Too often now, the reviews for Android phones tend to be very superficial – they play with a pre-loaded review phone for a few hours, they tap a few screens, an app loads, they cue up a movie already on the phone, they surf a few sites, etc, etc… and call it an “iPhone killer.”
Which is all fine for them – they got an early review phone to play with and most importantly, there are a lot more companies involved with Android so they can sell a lot more ads. There’s very little financial interest for mobile phone review sites to do a more thorough review since a real life comparison would point in favor to the iPhone. Of course, it’s hardly shocking since the web review you just read is free and they have to sell ads and what’s the point of possibly annoying dozens of Android companies they can sell ads to?
It’s not that the Android phones are not fine and functional choices but they are not iPhones no matter how much the first two screens you encounter make it look like an iPhone. NOTHING WRONG with that but just know you get what you pay for. That’s why an iPhone costs $199 with a contract while the Android phone is BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE.
But it all starts with the basic philosophy of why they exist.
Apple built the iPhone to extend their world class hardware, software & OS-UI design to a phone.
There is very little dispute that if you were to name a company that knows user interface design AND for consumer electronics, who does not put Apple at the top of that heap?
So, why is there a Google Android phone?
NOT for the reasons why Apple exists and sells things.
Google built the Android OS and gives it away for FREE because they wanted to be assured of having Google Search in the Search bar on your phone.
That is the vast difference.
Google realized the next generation of web users would be mobile and even though Google is.was the default search engine on the iPhone, Apple could switch them out and or the then current main competing OSes did not have to offer Google as the main search choice (Symbian, RIM & especially WIN Mobile).
And just offering Google just as a mobile search option meant nothing since it would easy to swap out – so what better way to predict the future than by helping make it and of course, since they had no experience with an OS, let alone a mobile OS – what better way to get companies on board than offering it up for free … so what is the one thing you cannot change on the Android OS – your search engine.
The rest, sure, Android will look like what every other phone looks like out there but like most of Google’s features that are a mile wide, it’s about 5″ deep … so the Android lists a lot of features but many features require several more steps or for instance, if your iPhone can upgrade to the latest OS? Just click on day of release like yesterday’s release of iOS4 – Android users? You have to wait until your telco approves – in some phones, that’s been over a year … yes, you can ‘root’ your Android phone but what is easier? One click or learning a programming language to upgrade your phone? And for the handset makers and telco, it is “better” than what they had before AND they get to gloom onto being associated with Google.
Google is still the best search engine but Android is merely functional … and design? Um, not so much … clearly not a strong suit of Google – just look at their ‘more’ page … would it kill them to have the icons that looked like they came from the same family instead of ones in different scale, shading and details?
Or the Android Market on the web (you can access it through your phone also).
Again, it’s just a different philosophy. Google is only interested in making sure Google Search is available on any many devices as possible. That’s why the OS is free and why handset makers like it – every other programming language either costs money or funds their competitor so Android being free is perfect and trading off for a locked-in Google Search bar is a worthwhile trade … but for the end user, you get what you pay for. It’s functional and it has features but when you look more closely at the features, they’re not iPhone-worthy …
The storefront is just not worth Google’s effort nor do they care very much either way. They list apps because Apple does but they have never announced how many have been sold or downloaded because it does NOT affect their Internet Search … in fact, even Android users thought it was puzzling that until the 3rd release of the Android OS, there was no UNIVERSAL SEARCH on the phone – only an Internet Google Search … again, Google is ONLY interested in that you search or click on ad links – the rest are just ‘there’ and it shows from the OS … but even Google is realizing the Android OS is getting shabbier and shabbier as different handset makes make their own layer on top of Android to fix problems or missing features …
As quoted, ”Google is focusing the bulk of its (future) efforts on the user experience … And they want to get the Android experience closer to the iPhone.”
So, Android OS is still a work in progress – and a fine phone OS for mobile phone tinkerers. You can mess around with its programming as you like – which is great for DIYers but for those who simply want to use a mobile phone that is robust, tested and built by a company building OSes for 35 years – the iPhone is a finished product.
You can also view this chart at a larger size by opening it in a new tab window.
To maintain formatting, the above is a JPEG file with its url links as graphics. They are listed in ordering for copying and pasting for detailed reading and info source.
So, remember, when they tout market share of the Android versus the iPhone, it’s not much of comparison, because one is a free OS designed to push Google Search on as many discounted devices as possible while the other is a fully functional world class design of hardware, software and user interface … that is the difference. It is like comparing the market share of a water fountain to a 25 year old Bordeaux.