So you’re in the market for a new mobile phone. The question is which do you go with? When I say which, I mean which platform.
There are really 2 major choices today:
So which do you go with and how should you make the decision.
The reality is I go through 3-5 phones a year. I switch, because I’m constantly testing my applications on my phones and I like to customize them.
So here’s the low-down.
The Apple iPhone: They come out with a new one every year and pretty much obfuscate the old ones within 2-3 years. That means limited support and none of the cool new features. The phones themselves are locked down. When I say locked down, I mean really locked down.
For example, Developers have very few options on what they can and cannot do on the individual phones themselves.
The biggest problem is the ability to launch background services when you start up your phone and you’re constantly plagued with iphone / firmware updates. Apple requires you to install itunes (which has a habit of setting itself as your default media player) and each firmware download as well as iTunes updates are always upwards of 90 Megabytes.
Apple gets to determine the types of applications you can have on your phones and can at anytime change their story. They require Objective C programming for all of their applications and while this may not be a big deal, there aren’t that many objective C programmers out there. (The number is growing, but the number is still low compared to Java developers).
The biggest problem is the fact that Apple does not support Flash. That means you’re limited to which websites and services you can access. Apple basically locks out the competition with their app store and buying and viewing movies from other services like Amazon? Out of the question.
Android: Any good Java Developer (and quite a few bad ones) can develop applications for Android devices. The phones are becoming more powerful by the day and there are more choices in phones. They tend to be thinner too. The Android philosophy is very different. When you download an application from the app store, you get to see what the application will do and what services it has access to. You get the choice of deciding whether or not you want it on your phone.
You can start up services / applications automatically whenever you start the phone up and most importantly (at least to me) is the fact that most Android phones have external media card support. Why is this important? What if you wanted to shoot alot of video? 32GB on an iphone doesn’t go a long way in video, music, applications, etc. I just recently purchased a Galaxy S II and popped a 64 GB media card into it.
I customized it with a custom OS distribution and have full root access to the phone. What does that mean exactly? I can control everything from processor speed to screen resolution. This allows me to set up my phone to conserve battery life. That’s pretty important.
I can do a point in time backup automatically each night of the entire phone and even set up auto-save of any MMS pictures I get. There are definitely many more applications out there and there’s plenty of functionality.
How does that play into everything for me? I like it. I get more flexibility and if I’m out shooting video on the phone, i can just carry an extra media card if I need it, although, I’ve never needed it.
It also hooks up to the entire infrastructure of Google. My contacts, applications, documents, etc. I’m not tied to just one service. If I choose not to use Google, but Amazon S3 for storage? There’s an application for that.
I like the flexibility. I can change the user interface and do whatever it is I choose to do. Android phones tend to be cheaper as well. As far as design goes, you get one model with the iPhone.
The question is, “Does one size fit all?” Only you can answer this question. Both phones are nice, but I like the flexibility of choosing what I can do with my phone. Android phones tend to have larger displays and are thinner than the iPhone as well.
There seems to be a phone for everyone. It’s just a matter of choosing what you like. Don’t get me wrong, I own a few ipads and iphones, but I always default to my android phone as my daily driver. Why? I just like the flexibility.