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Holiday Face-off: Android versus iPhone

To end the first year of Stray Pixels on a high note, we reached out to entrepreneurs, bloggers and web personalities through the wonders of HARO and asked:

Which one, Android or iPhone, do you think is the superior mobile platform and why?

Kurt Elster, Project Manager, EtherCycle:

"I believe iOS is the default winner on the basis that there are literally hundreds of Android devices. Each device has a different hardware configuration. The result is a wide disparity of capabilities across the market. CPU, camera, flash, internal memory, bluetooth, network, screen resolution, and wireless specifications can be vastly different on any two given handsets. To compensate for the diversity of these devices, developers must either abandon devices or develop for the lowest common denominator. The situation is illustrated by Rovio, the maker of Angry Birds, who have been forced to officially ignore nearly twenty phones. That’s more than the total number of iOS devices.”

John deGlavina, Creator & Admin,

“I’ve reviewed several cell phones over the years, including iPhones and several Android devices. Personally I think Android has the upper hand. Google has managed to get it on lots of devices, many in the past year, across almost every network. In my opinion Apple has suffered greatly by being only on AT&T for the past 5 years. In the meantime other companies have had time to catch up and make better devices powered by Android.

Rebecca Flora, Idea Generator/Writer, The Art of Words:

“As a confessed Apple devotee, there is no choice but the iPhone 4. Like all things Apple, it performs beyond expectations. I can’t speak for all Android phones, but I had one friend tell me his Android worked just great after he dumped a lot of the manufacturer’s software. Personally, I don’t think dumping software I’ve paid for should be a prerequisite for a phone that functions as promised. Plus, I know that if anything does go wrong with my iPhone, a quick trip to the Genius Bar will likely provide a solution at no additional charge.

Brad Waller, VP, Business & Affiliate Development,

“The iPhone has to win out due to its uniformity across devices and systems.  There are four versions of the iPhone and virtually all (95%) are on iOS3 and above.

As a developer for both, the iPhone is easier  to develop for because we only have to plan for one screen size (and two resolutions of images) and I know anything I develop will work for 99% of the iPhone users out there. When we develop for the Android we need to worry about over 80 devices already out there with more than two dozen on the horizon, all having various screen sizes, 4 viable OS versions, and specific device options.

As a user of both, I find the iPhone more intuitive and uniform. Apple’s stringent guidelines make apps work very much the same and make for a better user experience. You can hand an iPhone to a small child or an older non-tech savvy adult and they get it right away.  Not so with the Android.”

Rakkhi Samarasekera, Security Solutions Architect, Visa Europe:

“Depends on context. Best phone for hackers the Galaxy S. Best for everyone else still the iPhone 4. It just works enough said”

Alex Shapiro, Marketing Director, CarBuzz:

“A recent study found that women prefer iPhones, while men prefer Android cellphones. I’d argue that each one has it’s place. On a personal preference, I like Androids more. You’re not tied to Apple and iTunes, and the feel is more organic of a community type product.

Bryant Harris, Founder & CEO, myRete:

As an App developer, iOS remains the undisputed king.

 In any market place you have supply and demand.  Android provides plenty of demand, but the state of the development platform for Android is such that supply will continue to be weak, with most budge constrained app developers steering clear.

In particular here is a list of items Android lags on:

— No credible In App Purchase/micro payment strategy.  Google checkout doesn’t count, no one uses it.

— No consistent DRM (Digital Rights Management) story.  Why would I take the time to build something if anyone could easily decompile what I wrote, possibly change it or even re-release it under their own name with some minor tweaks

— Android will never be the quality gaming platform that iOS is.  No console game is written in Java, forcing game developers who create the premium console titles to rewrite the games if the want to deliver them for Android.  As such, no one does.

As far as I know no one is making any reasonable money on Android Apps, at least not compared to a similar iOS app.  Until that changes Android is more or less a great ‘potential’ market, but not one currently with pursuing.

iOS on the other hand just has the annoying review process and associated restrictions.  But there’s millions of eager and paying customers to help make developing for iOS worthwhile.”

DJ Skee, professional DJ & media personality, Skee.TV

“I think that although the iPhone is aesthetically more pleasing by using a closed platform, the advantages of Android and its openness are truly the future. As we are seeing in the controversy with Wikileaks, openness in this day and age will always beat closed systems. In addition, the ability for anyone to create apps without restrictions or worrying about approval will lead for far greater innovation. The current numbers are pointing to this fact, and I just picked up a new Nexus S that I love.

James Pikover, Tech Journalist

"Android and iPhone (more specifically, iOS) are both great platforms, and both completely opposite. The superior platform is iOS, though not for long. The simplicity of the hardware and the limited number of devices (only a handful of nearly identical iPhones and iPod Touches, plus now the iPad) is so much simpler than the dozens of Android phones, each with a different processor, screen size, available memory, et al. Fragmentation is really Android’s Achilles heel.

Still, Android is growing faster than anything else. The latest Galaxy S phones are stunningly fast. If companies consolidate their Android models, they’ll easily overtake Apple. And because the updates to Android are so much faster, both with hardware and software, it’s only a matter of time, even if Apple starts making iPhones available on Verizon.”

Closing comments

Most will agree that there’s no stopping Android; the little green robot is now the sales leader in the U.S. and, according to ComScore, sits at 23.5 percent in market share (about 1 percent behind the iPhone). On the other hand, Apple’s prodigy is a formidable opponent — not only a pioneering product, but a mature one at that. Many of Android’s shortcomings (to be addressed in another post) are non-existent on iPhone.

According to a newly-released survey by Discover Financial, among holiday shoppers scoping out smartphones to give as gifts, 44 percent say they plan to purchase an iPhone for a loved one. Coming in a close second, 42 percent will buy a smartphone on the Android platform, and falling a little shorter behind, 34 percent say they’ll buy a BlackBerry.

Although the comments we received lean heavily towards the iPhone, this survey and others clearly show that Android has the momentum for now.

We freely admit the iPhone is a more mature platform. On the other hand, we’re fans of the flexibility of Android, of its many hardware iterations and enthusiast-friendly approach to mobile computing. In the end, both platforms will probably co-exist, even if Android ends up on top in absolute numbers.

Make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments!

Filed under android iphone face-off holiday best mobile OS HARO user-generated

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Open for submissions - Holiday Face-off: Android versus iPhone

The end of 2010 is nigh. Both Android and iPhone platforms duel relentlessly for current (and future) smartphone users.

Which one do you think is the superior mobile platform and why?

illustration credit: Gizmodo / Giz Explains: Ups And Downs Of Developing for Android and iPhone

If you’d like to contribute:

a) Please send your answer to leglevy AT gmail DOT com with the words “Holiday Face-off” on the subject line

b) I will publish ALL answers on the blog, as long as they don’t include swear words (!)

c) Make sure to include your name and title. No anonymous answers allowed

The post will be published about a week from now.

Happy Holidays!

Filed under Android iPhone Gizmodo Holiday user-generated fun mobile platforms Apple Google