard for Apple to compete with. On getting a new Android phone I just put in my email and password and all my apps, contacts, calendar, email, all show up automatically. WITHOUT hooking up a wire like iPhone requires!

    1. There is something to be said for having a local backup of your phone on your computer. Plus the speed of transferring your data over USB still has to be faster than OTA especially if you have lots of music and videos.

    2. One thing keeping me from Android: Only HTC have one here in NZ and it a crappy old version.
      As for Google services – Activesync for Calendar, and Contacts, iMap for mailboxes, Google Reader synchs content for NetNewsWire for RSS, SimpleNote synch notes, Dropbox synchs pdf and other files.
      The only thing I have to dock with my iTunes for is music, podcasts, OS updates and backup. I really hope iPhone gets wireless synch for those real soon, but I’m not holding my breath as it has to work with the same sync conduit as the shuffle, nano and classic iPods. However, USB/Serial over ethernet? How hard would it be for Apple to actually impliment that on the iPhone/iPad? Then it would just look like it was connected to the USB port.
      (BTW when hooked up to my Ubuntu netbook, I can also just play the content right off the phone. Brilliant as I only have an 8GB SD card in my netbook, and if I have my headphones plugged in there, that where I want to get my music and podcasts from too.

    3. Same as iOS. You add mail accounts on the phone and they sync calendar, contacts, email. How about talking about the huge LACK of Exchange integration on Android? There’s mail, but no ability to sync calendar or contacts without a hodge-podge of 3rd party applications – how is this acceptable functionality for a smart phone?

  27. Just a reality checking question: how often do you have a phone and no other internet device? It seems from reading your blog and Twitter stream for years now that you almost have have three pieces of gear with you (phone1, phone2, camera, laptop, tablet, etc.).

    BTW: I don't have a Droid (Nexus One on T-Mobile for me), but any Android device should let you check your calendar and downloaded email while you're talking to people — it's the new email that Verizon and Sprint can't deal with while you're talking on the phone. And it's the email searches of the cloud on Gmail that the CDMA networks can't handle. But everything downloaded already and appointments already on your calendar that you check before picking up a call should be in your calendar.

  28. Right. And THAT is what I'm talking about! I often need to work COLLABORATIVELY with people who are UPDATING MY CALENDARS while I'm talking with them! That is a HUGE feature for me.

    How often do I have a phone and no other device? Very often. I do interviews mostly with only carrying my phone. I don't carry my computers everywhere. On vacation I only carried a phone, too. Today, while at a party, I only carried my phone.

  29. When I developed my app for the iPad, I wasn't planning on doing a phone version. But everyone tells me I should, so I'm going to make an iPhpne version. I considered Android but as a small developer, there's really no debate – iTunes is just too easy. I mean, where do you start with Androis??

    1. If you think developer.android.com is *anywhere close* to developer.apple.com, you’re off your rocker and clearly don’t build software for a living. The tools are leaps and bounds better, the documentation is unmatched, and the entire developer portal/realm as a whole is an order of magnitude stronger.

  30. Wow, this real time commenting is crazy cool! What I meant with the EVO is that there was a line, even if it only lasted a day or two. The iPhone lines are legendary and a major success for Apple marketing.

    If you haven't seen the Futurama episode where the Mom store sells the eyePhone, you should check it out. Totally makes fun of gadget enthusiasts, the iPhone lines, and even Twitter!

  31. I don't think there really was much of a line for EVO phones. At least not in Silicon Valley, while for iPhones the lines went all the way around the block and people were waiting for nine hours or more to simply get into the store.

    1. Apple makes a phone only once a year, android doesnt. There is only 1 iphone and many android phones. Do the math

  32. I don't believe that's true, although if you built an app today you'd mostly build it for the modern phones like the EVO, the Incredible, the Nexus One, or the DroidX. Those will all work off a single code base.

  33. In a similar vein, although the Facebook app for Android isn't as fab as for the iPhone, the address book integration at the system level for Facebook and Twitter is really snazzy. When the Cliq came out and I was investigating Android, I tried one in the store, put in my FB credentials and watched my whole FB address book populate in under a minute, with photos.

    Apple seems not only slow on the cloud syncing, but this kind of third-party coziness for system integration.

  34. I am trying to collect a list of articles that talk about reasons to go (or stay) with iPhone over Android, and I'll be adding this to the list. Do you remember the one that came out last week sometime talking about the widgets and customization that became a negative after a while? I'm looking for that article; it was on Hacker News.

    Anyway, here's another must-read on the topic: http://www.marco.org/769340032

  35. Yeah, although the Facebook app on the iPhone DOES do some of that synching too. But, agreed. Of course if that really was that big a deal then we'd all be using Palm Pre's. :-)

  36. Nah, I've been on vacation for the past 10 days so have missed out on a lot. Yeah, Marco.org's rant is right on. But only a small percentage of consumers care about owning great products.

  37. Not sure why you've not had luck – on Verizon, with my 2nd gen Droid and have done voice and GPS at the same time in my car…yakking away and watching the turn by turn navigate me through traffic using Real Time Traffic (the app I downloaded in the marketplace.)

    I know…

  38. My 3GS just crashed before travel out of the country and I had to order the iPhone 4. I'd been contemplating a change from iPhone after reading positive reviews and predictions for the Android. But, I was forced to make a lightening fast decision and ended up ordering the 4. I'm on day 10 of the back order for iPhone 4 . . of course, I am going insane, not because I am anxious to receive it and the return of my mobility, but because of buyers remorse. . . will I regret not making the jump to Android??? . . Tonight, thanks to your post, I will sleep more soundly. Thanks!

  39. 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.

  40. “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.

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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?!)

  44. 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?

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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)

  48. 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.)

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

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

  60. 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…

  61. 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)

  62. 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.

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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.

  70. 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.

    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.

  71. 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.

  72. @ 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.

  73. 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.

  74. Robert, I didn't insult you. I was replying to Kaler.
    And “not everyone is a Robert Scoble” did not mean, you will get everything for free, but it means, that not everyone getting free phones at all, besides devs who visit Google I/O and some popular tech evangelists.
    I just wanted to point out that 99% of the people buying an Android phone. So it's completely off the track what Kaler said.

    We have a little communication problem, Robert. Must be the different language we have :)

  75. Step 0: NOT TRUE. Germany works. I know that by myself, and dozens of other countries works, too. I don't know where you get this information… but yeah keep bashing Android.

  76. I have been using a 3GS and a myTouch Slide for awhile now, and I must say, I find myself constantly using the iPhone more simply because it feels better. I know the Galaxy S has great screen tech backing it, I know the Slide has a physical keyboard… but those features are worthless to me unless they feel as great as an iPhone does in hand.

    Once these 4.3″ dual-core Android devices start launching, I pray that at least one of them uses high quality metal and glass. Then, I could settle on one device. Until then, I will continue using my iPhone until I get bored and want to mess around with Android some more… and then I'll get sick of using a play toy feeling device and want something more solid with better media management… and so on, and so on, and so on.

  77. “…why Apple will stay perpetually ahead of Google…”

    Is this important?
    Being NO.2 is not worth the existence ?
    I don't think so. My Android works and is brilliant, even if the sales numbers are behind Apple.
    That reminds me back in the days, when I was a Mac-user. I said the same. And it was. Funny how Apple-Users now trying to make people think you NEED to have the No.1 phone by sales numbers.

  78. I have an android phone (Hero) and a first generation iPhone, between the two, i still love my old iPhone. The screen is sensitive compare to the hero, but the one thing most i don't like with the android is that everybody is releasing its own ROM aside from Google…. Motorola, Sony, HTC… and way slow! unlike Apple, they're the one and the best final ROM. I'm now ditching my HTC Hero.

  79. Help me understand, Joe: do you really think that “constant Free OTA's OS Updates” is a positive?

    I know Froyo is just out as a reminder of the feature. But how important is it to get it in the afternoon versus when you set your phone in its charger base at night to auto-backup and sync everything? Or is it that you need OS updates so frequently that this is more important than it sounds to me?

    Or is it one of these, “this is just how these things ought to work” issues that doesn't actually matter very much without that attitude? That'd describe a feature in search of a benefit, capture by Android Marketing.

  80. Maybe you can't see it coming because Apple already provides OTA updates via WiFi.

    And because Android users famously use far fewer apps than Apple's, provisioning apps in the least time- and cost-efficient way (over a cell carrier) is 99% a feature in search of a justification.

    Yes, better to leverage your existing Google account and have it all just happen. But for a new phone user who hasn't already bought a bunch of apps and committed all his contacts and calendars to Google (the majority of phone purchasers), these are non-features.

  81. Yes, OTA is fine for mail, contacts, calendars (and I use the iPhone flavor of it). But as you say, the pits for music and video, especially if you actually rotate your library. Maybe you're watching some video coursework during your free time; finish one hour and D/L the next couple, as I've recently been doing.

    OTA is a bigger plus for people who don't have another computer, which curiously, probably describes almost zero Android customers. And I doubt very many of them will dare put the jinx on Google's cloud by saying that the Kin / Danger disaster could never happen to Google.

  82. Gee, I must've lost track of time. Was Win3.1 for Workgroups the leading OS in October 2009, when Verizon announced the “old” Droid as an iPhone killer? How often are we meant to buy new hardware to be feature-similar?

  83. My office overlooks the SF Sprint store on Market. On the EVO's launch date, I counted 24 people in line when I went out for coffee around 9:30 am.

    Maybe the reception was a bit muted because there's no 4G yet in SF. Android has in general been TERRIBLE with promising features like Flash that will never come to the early (Android 1.X) adopters; why pay extra for a version 1.0 feature that you don't know if/when you'll be able to use?

    I'd say the EVO rollout was pretty much a success in that sense — Sprint/Android fans were buying a product that most won't be able to fully appreciate. A sign of how much Sprint users wanted a more powerful phone than the Pre that was their last hot item.

  84. I hear lots of vague allusions to ease/difficulty of the “fragmented” nature of iOS or Android development, most of it ex cathedra. What I don't, but would love to see, is an open developer discussion, ideally from those who've worked on both platforms.

    What about the extent of challenges of different devices' assumptions about memory, connection speed/types, screen rez, even appearance given the dramatic difference of AMOLED (with its not-quite-what-it-says 2 sub-pixels per pixel), graphics device drivers, assumptions about keyboards, etc?

    Larva has published some assumptions about revenue per app that presents a real chicken+egg conundrum for developers. Who has developed for both, and can challenge that bleak outlook of today.. this year?

    How many machines do you have to do actual hands-on QA on? How many OS versions do you typically support? There should be a quantum jump in speed for Froyo. Can complex apps still target phones that will never get it?

    “Inquiring Minds Want to Know!” ®

  85. Apple got hammered by developers in 2007 when they tried to say, “Web Apps!!!” Developers rightly pointed out the many situations when you can't get on the web, or can't run advanced features in even a much better browser than Apple had back then. (My classic example: a Chinese-English dictionary that uses a proprietary character-recognition algorithm, has multiple dictionaries with tens of thousands of entries…)

    It took Apple a whole 12 months to document their internal-only tools up to the point that anybody could use them. As soon as they met the external demand, the app market exploded.

    I have no insight as to whether Apple meant to do this all along, but they can't deny they caught the wave at the right moment by providing access to a powerful new form factor. Unlike some of their misfires (the Cube, the Newton, …) they (1) did what they thought was right, and (2) hit the mark perfectly.

  86. What will *I* say about app on Jan 2011 when Android has more apps?

    Probably, Dang! None of them work worth spit on my “old” Hero that isn't getting Froyo!

  87. I don’t think the UI consistency and app quality issues (intertwined, I think) can be overstated. The sheer number of apps is a red herring on either platform. Until Android apps can get more polish, and (as much as it may be against the “open” DNA) a more top down, strict UI implementation across apps it will remain a haven for tech enthusiasts and hobbyists but never gain mass market appeal. I actually don’t think this is the developers’ fault. Google doesn’t seem to care about design or beauty so it should come as little surprise that the vast majority of apps created under that umbrella are inconsistent, unfriendly and ugly.

    Android and by extension its apps have a ways to go before it is a mature competitor to the iPhone in a market outside of tech geeks for whom emailing keyboard layouts to one another makes it a successful phone. Just being “open” isn’t enough if the quality and accessibility isn’t there for the average user.

    - iPhone 3GS and HTC Incredible user

  88. What are you talking about? iPhone users have always been able to do over-the-air app download and installation provided the app was 10 MB in size or less. In February 2010, that size limit was increased to 20 MB.

    By the way, users have always been able to download and install apps of any size via WiFi.

  89. Very true. During that period, Google received so much “inspiration” from its leader, Eric Schmidt, while he was serving on Apple's Board of Directors.

  90. Actually, Apple doesn't censor porn. Fire up your iPhone's browser and see all the naughty bits you like.

    But, no matter what, Google still scrapes every bit of information it can about you and your personal habits.

  91. Most Android apps are priced fairly and according to their worth, i.e. zero.

    Ironically, there are more free apps available from the App Store than there are from the Android Market (although the proportion of same is way less than half that at the Android Market). I think there are at least two messages there…

  92. 1) Yes, the battery sucks but it sucks less than than any other competing device. And I keep other things in my bag, Brett.

    2) iPhone is FAST, especially because of its processor.

    3) You got me on that one. Maybe I really should consider a device with any limits at all. Got one?

    4) You know what else Google is great at? Finding out EVERYTHING about you. In fact, that's Google's mission and lifeblood.

  93. Yea that's a great review. The games are the important point. Google is good at managing web things I think there's not enough titles available under Android Store. We can read books using Kindle App but still I feel, if the iBook Store is improved, we will get books for cheap price.

    iPhone is more productive than anything else! Good one Scoble!

  94. I was just wondering, have you used google gestures and swype? Those two apps are Android's killer apps in my book, and in terms of productivity they just blow apple out of the water. Oh and with text editing being fiddley, i had the same problem, until i realise, thats what the trackball is for! Everything on the iphone feels clunky and old school after gestures. I also just wanted to point out that a big difference in the take up of android apps is that you can pirate them. There are torrents floating around with thousands of android apps, personally I tried out a thousand or so before settling on the ten that were worth buying. With iphone, that is not really an issue.

  95. I prefer iPhone (4.0 with its proper multitasking, music will run in the background…) and I have no reason to kick my iPhone habit. But how come they sold more Android smartphones than iPhones in the US? There's a site where I found the steps of How to Install Android on your iPhone – to get a Hybrid :) Then I read somewhere else that it only allows the modified iPhone to send text messages and make calls. It actually doesn't support Wi-Fi and your phone can get hot in only several minutes of use.
    Regarding reception or antenna problems, I’ve recently heard the news that a tech entrepreneur has created a solution to iPhone 4 antenna issue, for both local and extended coverage. It looks quite funny. Here’s the link with the two pictures:


  96. The reason it's hard to move from the iphone is that android just doesn't have the apps yet. This is most obvious in the games space, where almost none of the smash hits from the iphone have bothered to port to Android.

    Why is this? There's just a lot less money to be made in the android ecosystem, despite the fact that there are a lot of devices now. There's 2 reasons for this as far as I can tell:
    1) Android makes it to easy to return apps (and get your money back)
    2) Android users are less affluent and are not part of a functioning micropayments ecosystem/culture (itunes has socialized mac users around micropayments for content). So they are less likely to pay even if an equivalent quality app is offered at an equivalent price.

    This is why there are fewer quality apps for android. When in doubt, follow the money!

  97. Follow-up: the obvious strategy for google is to simply PAY the top game studios to port their games to Android. Doing this for the top 50 games wouldn't cost that much (they don't have to pay 100% of the game costs, just enough to make it a “can't lose” proposition for the studio), and would jump-start the entire ecosystem.

    Given the recent Zynga investment, it's pretty clear that they'd be open to such a move.

  98. I would be more than happy if Farmville and the other cr@p that Zynga publishes were taken off iPhone and limited to the Android platform.

  99. he said that developing for android was more cost effective. For something to be cost effective, it has to pay for itself. That would make me think that he's doing better with android than with iOS, even considering the “larger” market.

  100. It's not just the OTA, it's if google develops a new software release, you'll typically have to wait less than a year to get it. Look at how many people complained about how “long” it took the motorola droid to get 2.1 (coming from 2.01) it took them an “insane” what? four months? Compare that to waiting 12 months for an update.

  101. With android you can sync OTA or from your computer. The only thing you can't sync with your computer are apps, and going from a factory wipe on my android device, it typically beats my ipod touch syncing with my computer.

  102. The difference is contracts. On contracts, the highest price point for a device is 199, the lowest is free. There will be a “race to the bottom” but with the highend so easily reached, it's not going to be like the HP and Dell thing.

    (unless they somehow convince carriers that a given android phone is SO basic, it deserves feature phone data plans.. then we're in trouble)

  103. @Scoble–Hope you enjoyed your hols mate. Don;y know if anybody else has mentioned above but there is a great App tracking App on Android called 'Appbrain' Try it out! All hail the Droid! ;-)


    This is exactly why I got my 100% money back from Sprint (thanks for being a good sport, Sprint!!) and went RUNNING back to AT&T, warts and all, to be FAR more productive AND MUCH safer while driving!!

    Living in LA, the ability to get stuff done fast, in the car, with one hand (get your mind out of the gutter) is crucial for survival.. I found Android very often takes two hands and the UX/UI is inconstant like you say.I'd click one place and stuff a half inch down gets clicked instead. Perhaps when the hardware matures, which will be at least a year (but by then there will be iPhone 5 rumors) they might be more on par, but this game is not even close. I want to love Android, I really do….but just cannot. This is like Win vs. Mac all over again.. everyone knew four years ago (except for die hard stubborn Win users) that OSX was superior, even with weaker hardware, and you simply got more done with fewer distractions and problems.

    Also, with Android I found myself Googling for instructions how to work things.. I never do that with iPhone.

  105. For those that haven't been following you Robert, and barring that super-short snippet in the comments, why exactly you want to “kick the iPhone habbit” ? Just curious, because from all your comments you seem to be benefitting from using this device, so it's not like a drug habit that needs to be kicked off. Unless there are deeper philosophical or socio-economic-marketing reasons…

  106. I agree, its all about the details – so many of my close friends have switched to droid but I'm not convinced.