By Douglas Mortensen
This is a question that we are frequently asked. I just typed up a response to a customer and figured I'd put it in our blog, and maybe we can refer to it in the future, and possibly help others who are just searching online & happen to stumble upon our blog. Here's the email, which started off as a request for a recommendation between the iPhone and Android:
Hmm. It’s a tough call. Both have their strengths & (minor) weaknesses. But both are worlds ahead of the smart phones from 5 years ago.
- More apps currently than any other platform, but android is hot on its tail. Overall you’ll find less apps that aren’t as high quality, because apple approves each & every app before they let it become available.
- More streamlined experience from device to device (all iPhones are very, very similar. If you upgrade from 1 iPhone to another, there will probably be ZERO learning curve).
- Arguably the easiest to use interface (although none of them are really hard to use or learn)
- iPhone apps work on the iPad (to contrast, Android phone apps work on Android tablets. But the android tablets are WAY behind the iPad in market penetration [and possibly quality]. This will probably change over the next 1-2 years)
- No Adobe Flash Player, which means that you will occasionally be inconvenienced by the fact that if you want to quickly check some website, or follow a link in an email, etc. that every now & then, it’s not going to work from your phone.
- Losing market share to Android (but it will be at least 2-3 years [or even longer] before this would probably be any reason to not buy an iPhone.
- Most flexible.
- WAY more phone options. Instead of having only 1-3 iPhone models, you get 10+ manufacturers creating android phones, and most have at least 2 current models, and many of “last year’s” models. So you can get bigger or smaller, thinner or thicker, keyboard or no keyboard, etc.
- Growing extremely fast (fastest platform growth right now) & predicted by most market analysts to be the leading platform by none within 1 year (already has done it, depending on whose columns you read)
- Tons of apps (not as many as the iPhone, but that difference is narrowing more every day).
- Most flexible :-) Although this is a strength, it can also be perceived as a weakness.
- The fact that Google lets pretty much anybody create any kind of app for the phones without the tight control that apple maintains over their apps means that there is greater potential for you to have two apps that are not completely compatible. I have seen people who get into the initial frenzy of loading their phone up with a bunch of apps, then after things start slowing down (because many of them do background updates, etc) they start unloading apps from the phone.
- Occasional app compatibility issues are caused by the fact that Google allows the phone vendor to make customizations to the phone operating system. As a result, sometimes a developer with fewer resources will release an app that they think is 100% android compatible, only to find that phones using the “HTC Sense UI” are not compatible (just an example). So they then have to spend another week of modifying their app & releasing an update.
- Fewer apps than iPhone (meaning something like 300,000 where the iPhone may have 500,000 [although I haven’t looked at the official figures too recently]). So it is possible that with an android, you are expecting it to work slick with your new DVR system, only to find out that they haven’t yet created an Android app. I would say it is an accepted fact that at this point, just about every business who is building iPhone apps is also working to build Android apps. And it is true that some who are just getting into the “phone app scene” would pick Android over iPhone for the first app that they release, and then do the iPhone after the fact.
I use an android, and I use it primarily as a business tool. I only load onto it apps that have real use to me, and I usually set them all to NOT run in the background (for updating data, etc). I may have the thing slow down on me once or twice per month, at which point I pull my battery & pop it back in, and I’m back in the fast lane. It is worth noting that I use the original Motorola Droid (released Nov 2009). There are much faster androids out now, so speed is less of an issue. My next phone will probably be a dual-core android phone (which I’m still waiting to arrive on Verizon’s network, although some other carrier’s already have them).
Then I wrote him a follow up email with this blurb on Windows Phone 7:
The other platform that I didn’t mention is Windows Phone 7. It is the newest kid on the block, and has a lot of catching up to do as far as market share & developer adoption. But all indications are that it will not have trouble establishing itself. Some industry analysts are currently saying that Windows Phone 7 will be leading the pack in 2015. Others say that although that may be true, it really is too soon to tell, and people shouldn’t base their current decisions on predictions going out 4-5 years from now that are based on consumer spending & adoption, etc.