4/26/10

iPhone VS The Android


Who will win the smartphone war.  There are only two viable options for supreme ayatollah of the cell phone world, the Apple iPhone OS and the Google Android OS.  Other contenders sure are trying, but just can't stand up to the technological might of these two fierce platforms.  My predictions below are for a short period of time, something like 5 years.

Androids Base
Android is a platform of choices.  You have dozens of hardware configurations and numerous versions of the operating system. The base are nerdy people that can't stand the closed ideals around Apples iPhone OS model. They like to have choices and are selective about what they use. There are also a large group of people that wanted the iPhone but couldn't get it on their carrier and settled for the Android OS. Finally, there are users just coming into the smartphone market and learning about smartphones from Android.  This diverse base makes for a really strong base of users.  The people simply settling for Android will probably jump ship when they can get an iPhone. The other two groups will stick around for the long haul.

iPhone Base
Apple has an amazingly strong base with which to stand against any competition. The American public and consumer public as a whole has come to expect good things from the iPhone. This  base combined with a willingness for improvement and their penchant for quality is helping apple to retain it's current customers and to gain new ones. Apple's base also includes a gigantic contingent of developers who maintain the large number of apps for the iPhone and are also constantly adding value to the iPhone platform as a whole.  The one chink in Apple's armor is their ability to massively screw over their developers on a regular basis.  If they continue to pull stupid moves they will ultimately erode their developer base and with it much of their user base.

Advantage Apple
Apple is currently kicking in the faces of all that attempt to oppose it.  It has amazing momentum and a loyal user base, and in my opinion rightly so. The iPhone has and always will be a consumer device.  It was not made for uber-Leet nerds,  if you don't know what that means it was made for you.  The iPhone was made for the normal people.  My 3 year old can easily use and navigate the OS, that's why people love it. The Android Platform in name alone is unabashedly aimed at nerds and tech people, which are a minority. It has more hardware, more features, and more more-ness and they have plans to add more. Apple's unabashed attitude of user experience above all else is what people want right now.

Small Hopes For Android
The one thing android currently has that no other mobile platform does is diversity.  They have diverse hardware, from the nexus one to HTC's awesome lineup of consumer friendly cellphones.  There is a lot to choose from and in several pricing categories.  They have diverse carriers you can get an Android based smartphone on most, if not all phone carriers.  Androids open and mobile platform allows easy transfer to any carriers with minimal legal fuss, and the ability to place it on multiple hardware setups.  Finally, they have the advantage of turnaround time.  Thanks to multiple hardware makers utilizing one mobile platform hardware updates are fast and furious.  The specifications of cell phones are increasing at a much faster pace on the android system than on any other.  This also the Androids biggest problem.  There is just too much choice for the average consumer to feel comfortable. On the Apple platform consumers know they aren't blazing new ground and are unlikely to have any issues.

Verdict:
While I can't say what will happen in the mobile phone market 10 - 20 years from now. I believe that Apple and the iPhone platform will be the dominate smart phone for a long time. Very simply because Apple designed a phone targeted at the majority of consumers and the majority of consumers like it.  They continue to innovate and they are rumored to be expanding their reach to Verizon, the largest phone cell network in the US.  In the end this battle is a numbers game, and Apple's platform is the most appealing to the most people.

Note: I know this is a really shallow look at the issue. I was only trying to render my opinion and not get to deep in the details.  If you want to point out holes in my argument go ahead I would be happy to have a commenting war with any who oppose me, but be sure to remember my timeline is the next 5 years.

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7 Response to iPhone VS The Android

April 26, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Fair & Balanced , I Like That

Diz
April 26, 2010 at 10:07 AM

So, has the Android company been around for a while? Or are they just a new group that popped up and is now rivaling Apple? Cause that would be impressive.
And if you compared Apple and Android to movie automatons, what would they be?

April 26, 2010 at 10:15 AM

Android is an operating system ( windows, os x, linux ) but for phones. It was created by a company with the name android and then was later purchased by Google and made available to companies in 2007. I'm not sure about your last question. But a movie analogy for Apple iPhone might be Obi Wan Kanobi, apple will guide you to your smartphone destiny. I would say the Android is the force. It's a wonderfully awesome tool, but in the end you decide to what to do with it. Dark side or Light side, it's up to you.

April 26, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Even with the advantage being with the iPhone, I love that Google is out there trying to beat Apple. Strong competition keeps both platforms strong and moving forward, and that benefits we consumers.

Joe
April 26, 2010 at 2:20 PM

Who had the best PC operating system in the mid 80's (ala 1984 Macintosh). The iPhone easily was the catalyst to shift the phone market from Razors to where we are now. For the iPhone to stay number one they will have to get onto other carriers and as you said really stop pissing off developers.

Android is something I really want to do well. I want an Android phone more so than I want an iPhone purely because of the open platform and variety of devices on a variety of carriers. What you can do on the Android Platform is put different wrappers on the OS. You can make an Android phone for a 5 year old or for grandma. I'm guessing you can also make an GUI for Android geared towards someone who wants to know the exact temperature of CPU 2 on their server at home on the home screen of the phone. It allows people to be nimble and develop for niche markets. The cost of that is the unified environment. Your comparing Apples to Apples every time you pick up an iPhone. Your comparing a vegetarian pizza to steak and potatoes between different iterations of the android OS.

iPhone OS has the iPad now. That is another way to spread apps out.

I call iPhone for a few (2-3 years) but as Android matures and gets more great hardware (Nexus One, the new HTC 4g device coming out on Sprint soon) it will be more of a horse race.

-This would be a great topic to debate on a podcast like fourm. If your interested let me know

April 26, 2010 at 2:27 PM

My Blue yeti and I would love to show up to a podcast and/or podcast debate. Send me a message on facebook, twitter, or email. Jonathan dot barens11 at gmail.com

May 12, 2010 at 10:26 AM

Also, keep in mind the impending Windows Phone 7 onslaught in Q3/Q4. If Microsoft's past forays into the mobile sphere are any indication, the phone will fail miserably. Still, the Windows platform is a force to be reckoned with, and the phones are spec'd to kill. If the UI is as good as it looks, we might have a winner.

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