Smartphones

Five reasons Android is superior to the iPhone

Jack Wallen lists the top five reasons he thinks the Android platform is better than the iPhone.

While on vacation, I was reminded (yet again) how superior the Android platform is to the iPhone. How this happened was simple -- during my large family gathering, I had to work on several iPhones but no Android phones. As I worked on the iPhones, it hit me just how inflexible the iPhone platform is and in how many ways the Android mobile is superior.

As with any listing of this nature, every point here could be argued, but I wanted to try to keep this particular listing to facts and not just opinion. So, let's dig in and see how that goes.

  1. Application options. With the Android platform, all you have to do is tap the Menu button to get to the application options, even while the application is running. This is very much in line with how PC applications work. However, on the iPhone, you have to go through Settings to get to the application options. Sometimes this is circumvented when iPhone app designers add an Options button within an application -- but this leads to inconsistency, because not all applications have options.
  2. Updates. For me, this one is the deal breaker for the iPhone. In order to get updates (especially firmware updates) the iPhone must be connected to iTunes. Android, on the other hand, offers two ways to get updates: OTA (Over The Air) or using a third-party tool that allows the upgrade to be installed via a PC. The third-party tool will depend upon the maker of the handset, but most of them work very well. The OTA updates also work almost flawlessly. The only bad experience I've had with OTA updates is with AT&T, because they only allow you to check for updates every 24 hours. This can cause some serious frustration when you KNOW there's an update available, but your handset has yet to see it. But generally speaking, when your provider makes the update available, it will appear and be ready for installation.
  3. No iTunes. I have always been very vocal about this. I have a great dislike for iTunes, and there are a lot of reasons for this. It's not intuitive, it's a resource hog, and it's forced upon you by Apple, when you want to fully manage your iPhone. With the Android platform, there is not one single application required to manage your device. In fact, a single Android device can be managed by multiple applications and in multiple platforms.
  4. Multitasking. That's right, the Android platform does true multitasking. Sure, Apple claims the iPhone does, but I challenge you to actually manage multitasking on the iPhone platform. With Android, all you have to do is hold down the Home button to see a list of your running applications. From that list, you can switch between apps at any time. There are even third-party Android applications (such as Power Strip) that can be installed that make the task of multitasking even more powerful.
  5. Application installation. With the Android platform, you can install apps from the Android Market, from your PC by simply copying the file to the mobile, or even transferring via Bluetooth. In fact, you can install home-grown applications just as easy as "official" applications created by Android developers. For developers, this is a real boon, because you don't have to rely solely on an emulator to make sure your application works properly. Some people argue that this opens up Android for possible malware, but if done carefully, it won't be an issue.

There are many reasons why I personally feel that Android is superior to the iPhone, but the above entries tend to float to the top for me. Yes, there are aspects of mobile life that the iPhone does quite well, but for anyone that prefers a sense of true freedom with their devices, Android is -- far and away -- the platform of choice.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

155 comments
ml360
ml360

It might not be the future of the web but it is in control presently. Two words. "Adobe Flash" I know HTML 5 is the future but the web is currently infested with flash everything. For an excellent browsing experience on a phone, you have to have flash support.

halfbrain
halfbrain

Android is superior only from a perspective of technical freedom to do whatever you want with your smartphone. Not many people want/need that. Apple has always been about user experience and they are superior from that perspective. I personally prefer Android too but to make a sweeping generalization that it is superior just because of techie-friendly features is just not right.

Zsoldier
Zsoldier

Item #1 - Yeah, I agree it can be somewhat inconsistent, but I've noticed most App developers keep settings within the app itself. Item #2 App updates can happen OTA. iOS 5 will introduce OTA for the OS itself and it works quite well. The best part, it's all from Apple and not reliant upon carriers and multiple manufacturers. Item #3 iOS 5 will no longer require iTunes @ all. It does include some nice features, but will no longer be a requirement. Even now though, there are other options outside of iTunes like Spotify for example. It'll cost you though, which is pretty much same as Android. Item # 4 - This is somewhat subjective. I've been hard pressed to see what exactly is different about the way Apple 'multi-tasks' vs the way Android does it. From the perspective of a user, I don't think there is much difference. I can switch between apps all day and continue to run many of them in the background on iOS. For example, uploading a photo on Facebook, opening my nav app, then switch to my Music app. Upload continues in background, nav app give me audible directions, and my music continues to play streaming or off my phone. I want to switch back between my most recently opened apps, double tap the home button. Item #5 - As a developer, I can install my homegrown app onto 100 iOS devices before I have to visit the App Store for testing purposes. If I wanted to install apps that are not available on the App Store, I could jailbreak (which you have to root your phone on Android too if you want to install apps outside of official stores) setup repositories and install unofficial apps. Bottom Line: One isn't really better than the other. It's all about preference and how you use your device. If Android gets the job done, Great. If not iOS, Windows Phone, and WebOS are out there to match your use case.

ppeelen
ppeelen

... how do you move the "cursor", right click or view mouseover effects in flash animation on your android? You know, the main thing you do when using flash websites? For video I can see the use of flash, but most of the big sites with video have h.264 support.

mark
mark

"Tech"Republic remember who the audiance is. We are not on a sewing site or a art site. This is a TECH site for TECH's so it is justifyed as most all of the readers are "Techies" (And Android is better for Techies if you like to mess around with your stuff and about the same for non Techie people.)

trekei
trekei

Root is admin permission, you can install apps outside stores without root. Hence Amazon market being installed from a downloaded apk. Dont need root for it.

bernlad
bernlad

#2 - With a 20MB app size cap on mobile data connections, that is. Which means for larger apps, we are stuck to WiFi until Apple decides to remove that dumb restriction. Users should have the choice to decide whether they want to go ahead with the download on 3G despite the large file size. This "precaution" is more a hindrance than a feature for those who have unlimited data plans and apparently serves more to protect Apple from lawsuits and negative publicity for "failing to prevent uses from getting their data plans overcharged by huge downloads" than to protect users. #3 - But you don't need to pay for most of the software you use to connect to and manage Android devices. After paying an arm and a leg for the iPhone (the case in many Southeast Asian countries), why should I want to shell out extra for something to manage it - completely, at my own discretion, not Apple's - instead of getting it FoC? #4 The difference is simple, but important - Android closes apps that have been inactive for a period of time, iOS does not and leaves everything running and sucking battery power until you double-tap the home button to manually close them. In newer Android versions like Honeycomb, you don't even need to install a task manager for that, it's all there out of the box. As far as multi-tasking is concerned, iOS is nowhere close to where Android already is. #5 - You don't even have to root the Android device to install apps locally, outside of stores. Just allow it in the device settings. No warranty jeopardizing adventures needed (in many countries, jailbreaking an iPhone still has no obvious legal status, meaning you could still lose your warranty coverage). Basically, there is nothing iOS can do that Android cannot do better. The only thing Android loses out on is the number of apps and support from content publishers like Popcap (PvZ Android, where are you????). IOS is a wonderful mobile platform and integrates many aspects of simple and functional usage quite well, but it sucks when users have only minimal control over how the phone should work.

ppeelen
ppeelen

#2 This is not the case for OTA. Also (if jailbroken) you can disable the 20mb requirement. Besides that OTA on Android works like shit. Both on my x10 mini pro and my HTC Hero I just can't update OTA. I get the message "Update using your PC" or something similar. Does not work on a mac! #3 Since almost nothing works for Android on a mac, I don't think the comparison is fair. But even before the iPhone came there were already solutions of getting music from and to your iPod when for instance using Winamp. Also, its a good thing stuff issn't free, it has an tendency of a higher quality (I have noticed). #4 I think you have it backwards. Android keeps the application going (with less resources) in the background until the OS decides it needs to be killed. in iOS there are pre-defined functionalities which allows you to eather keep your application running or finish what it is doing. For instance using localization keeps you appication running, but for a upload foto to facebook it lets you finish your process and then put the app "to sleep", thus saving battery and more important memory. The more apps you have open on a Android device, the EVEN slower it gets. I fully agree to what Zsoldier... describes, He does seem to know what he's talking about ;) #5 then reset it and your home-free, in case its a legal feature. But have you tried installing an application to an android phone using mac? Not really the easiet thing. Once again, not really user friendly. If I want my apps tested, I don't want them tested only by those who are tech savvy. But mostly from those who aren't. Like most of the patform users are, I want those whom don't even see a difference between an android or an iphone. Those whom mainly surf the web, pay their bills, read their email and play some games. Using services like testflightapp or iTunes as a developer and can easily let those people test my apps. Good luck trying that on Android. #6 well, the most important thing iOS DOES do better is security. Using an adroid you just have to pray and hope your downloaded application don't do anything you don't like it to do... and if it does (without your knowledge), you can only hope google (or other store) finds and removes it for their store. But hey, then its already too late, right? An android application can do basically what it wants to do, even if its not in the manifest. So there is no security, only the illusion of it. Besides that, have you ever tried releasing an application on Android using Google Market? Compared to iTunes Connect and Apple's solution google makes it a pain in the ass to release anything. I get the feeling that google though "Shit, we need an app store as well... quick use the merchant administration even though it works like shit and adapt it for Android use". @ Apple: Buy a license, create a app profile and certificate, build your app, release it, get paid. Google: Buy a license, register some more stuff, send in a copy of your passport for anti money laundry purposes, create your certs, spend a day or two trying to get Eclipse to work, build your application, publish it, (hopefully) get paid (some). Sorry mate, it doesn't really seem like you know what you are talking about. Have you even used an iphone for more than a day?

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... a word you said. The average consumer will go where they want to get the app they want, without any understanding that if it's not the Android Market it may be malware; this has already hit tens of thousands of Android users in Asia because they picked up a free version of a pay-for game on an unofficial website and received a trojan that cost them money by ghost-calling a high-fee phone number. Apple's so-called "Walled Garden" has so far managed to prevent that kind of activity against average consumers. And that's really the biggest problem with Android: it's a techie's OS that, true it can do more than iOS, but it loses its simplicity and reliability in the process which has garnered an article by TechCrunch stating that Android devices are returned to the retailer many times more frequently than iOS devices. In other words, despite Android's higher overall sales, the number of truly satisfied users is far lower by comparison than iOS users and almost equal in overall numbers. One article actually worked out the numbers to the point that something like 22% of the smart phone market is satisfied with their Android phones, 22% of the market is satisfied with their iOS phones and, believe it or not, something like16% of the market is satisfied with their Blackberry phones. When you realize that Android is running near 47%, that means less than half their users are satisfied; of Apple's 32% more than 2/3rds of their users are satisfied and of Blackberry's 17%, almost all of their users are satisfied with the quality of their devices. The average consumer simply wants their phone to work--without having to tweak, reprogram, whatever. While I don't deny Android phones can be very powerful tools, they are NOT as easy to use as an iPhone. In one particular case I know of, a person purchased an Android phone and returned it within a week, traded for a different one and returned it within two weeks and is even now on either his fifth or sixth Android phone due to reliability issues. He wants an iPhone, but he can't get reliable coverage where he is with either Verizon or AT&T. Other owners I know have similar complaints about the quality of their handsets--many of them taped together to make them last out their two-year contract before going to some other model or an iPhone. Yes, techies love the Android, but the average consumer seems to love the iPhone more.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

@YAB: Think about some of the things you said. First off, I haven't said that Android was bad, you are completely right that each one is great for the market they're aimed at; they're just not aimed at the same market, though some would believe otherwise. So really the fuss is all yours. I am not desperate to denigrate Android, but I do point out that Android's users seem to be having problems with their devices. Why? Because Android is too much the techie's tool and requires too much manual control for the average off-the-street consumer. The biggest problem is that companies like HTC have made Android devices so cheap that the consumer thinks they're getting a deal and then spend time and sometimes money to realize Android really isn't for them. The proof of this is the relative high cost of supporting Android by the carriers and the very low customer satisfaction ratings from opinion polls. I'm not saying iOS is the best, only that it's the best for people who don't want to monkey with their phones. As for Ed Bott's security blogs, I'm sorry but I've not seen one statement of his proven completely valid. Yes, there have been some attempts to push malware into Macs by criminals, but so far none of them have had any real measure of success compared to attacks against Windows machines. Quite honestly, 0.02% of all Macs infected vs 15% or more of all Windows machines? That's a 3000% difference in success rates and I've pointed that out to Ed in his own blogs. Meanwhile, Android alone is still the most easily attacked mobile OS simply because it doesn't have that added layer of software vetting; Google doesn't pull an app from their Android Marketplace until after an app has proven itself malware. That mean's it's already affected unknown thousands of uninformed users. Yes, I do know there are some good Android apps, but still running with 20-25% the number of overall apps and the average quality of those apps significantly below iOS apps according to many reviews, not to mention that the developers of those better apps don't make as much money off of them due to piracy--well, that Walled Garden is simply proving more profitable for both the developer and Apple. Oh, and I said nothing about tracking--Straw Man argument.

YetAnotherBob
YetAnotherBob

@Vulpine My cell phone is an original Droid. I got it when my wife insisted that I had to carry a cell phone. She wanted to be able to tell where I was. This was after a stroke. It was also just before the Motorola Droid X came out. So it was a late first gen Android. I don't know if this helps you. Yes, it was already obsolete when I got it, but so what? It still does all I want from a smart phone. I have probably deleted more apps from it than it currently has on it. (Around 50 on it right now.) There are only 5 to 10 that I use regularly though. I don't see any reason to add more. I have also just not gotten around to deleting all the others. As far as I am concerned Motorola could still be selling the original Droid, and it would sell just fine. Of course, that tells you that I see no need to be running the latest and greatest. And that is true.

YetAnotherBob
YetAnotherBob

@Vulpine, You haven't told me anything that an iPhone can do that an Android can't do either. Both are phones with computers inside. They both can be programmed to do literally anything. Many applications exist to do many things. On both phones. Yes, there are some that are not on Android yet. There are also some that aren't on iPhone yet either. There are also some that used to be on iPhone that are not allowed by Apple any more. Android doesn't have that problem. So, why the fuss. Your posts seem to be desperate to diss Android an defend iPhone. well, the reality is that both work for a great many technically illiterate people, so something must be right for both iPhone and Android. The Author of this fine article found that he had five reasons that Android was better for him. And don't go on about the 'wonderful' Apple Apps and how secure they are. They aren't. Apple has been hit within the last year in both it's market place, and online. If you aren't aware of that, I would suggest you go and review some of Ed Bott's columns. But, there are others. There have been several previous responses to you that mentioned specific Android applications that do everything you have listed that Apple's iPhone can do, except charge you more. That seems to be the one real feature that iPhone has that Android doesn't have. There are no truly secure operating systems for phones. There are few for PCs or larger systems. The ones that do exist tend to be quite a pain to administer. But that's the price you pay for security. rooting your phone will give you some abilities that are blocked by the manufacturer or the distributor, but not really very many, and if you change very much, you will no longer be able to get on the network. If you need good security, then you will not be using a phone of any sort. Though there are custom built devices that will allow you to talk securely over a phone system. They are rather expensive. The sad truth is that Apple and Android both track you. They do that because they have to. So does every other Cell Phone out there. Smart or not. If the network doesn't know who you are and where you are, you can't use the network. The providers store that on the Cell phone because it works better that way. There are sound technical reasons for that, which you already know, if you are telling the truth about your knowledge of systems. If not, then most of your posts are garbage anyway. It can only be one of the two. Personally, I hope that you do know, and are not just trolling. If your phone doesn't track you, then your phone can't show you where you are, and probably can't find the network anyway. If you are using an application that needs to access your phones memory or location, then that applications won't work without that information, so on either the Android or iPhone, that application uses that information. If it works on the iPhone, then they do know your information. It's been all over the mainstream press for the last year. You can't knot know that. At least Android tells you about it when you install an application. So don't pretend that Apple's phone is somehow immune to security issues. It isn't. If you care about this kind of thing, then don't use a cellular telephone of any type. Or the internet either, for that matter, or any phone or radio, or ...

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Qyestion: how many users do you think are still on their iPhone 1's. Better question: how old is your Droid? Your own previous comments have made it only 2.5 years old where the original iPhone is more than 4 years old. Technology goes a long ways in 4 years as even you demonstrated by claiming, "I have updated the OS twice now, and didn't do the update a third time." My iPhone 3G came with iOS 2 on it and currently runs iOS 4.3 quite well. My iPhone 3G is just as old as your Droid. As for your observation of people switching platforms, well people are switching both ways as some do want the ability to tweak their phones while others--systems administrators I might add--are moving to iPhones for the stability and reliability. I have no idea what your daughter was using before her Android phone, but I think you influenced her later selection with your biased viewpoint rather than letting her make her own decision. You may have chosen what you feel is right for her, but just as I didn't appreciate my parents making decisions for my lifestyle I won't guarantee she appreciated yours.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

So far you haven't told us anything Android can do that iOS can't do outside of monkeying around under the hood. The average smart phone consumer doesn't know or care about monkeying around under the hood.

YetAnotherBob
YetAnotherBob

Isnt' this what we heard from Mocrosoft and it's fans when the Win7 phone came out? Yes, I do expect to see big sales, as all the iPhone 4 owners rush out to get an iPhone 5. But, I don't expect to see any real change in market share. All of the smart phones are getting users from the older existing smart phones. Only a little bit of movement from one platform to another. I see some movement from iPhone to Android, but not enough to worry Apple. I seldom see any movement the other way. I even know a couple of people who bought a WinPhone. One of them is even satisfied. The other one may move to Android in two years. Or, if WinPhone7 improves a lot, he may even stay there. iPhone is out for him, he hates iTunes. Qyestion: how many users do you think are still on their iPhone 1's. I am still on my old Droid, and still happy with it. I have updated the OS twice now, and didn't do the update a third time, I saw no reason to. I am currently running froyo. I have convinced my daughter to move from her old smartphone to Android. So far she is happy with that. I think shes is on the next version. Gingerbread, but I'm not sure. She does use her phone as an MP3 player, but my wife uses her ancient Razor as an MP3 player too, so it isn't some fantastic thing.

YetAnotherBob
YetAnotherBob

You can do what Android users have been doing for three or more years. Or not. Depending on Mr. Jobs whims.

cbellur
cbellur

...except ad hominem attacks, like calling people a troll. Seems like you are projecting your trollishness onto me. Can you please try to make some points backed up by facts, instead of labelling people with insulting monikers because they don't agree with your opinions (or perhaps delusions)

cbellur
cbellur

Wow, because I just connected my iPhone 3 times in the 5 months I have owned it. True, it does currently, for couple more months, require a computer. You have to weigh that against not having backups or configuring a way to locate your lost device. These are all part of the up front user experience. That said, it is quite laughable to say that having to plug your iPhone in once in 60 days for a firmware update is a huge disadvantage. Heck, if I had to do it every day, I would still go for iOS, because it has the apps. More apps, better apps... iOS pwn's Android in so many ways, and the best this dude can do is complain that you have to plug it into your computer... Well, as well as iOS devices have been selling, sales will explode when iOS 5 comes out. It is true, that a certain percentage of users have stayed away from iPhones and iPads because you need a computer. In a few months you won't. iOS already dominates Android, if you believe what Larry and Steve have put forth in terms of numbers. If you drank the Gartner/Nielsen koolade, then you are just an idiot Phandroidboi...

JJFitz
JJFitz

You do not need a computer at all to configure an android phone or tablet. You can buy one on the road without access to any computer and get access to your email, your contacts, your music collection (amazon or Google music), your Amazon or Google Market apps automatically and if you stored your movies on an SD card, you can put it in your phone or tablet and enjoy.

rhonin
rhonin

You claim to own both but condemn one. Troll.

rhonin
rhonin

It is here and will be with us for a long while. Follow the iOS route and ban it ( force filtering content) or allow it and steer future development away from it. Sounds like your company did the latter. SJ did the former. Android just allows the user to use it without condemning or embracing it. End of the day it is about user choice.

rhonin
rhonin

I have both, tablet and phone, Android and iOS (luv my gadgets) IOS is routinely used for games and most of my non- movie consumptive material while Android for Internet and office work. Music - both as I use Amazon. Allow the author his opinion. Yours portrays you as an iOS zealot.

cbellur
cbellur

I worked at a very large corporation, about #15 on the fortune 500. We had a Flash demo on our website. It was too much of a pain to maintain, so we got rid of it and replaced it with some simple JavaScript and images. The original Flash developer was a graphic designer. Despite Adobe's attempt to make Flash and enterprise product that developers like, via Flex, this hasn't happened. Apple was not the first corporation to spit out the Flash koolade.

cbellur
cbellur

Hmm... Weird. I just got an iPhone 5 months ago and have plugged it into my Mac 3 times. Glad they made me do it. Backups are essential. Motorola isn't too happy about all the returned bricks, by the way... Android is once again copying iOS and Apple by becoming the walled garden they said they wouldn't be. "Hey, Android device makers, make sure to follow those anti-fragmention (anti-innovation) clauses so that Android will be as bad as we make it" - Google.

heymrcarter14
heymrcarter14

in a little more than a month you won't have to use iTunes for anything. I realize that this doesn't help now, but Apple is fixing what appears to be a huge reason people switch to Android. Say what you will about flash, but I personally don't think support is necessary. As a web developer I can tell you that nothing of any importance should be in a flash movie as search engines cannot index the content. So if a website depends on flash for navigation, etc it is a bad website. Plus with HTML5 and Javascript flash is becoming more and more irrelevant since Javascript can do the exact same things. How can you fault iOS and Apple for a developer charging more than you want to pay for an app? What happened to supply and demand? Could you write an ssh app? Finally, maybe Android and Google do deserve some fault for all AT$T bloatware on your phone. When I took my iPhone out of its box there wasn't anything from AT$T installed on it. Why can't Google do whatever Apple did to make this happen?

mark
mark

The IOS HAS to use a computer. I had to use a computer for my iPhone all of the time. Since migrating to Android I only used a computer to root my phone get rid ot ATT bloat ware and since then I haven???t hooked up to a computer except via blue tooth to offload my photos and videos. The reason i got rid of IOS was I was on vacation and had no computer. After filling up my storage on iPhone by taking pictures and video I wanted to delete music so I would have more space. Not without iTunes. I had no way of getting rid of music w/o bloated iTunes. Couple that with Steve Jobs and Apples??? arrogance (not allowing flash, etc) and I am out . I am a Linux Admin and I use many free android apps that help me do my job (SSH Terminal etc) While on apple the simplest terminal programs were pretty expensive. The thing I see about customer satisfaction is at first the iPhone is better but it is not until you have used the phones for a month or more you start to realize how restrictive the IOS actually is and wish your phone would do some of the things standard on Android. PS The only reason I rooted my Android was not Androids fault but ATT loaded so many craplications I had to root to get them to stop running. This is AT$T BS NOT Android.

ppeelen
ppeelen

No, thats not what I am saying. My iPhone 4 is not jailbroken and works great. My iPad rund 4.3.3 and is jailbroken, also works great. But I must add to your comment, the last sentence is more of a compliment to the product then a failure. I rather have one option and suppier that actually work, then having several halfly done devices. Like I said, I have both Android and iOS devices and I rather take an iOS device any day of the week. The usual response I get from Android-fanboy friends is "Yeah, but hey you have a X10 mini pro and a HTC Hero... those aren't really good phones to compare with", which is bulls*it ;)

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

Sure jail breaking will allow many things that aren't normally possible on a iPhone. Are you saying that is the only way to make an iPhone useable? Personally I don't recommend people root or jail brake their phones for functionality increases. OTA on my android phone works great. That is the problem with Android phones. They are inconsistent. One of the problems with the iPhone is there is only one option and one supplier. Bill

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... those numbers don't take into consideration changes that have occurred during this third quarter which hint at a paradigm shift overall. For instance, this report at Technorati" ( http://technorati.com/technology/article/samsung-bada-will-be-rolling-new/ ) To quote: "???Samsung plans to build up its own grown software for their mobile phones to remove the competition of outside developers and device makers next year to minimize their reliance on Google Inc." This clearly implies that Samsung plans to essentially abandon Android for multiple reasons, not least of which is the security issues and uncontrolled and undisciplined developer market. Yet another report: ( http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/helloworld/27161/ ) "... the Taiwanese manufacturer HTC, widely noted for its Android smart phones, announced that it was considering buying an operating system. ... The OS in question is widely assumed to be webOS." This news is followed by: "Following HP???s decision earlier in the summer to wind down the PC and tablet group, and spin or sell off the Palm division, the company has confirmed it will lay off employees, particularly in the webOS section of operations," at: ( http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/hp-confirms-layoffs-cutting-500-jobs-at-webos-division/58413 ). This combination of news feeds implies that Android, despite being the single largest-selling mobile OS currently available, is about to be dumped by its two biggest OEMs. Worse, this report about Google's purchase of Motorola Mobility, "The acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a dedicated Android partner, will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing. Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open." ( http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/15/breaking-google-buys-motorola-for-12-5-billion/ ) implies that Google itself intends to maintain tighter control of the OS and compete on an even footing with the other Android OEMs. Of course, by owning their own OEM, Google has the ability to fine-tune Android to work best on its own products, just as the Google Nexus and Nexus 2 were superior Android phones compared to most of the competition. What does this mean for Android as a player in the smart phone market? Maybe nothing; maybe everything. To jump from four platforms, two of which are fading rapidly, to six, four of which are specifically targeted at consumers, means that Android may well lose that market penetration if Samsung and/or HTC are perceived as better products. No longer will it be Android vs iOS but rather Google vs Samsung vs HTC vs Apple. Why the shift? Well, most logically because Android has not yet been able to compete effectively against iOS in the tablet market. In fact, the best selling Android tablet isn't even a true tablet but rather a convertible netbook. Consumers really don't care what OS is on their phone or tablet yet; they want a device that's easy to use and reliable. Android hasn't really offered either to the average consumer; all it's done is offered a much lower price and a world of support issues for nearly every OEM who's carried it. Motorola reported significant returns, but alleviated that report by stating "... the vast majority of returned phones had nothing physically or electronically wrong with them. The issue has been with the software the users have installed." This kind of news clearly states that Android's 'openness' is its Achille's Heel.

Stalemate
Stalemate

Where are you getting those number from, Vulpine? Here are other numbers: Gartner last reported that in Q2, Android phones had 43.4% of the worldwide market (up 26.2 points from the previous year), while iOS phones took 18.2% (up 4.1 points from Q2 2010). http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1764714 Despite all the rhetoric about iPhone user satisfaction VS Android's technical savvy requirements, there is one thing that is factual: Androids are outselling iPhones by a factor of almost 2.5 to one worldwide right now, and their growth in sales is increasing steadily. People are choosing Android because, primarily, there is a choice to be made as opposed to the competition. Choice among devices, choice according to apps, and choice for management methods. *from the aforementioned link, RIM, Symbian and Microsoft all had negative growth from the same time period.

YetAnotherBob
YetAnotherBob

You are right, my wife is not an average iPhone user. She is though an average consumer. If you can't deal with that, then you need to rethink your position, or at least restate it. Because it looks a lot like there are excuses being made. Why you would care so much is a mystery to me. Yes, the Android I have is a good phone, with a lot of computer features. But, it is still first and foremost a phone. Your previous posts have documented that you have friends who can't get iPhone coverage, where Android devices get service just fine. OK, for those people, Android is a better choice. The first thing a phone needs to do is work. Can we at least agree on that? You seem to like a phone that doubles as a Mac computer. I don't rely on a phone for much heavy lifting. The screen is just too small. But, if I did want that, it's easy to add memory to the Android. The processor is probably as powerful as my old CAD station (that was a K6-300, back in the day). If, like the Android, your iPhone can have memory added along with storage, then it could conceivably also serve as a CAD station. But, the precision with a small touch screen and touch pad will never be up to a professional level. The same problems hold with use for animation. But there, it's a question of processing power. To use something like Blender or Maya well, I would need at least a quad core processor, with over a Gig of ram, and as close to a petabyte of storage as i could get. Also, long battery life would be a must. Rendering properly at a high enough resolution for professional work takes a lot of processor time. That's why the Studios use entire rendering farms that would qualify them to be on the top 500 computers lists. So, no, I am not a 'average phone user' and neither are you. Neither is ANYONE on this site. My needs are not your needs. We both are different from a lot of others here. Most are probably low to mid level admins. They will want something that can communicate with the network they are using, and make their life easier. Well, ANY 'Smart Phone' can do that. If it does what they want, then good. If that means an iPhone, then that's OK if it means an Android, as the Author here found it to mean, then that's OK too. But please don't pretend that your smartphone choice is the magical median for ALL users. Such a median doesn't exist. I hope that it never will, as that would mean that we have no more choice, and technology advance would be stopped.

YetAnotherBob
YetAnotherBob

You say you have a second gen iPhone. I have a first gen Moto Droid. It has been updated to Froyo. I stopped the updates after that. I use manual updating. From your comments to some of my previous posts, I would have thought that you used a first gen iPhone. Oh, well, you seem to be more interested in the religion of iPhone than the reality of iPhone. If not, then you might want to edit a few of your previous comments. If I read them like that, then others probably did too. BTW, from this, you can see that I also hang on to my hardware until I get the use I expect from it. For a car that's usually a little over 150,000 miles. For a computer (desktop) that's from 5 to 10 years. I may have bought my last desktop. For laptops, that's usually from 3 to 7 years. For phones, it might be even higher. Phones after all don't always take the beating that laptops do. Time will tell. But I hope to be able to use my current phone (Verizon Wireless 3G Droid) for as long as I have currently owned it. The change will probably come when Verizon stops supporting 3G. That should be from 2 to 5 years from now. I do hope you enjoy your choice in phones, but remember, it's really just a phone with a PDA added. Both are good choices. There are also other choices. The fact that I see around 10X the number of people who have Android phones to the number of iPhones is as you say, just anecdotal evidence. But, then, all facts are anecdotal evidence. All else is just opinion.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

@y.a.bob: What I said was that, "...the only effective malware to hit iOS devices have only been effective against jailbroken models," because of Apple's so-hated-by-zealots so-called "Walled Garden." Android, however, cannot make that claim; even Google has had to actively remove apps on a regular basis that are proven, after the fact, malware. You might also do your research, as I've recommended to you more than once. Apple is the top smart phone vendor even over Nokia and RIM now, while iOS is the #2 smartphone OS, second only to Android in sales. Your bias, again, is showing.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Your wife is obviously NOT the average smart phone consumer which is what this discussion is all about. I don't fault her for not wanting a smart phone, but to say she represents all or even some smart phone consumers is simply facetious. I might also add that every feature phone I used before I bought my first iPhone was significantly harder to use for everything but making phone calls; and that includes muting it. I'm not arguing that Android phones aren't a better product for some people, the area that my 'friend' lives in has limited AT&T coverage and the iPhone 3G(s) (at the price range he's working in) isn't Verizon compatible. Literally, he has no choice in the matter if he wants a smart phone. It's not that Android is better, just that it's the only game in town. That's quite a bit different from being a "better phone." What you seem to not understand is that while other companies may assemble the iPhone and these different Android phones, Apple designs and engineers their own products and requires the parts and assembly to fall within certain limited specifications. The only place where Android phone quality meets Apple's phone quality (speaking of hardware only) is where those Android phones cost as much as an iPhone. Finally, we've become a throwaway society--that's why I have to agree that "everything these days is disposable." Personally, I don't like it and I believe that's one reason why the US is losing its lead in manufacturing. American products used to be the best in the world and interestingly enough, many of them still are. Apple's computers are designed in the US using US technologies almost throughout, though admittedly assembled in China where labor is cheaper. Any Asian parts used in Apple's products still have to meet Apple's specifications for those products or Apple simply approaches another manufacturer. In other words, the quality is not necessarily the same. Apple, by the way, has fewer reliability problems than any other brand except RIM when it comes to smart phones. That, my friend, is an analyzed and verified fact.

YetAnotherBob
YetAnotherBob

Ayn Rand didn't like government or community coersion. that is true. But to say that she approved of dishonesty in corporations to rip people off is not true. She wanted honest dealings without any hidden agendas. That means that there would not be any gigantic corporations or monopolies, which can only exist with Government support. You may not have read her well. I do admit that a lot of her writing is slow going, but she is a very misrepresented philosophical writer. BTW, I much prefer Adam Smith. he was clear on what would need to be done. His prescriptions for Great Britain in 1776 would work well for us today, unfortunately, both large political parties pay him lip service, but don't really follow his advice. A free market requires that the consumer be given fair and accurate information. that information doesn't exist on the internet. EBay doesn't have a real way of verifying identity. You could probably go on EBay and re-register under another name and start all over. But that's a poor consolation for you, I know. The internet is a strange mixture. To fix it we need both a secure identity system, and a secure anonymity system.

YetAnotherBob
YetAnotherBob

@vulpine iOS is not immune to malware. If you accept any file from any source, you have some exposure and chance of malware. OSX has been hit the last couple of months by a group from Russia that took thousands of peoples private information, and millions of dollars. the Russian government took them down for other reasons, but fortunately they did take them down. Apple supposedly fixed that loophole, but there are others. I am seeing reports of incidents for Windows Phone 7, Android and iOS devices where malware is introduced to the device from the computer. iTunes is one popular vector for that. Most of these are Trojans, not virii. So, if you are a bit paranoid, you might be protected. But EVERY system can be broken. Some are just easier to break than others. It's interesting that WinPhone7 has already been broken security wise, when it's only out to around 0.01% of users right now. what does that say about the claims that if Apple or Linux were more widely used that they would be as big a target as Windows? My guess is that it's a combination of market size and ease of entry. Android has the second largest market share right now, with Apple third in Smart Phones. the largest is still Symbian, though that will change over the next few months. Maybe this could be the subject of an interesting blog here.

YetAnotherBob
YetAnotherBob

My wife is an average consumer. She doesn't want to EVER have a 'smart phone'. She finds all of them confusing. She doesn't even like to use Texting. she just wants a phone that will let her dial, one that will store phone numbers for her, and let her know who called when she turns it off for class. (She's a teacher.) Arguing that the Android isn't for the 'average user' is meaningless. There is nothing really intuitive about any phone, or even more so any smart phone, or any computer system for that matter. It's all learned. It's interesting that you mention someone who is having trouble with Android, and wants an iPhone, but can't get coverage for it. Apparently, form your friends viewpoint, the Android is a better phone. Yes, there are some manufacturers who have reliability problems. One of them is Apple. But, the manufacturer that really makes all the iPhones also makes many of the Android phones. the quality is about the same. Everything these days is disposable.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... that Android isn't for the average consumer-- they wouldn't know how to fix their issue-prone device.

KJSOARES2
KJSOARES2

I have a Motorola Backflip the first android phone released by AT&T and at first I hating the thing for the lack of what it could do, until I found the cyanogenmod site and now my backflip is running cyanogen mod 7 with Android 2.3.4 a.k.a. gingerbread, and now my phone is running faster than ever, I still hate the phone for the hardware limitations but the software side runs fine with almost no problems what so ever.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I have a 2nd generation iPhone that runs iOS 4 with no problems, though admittedly lacks a few features newer models offer. Show me a second-generation Android device that is running Android 2.3. You do realize that Android phones are in their 6th or 7th generation now, don't you? Apple is not forcing you to purchase a replacement phone before your contracts expire; the OEMs and carriers seem bent on trying to force you to do exactly that so they can get a piece of that Early Termination Fee that kills all the savings you garnered by buying an Android in the first place. Apple's in it to gain repeat customers, the Android OEMs and carriers are in it to fleece you for all you're worth.

JJFitz
JJFitz

"Your carrier wants to force you to buy a new device/contract rather than improving the stability/functionality of the one you have; which one is really more efficient for the user?" Apple wants to force you to buy a new device by not supporting upgrades to older hardware. Choose your poison. They are all in it for the money.

JJFitz
JJFitz

and that's why I line my hat with tin foil. :)

Blaxxeven
Blaxxeven

It's the Buggy & Crashy show. That's hilarious and true.

RipVan
RipVan

I thought the Apple iSheep stuff was bad enough. But to turn a small debate into an entire all encompassing life view is MORE than strange. A lesson folks!!! Don't get a death grip on any philosophy, it can harm you...

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I am a techie, and I am older than you, leesteph, assuming the 1956 is your birth year. I've looked at both and personally I find the iPhone easier to use and significantly more reliable. I don't know of any 3-year-old Android phone that can even run AN 2.3 while the 3-year-old iPhone 3G can and does run iOS 4. This isn't to say that Android is bad, but rather that the OEMs really are screwing up Android by trying to force users to upgrade their hardware rather than extending the life of their products. I, for one, hang onto my hardware until it's totally obsolete and unusable for any original purpose.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

But the Android does force you to use some application if you want to update it off-the-air. Your carrier wants to force you to buy a new device/contract rather than improving the stability/functionality of the one you have; which one is really more efficient for the user?

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

You stretch the issue trying to assume only one brand of Android device may be getting returned. Personally, I would guess that the issue is more like Yugo vs BMW where the Yugo is all (not just one brand or type) of cheaper models while the more expensive, higher-quality models are BMWs. When you break down the analyses to see that of that of all the Android devices sold/activated as compared to all the Apple devices sold/activated come to approximate parity for satisfaction levels--meaning that for every Android user who is really satisfied there's an iOS user equally satisfied--it really makes you wonder how Android phones can retain as much market as it has currently achieved. If you only looked at the market share of satisfied customers, both Android and iOS hold 20% but Android's dissatisfied customers hold another 30% of the market or so while iOS's dissatisfied customers hold less than an additional 3%. In other words, in terms of percentages, Apple's iOS users are far more satisfied with their products than all the Android brands combined.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

"Do you want Apple to turn off your ability to install applications from a CD/DVD?" Remember when Apple dropped the floppy disk? I see little difference here. External drives will be around for a while yet and I half expect to see a new external long-term storage format come along before they're gone. Many of your arguments are based on assumptions that are essentially incorrect. Apple hasn't blocked any third-party developer from offering downloads or disks for Mac computers from their own sites; Apple is simply making it easier for Mac users to find and access software while working to limit the access and damage that malware can and would do to those computers. iOS in particular is proof that Apple's "Walled Garden" approach works, as the only effective malware to hit iOS devices have only been effective on jailbroken models. You may not like that level of control, but the average user appreciates the escape from worry that another level of protection offers.

rhonin
rhonin

Ask yourself that same question a couple months from now. iTunes free, iCloud pay and from what I have seen so far, you still need iTunes. I sincerely hope you are correct. I would so luv to remove that buggy resource hogging poor excuse for an appnsuite disguised as a program off my notebook!, :|

rhonin
rhonin

Still stuck back a few years? Over regulate vs under regulate... That question has been around forever. Here, it doesn't matter. Some of us like iOS, some like Android, some like both, some like neither. Really dent matter in the over scheme of things. android vs Apple has been settled and not by us. By Apple. They have their market model, Android (Google +OEMs) has theirs. They are different. To compare the original article and discussions here as Google and Fed Res is ludicrous at best. Suggestion... Get counseling.

cbellur
cbellur

Android reminds me of the Ayn Rand desciples -- Greenspan, Rubin, and Summers (who, so unfortunately, weren't the Canadian trio of Lee, Lifeson, and Peart, who although influenced by Rand, also bothered to pick up Dos Passos once in a while and figure out that screwing people out of their money isn't the best way to go...) In light of the fact that the unregulated free market has basically failed, how well do you think the Android market will do, a mere microcosm of the global economy? These high ideal and philosophies sound really nice, but letting market forces self-regulate fraud is b.s. Once you eat the meat infested with bacteria, you're dead. Once you download the app that steals your identity, you're f'd. I still can't sell stuff on EBay, because someone (who I believe works in the customer support) in Malaysia basically ripped off my account and sold non-existent laptops to people under my name. Yeah, great free market... Good luck, Android. You're good bedfellows with Adobe. It's the Buggy & Crashy show kids... Hang on, it's a wild ride. Of course, the best thing about unregulated, free markets is the people, say at Google or the Federal Reserve, don't have to do anything. Just stand around, fiddling (with widgets?) while Rome burns down...

gitmo
gitmo

I had a car that wouldn't let you start the vehicle if someone had their seatbelt disconnected. That meant if you set some groceries in a seat, you had to reach over and pull the seatbelt over and lock it in place. I ended up hotwiring the connections so the stupid thing always thought the seatbelts were engaged.

heymrcarter14
heymrcarter14

In fact, in a little more than a month you won't need iTunes for anything really. OS updates will be over the air, and you'll be able to download them when you're ready, not when the carrier or device manufacturer thinks you're ready. Even setting up the device when you first purchase it is done on the device.

heymrcarter14
heymrcarter14

I've read a couple articles on CNet with headlines "Do Not Buy These Android Phones." I think the device fragmentation is a big problem for Android. You just made the case that the bad devices are bringing down satisfaction numbers. As a developer I don't want to even touch the platform. Yeah I could probably make a lot more money bringing apps to Android, but the development costs and time will do through the roof. Would you want to have to write targeted code for the different versions of Android? At least Apple controls the iOS updates. Doesn't it make sense that carriers or phone manufacturers would rather you just buy a new phone than let you update the software on the one you have for free? How about make graphics for at least 3 different screen sizes? Sure Android allows for more customization and doesn't make you fit in the walled garden, but because Android does all this I think Google gives 1 key feature back to Apple, and that is a great user experience across ALL the devices running the software. You said it isn't Android's fault that 100% of G'zone returned their device in your example, but maybe it is for not putting in some quality control to ensure that some device makers don't bring the platform down.

JJFitz
JJFitz

and that is great. Power to you!

JJFitz
JJFitz

when I said the survey is comparing a Toyota Corolla (iPhone) to all other automobiles (Android platform smartphones). It implies that all of the other automobiles are identical and therefore it is fair to compare them to the Corolla. Is a Casio G'zone Commando identical to an HTC Thunderbolt? Would you expect user experience to be the same? Afterall, they both run on Android platforms. Following the survey's logic... Let's say half of all Android owners had G'zones and the other half had Thunderbolts and 100% of all G'zone owners returned their phones but no one returned a Thunderbolt. While stating that 50% of Android phones were returned may be true, isn't also biased? Doesn't it ignore the Thunderbolt owner results? What should be concluded is that 100% of G'Zone users returned their smartphones. Is that Android's fault, Casio's implementation of Android, Casio's hardware, or user expectations? I totally agree with you that iPhones are safer for the user who does not want to stray from the iPhone compound but it does not negate the reasons why the author says that Android (OS) is better than the iPhone (OS).

richvball44
richvball44

Very inflexible, which is the author's point when he is writing within the context of tech savvy users who are typically more aware of the risks of installing applications from sources which may not be reputable. reminds me of a time when only windows users were tech savvy and only the techies could install apps because they KNEW what was going on..product became a commidty and we know what sorts of things happen when the less tech savy users of a product start using something that isnt "safe" tech savvy users who are typically more aware makes it sounds like android isnt ready for the masses lol

homesickalien
homesickalien

Perhaps an auto manufacturer which prevents your vehicle from driving faster than the speed limit, even 5MPH over is a better analogy. While there are few (perhaps none) justifiable reasons to drive without a seat belt, most people appreciate the flexibility to drive a few miles per hour over the speed limit while taking on no significant additional risks. In this way IOS is inflexible. Are you a Mac user? Do you want Apple to turn off your ability to install applications from a CD/DVD?.... or from being purchased and installed from a manufacturer other than Apple? Of course not, so why is it different for IOS? Very inflexible, which is the author's point when he is writing within the context of tech savvy users who are typically more aware of the risks of installing applications from sources which may not be reputable.

homesickalien
homesickalien

The point is not that iTunes sucks although that is the personal opinion of the author (and many many others). The point is that iPhone is inflexible and requires iTunes for certain functionality. The android does not force you to use any application. Also, there are third party apps which allow you to use your android phone with iTunes, not sure why you'd want to though.

leesteph1956
leesteph1956

I'm no techie. I'm just an average, mature (translated "old" *smile*) consumer who switched from iPhone to Android. I am very happy I made the switch. I find my Android to be much easier to use than my iPhone. I don't pretend to understand OS's, I just know it's easier for me to use. I find that I am doing much more with my Android than I did with my iPhone. The only drawbacks I have found is that a lot of the apps I had on my iPhone have not been written - yet - for Android (but I'm ever hopeful) and the Android Market stinks for finding apps. I think everyone has his or her preference regarding iPhone and Android, and I won't insult anyone for preferring iPhone over Android. I have a friend who loves his iPhone 4 and detests his wife's Android. To each his own. As for me, I'm a confirmed Android user until something better comes along.

cspratt1
cspratt1

This is a tech blog written from a tech point of view. This isn't People magazine.

Lucynz
Lucynz

Yep - most of the reasons he dislikes iPhones are the reasons I love them! iTunes is fantastic - it makes the whole software computer layer invisible. But then I don't want to be pfaffing around installing things or sorting out settings. Horses for courses I guess.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

This is one point that is absolutely correct. On the other hand, Apple is like that car maker who installed automatic seat belts that you couldn't take off as long as you were in the car. While I'll grant that there are certain very limited cases where the seat belt might have caused a fatality, it is almost a statistical unity that seat belts have saved more lives than they've cost. On the other hand, if you look at a more recent automotive simile, the more our cars become smart in protecting the passengers and avoiding accidents, the more our drivers are getting careless and letting the car do all the work. At that rate, we will soon reach a point that if our devices don't protect us, we'll leave ourselves open to total anarchy and the differences between iOS and Android are proving it. You say that "An Android phone that is set to accept apps outside of the Android Market is no more at risk than a rooted iPhone," but in reality the Android Market is so loosely monitored that even a non-switched Android phone is at more risk than the iPhone; Google has had to remove apps several times after the fact due to malware posing as productive or gaming apps making it onto the Market. The difference here is that you cannot simply 'switch the gate off' to accept third party apps in iOS which means that there are far, far fewer 'rooted' iPhones than there are 'switched off' Android phones. Also, "a single story about one person who had reliability issues with their Android smartphones is not enough to convince me that Android phones are unreliable," yet you totally ignore the study that reports a far higher ratio of Android phones returned by comparison with the iPhone. I was using the anecdote to illustrate the study mentioned in the previous paragraph, not the other way around.

JJFitz
JJFitz

Vulpine, First, as you say, the trojan did not come from the Android Market. This could have easily been prevented if users just kept the default setting to not allow application installs from unknown sources. If you drive without a seatbelt, you assume the risk of a more serious injury in an accident. An Android phone that is set to accept apps outside of the Android Market is no more at risk than a rooted iPhone. Android just makes it easier to take off your seatbelt. :) Let's not forget that even Apple's walled garden has not been immune from apps in the App Store doing more than they appear to do. Remember the 15 year old kid who made the tethering app disguised as an another iPhone flashlight app? If that was in the App Store, what else could be there? I do agree with you to some extent. The plain vanilla Android OS may be too flexible for the average consumer. I think some users would be better off with an iPhone or an Android with an overlay like HTC Sense. It's just like training wheels. Customer satisfaction comparisons between the iPhone and all of the Android phones and all of the Android OSes is a bit unfair - don't you think? That's like saying 75% of Toyota Corolla drivers are satisfied with their automobile while 40% of the drivers of all other automobiles are not satisfied with theirs. Finally, a single story about one person who had reliability issues with their Android smartphones is not enough to convince me that Android phones are unreliable. The article is really about the 5 reasons the Android OS is better than iOS. They are all valid reasons.