IPhone 4 Vs. Android For The Indecisive

  • by , Featured Contributor, September 21, 2010

I've been resisting the cult of iPhone for years now. Hanging around iPhone users when you don't have an iPhone yourself is like hanging around stoners when you don't get high. At first, they seem like a lot of fun -- but after a while, they just get annoying. Could you stop with the giggling and the pizza already? I'm over it. And who cares if you have an app that lets you pretend to drink beer? Does that really make you cool?

The peculiar iPhone-user mating dance hasn't helped either. Within minutes of meeting each other, these strange creatures begin their song of love: "SQUAAWK! Do you have a GPS app?" "SQUAAWK! Do you have the pretend-to-drink-beer app?"

Android users, in my experience, don't suffer from the same sort of self-righteous smugness as owners of iPhones. They suffer from a different sort of self-righteous smugness. "I'm not such a sheep," their geeky coolness indicates. "I'm a rebel. A crazy person. With an 8 megapixel camera, so how do you like me now?"



And then there's me: your digital crusader, champion of Facebook, Twitter, SaaS, the cloud, social media, connectivity, and all things Interweb-related. A regular titan of technology, as it were. The only thing you have to ignore is the utter uselessness of my own little useless phone. WiFi? Accessible but difficult. Screen? Tiny. Qwerty keyboard? Not on your life.

No, something had to change, so I decided that it's time for a new device.

I trawled through Google a bit, and it pretty much came down to the iPhone vs. the Evo (and, no, it's not just because of that YouTube movie). I then turned to the source of all digital knowledge: my MediaPost colleague, David Berkowitz. "Android for phone, iPhone for everything else," he counseled. What if I'm only getting one? "IPhone, definitely."

That's it, I thought. That's all I need to know. Off I went to the Apple Store, credit card in hand. Got the shiny box. Brought it home. Told some friends. Got the worst possible reaction. "You fool!" said one. "Everyone I know who has the iPhone 4 hates it!" said another. "Will they let you take it back and exchange it for an iPhone 3?"

Buyer's remorse kicked in and overwhelmed me. What had I done? I was a true laggard; the early adopters had come and gone, and I was left trying to convince people that I'd never wanted an iPhone in the first place.

Even though I had already made my purchase, I continued interviewing people for phone preferences -- seeking, I suppose, some validation of my new toy. Another MediaPost colleague, Max Kalehoff, showed me his beautiful Evo. A doctor friend and Apple fanatic showed me his Droid. "I wish I could have stuck with Apple," he told me, wistfully. "But I'm a doctor. When somebody calls, I have to be able to answer. It all came down to reception."

I haven't activated my phone yet, and I may yet live to regret it. Take note of the purchase process, though. It's still going on, even with the product in hand. Perhaps I'm just wishy-washy when it comes to decisions in general, or perhaps I'm just resistant to cool phones. Either way, the "Decision Engine" couldn't help me feel better about this purchase, nor could Google's soulless algorithm offer a solution. We rely on our emotions to take facts from information to decision, and search engines are notoriously short on emotion.

That being said, they're generally replete with facts, so you can bet I'll be going back to them to see if some nugget I've overlooked could be my foundation for a new era of total phone confidence.

Got a preference? Let me know what it is and why, here or via @kcolbin.

16 comments about "IPhone 4 Vs. Android For The Indecisive".
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  1. Rob Griffin from Almighty, September 21, 2010 at 10:46 a.m.

    This was a riot. I literally laughed out loud on the train.

    For what its worth, I too am a 1 phone person and just switched to the iPhone 4 from a Blackberry. Simply put, i love it. Especially as a Mac user at home, the syncing is simple and the multitasking functionality is splended. The only quirk as Dave accurately eluded too is the ATT coverage for it as a phone. But the rest is so good I dont care.

    Conversely, my wife has a Droid 2 and while its nice, it is a nightmare to back up and sync. Plus it comes with way too many reploaded useless apps.

    I wonder how good Verizon's coverage will remain as the Droid usage ramps and if they will experience the drain ATT has with bandwidth issues etc...

  2. Paul Drew, September 21, 2010 at 11:10 a.m.

    I think many people have struggled with that. I was like you, but I went Android as an early adopter and I have loved it. When I show off my Android to my iPhone users they are generally surprised at how useful and functional it is and there is another game in town when it comes to smart phones.

    With all that being said, I'm tossing my Android out the window and moving to Microsoft Windows Phone 7 just as soon as I can get my hands on one. I wrote a blog about why that is directly related to this linked below as I've been explaining my position to my friends.

  3. Joe Laratro from Tandem Interactive, September 21, 2010 at 11:26 a.m.

    Kaila, I dragged my feet for years when it came to getting a real Smartphone. I was really waiting for Sprint to come out with a Mifi phone. I got very lucky with the HTC Evo timing, plus Matt (one of Brett's programmers from WebmasterWorld) told me that was the phone to get. It is amazing! My Wife has been through 3 generations of Iphones. She now has Evo Envy (and we don't have 4g service in SoFL yet). The only drawback to the phone is the battery life. I have used 4g in Austin and the Mifi speed was incredible when my Laptop used it. There are also serious advantages with the Andriod software and apps IMHO than the Iphone offers. I hope that helps.

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, September 21, 2010 at 12:10 p.m.

    The size of an iPad would be great for a phone - large enough to not forget it and see without using glasses and magnifying glass to see who is calling, yet small enough to fit into a mid-size handbag. It would be on Verizon just so you could use it as a phone. Otherwise, why not just get an inexpensive phone for phone calls and if you could combine a plan with a small netbook for everything else? Ooops, it's not Apple and once you go Mac....wouldn't buy a different computer. Wouldn't buy AT&T either. If the mobile companies were considered utilities, then.....

  5. Janet Roberts from Content by Janet Roberts, September 21, 2010 at 12:12 p.m.

    I really miss my ancient Palm Centro. Not near as sexy as the iPhone but I got reception everywhere. So I got an Evo. I do like it and the broad variety of apps now makes it more handy. I worry about security more with it because it doesn't have Apple's deathgrip on developers but I'm just careful about how I use, and I keep spare chargers everywhere because it is a juice hog when left unchecked.

  6. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, September 21, 2010 at 1:08 p.m.

    A true rebel has the Nexus One- so far so good :)

  7. Roger Toennis from Liquid Media LLC, September 21, 2010 at 1:19 p.m.

    I feel sorry for people who make purchases based on what other people will think of them. Ibalso feel sorry for people who are compelled to stereotype "everyone" who buys a particular product.

    Self esteem comes from inside, not from which phone you purchase.

    Fanboyism and antifanboyism are both signs of immaturity.

  8. Faisal Laljee, September 21, 2010 at 1:27 p.m.

    Definitely iPhone. I have used both, but iPhone is just too good. Sure reception is not the best (although improved with a case) but the smooth dance between device and OS, and its apps can't be ignored.

  9. Lauren Swanson from SheKnows, September 21, 2010 at 2:01 p.m.

    There's a reason why everyone who has an iPhone coos about it. It's awesome. Sure, I had my reservations before buying one, but after finally making the decision, I'm happy to say it's one of the best I have ever made. The people who pooh-pooh the iPhone are the same people who will find complaint with just about anything that is mainstream. (And/or/probably they're jealous.)

  10. Kaila Colbin from Boma Global, September 21, 2010 at 3:22 p.m.

    Thanks so much for all the input, guys! And thank you, Roger, for pointing out my low self-esteem... ;-)

  11. Chris Koch from Q1Media, September 21, 2010 at 6:02 p.m.

    I was an early Android OS adopter, and on my second phone - upgraded from a MyTouch3g to the Samsung Vibrant - wanted a larger screen and a better touch interface. Most of my friends have an IPhone, and like many around the country they complain about ATT's service. I do not understand why folks would buy a smartphone, if it cannot get the phone-part right. However, like most Apple products it is user friendly for what it can control (unlike phone service).

    Personally, I want control of what I can do with my investment and have choice based on competitive offerings in the Android ecosystem. Apple does not play nice with its consumers in its walled garden - it is there model and I do not blame them based on their success.

    Like any technology buy, one should key-in on what return they should get out of the investment. I need a phone and that is where my decision was made.

  12. Ira Kalb from Kalb & Associates, September 22, 2010 at 1:08 a.m.

    I think you made the right decision. Those that knock Apple and the iPhone for having a closed platform are attacking one of its greatest strengths — making sure that applications work. It is no accident that Apple was ranked number 3 for customer service in a recent Business Week pole. The other smart phones did not even rank in the top 25. It is true that the ATT service drops calls more than some of the others, but the others have issues that make the whole package worse. I know I have tried them. Of course, Sly and the Family Stone said it a long time ago - different strokes for different folks.

  13. David Thurman from Aussie Rescue of Illinois, September 22, 2010 at 9:47 a.m.

    Having used almost every brand of smartphone and OS, WinMo 6.1-6.5, iPhone , Palm WebOS, and now the Android 2.1-2.2 angle I am pleasantly shocked at how smooth the Android OS is, it seems a hybrid of WinMo 6.5 and iPhone, with the community of developers out there it makes me feel good to know I can always grab an app from the community and not locked into a market place situation. Also if my carrier quits supporting OTA updates, there is a large community supplying ROM's for almost every Android based phone and live on the edge. The support community of users is tremendous!

    I also was a dedicated Palm WebOS user, but Palm has somehow dropped the ball for it's users with nary a word on what's to come, and with the buy-out, and bleeding of staff, one has to wonder what future it holds for smartphone users

    Also having been a Sprint customer for 12 years with a small swerve into Nextel, I am now with Verizon using a Droid X (tried the D2 but the slide-out KB didn't give me any advantage over the onscreen) I am wondering why I waited so long.

    I think the real question is, not which smartphone is best or a person should get, but instead how can you not have a smartphone if you are a heavy email/social user?

  14. Philip O'neill from Philip O'Neill Freelance, September 22, 2010 at 10:28 a.m.

    As one of the indecisive, like yourself Kaila, I hemmed and hawed about the switch from a dumb to a smart phone. I was wary of AT&T - and believe me, signing up for service was absolute hell - but what finally pushed me to iPhone bliss was a review comparing the form factor of the iPhone 4 with (I believe) the EVO 4G. The reviewer unequivocally indicated the superior feel and construction of the iPhone, and that did it for me. I knew that is what would matter most to me in the end.

    Price wasn't much of a factor. Basically all phones I was considering cost about the same. However, I was able to work out a family plan with data and texting that didn't add too much to our monthly cost.

    Finally, I have no love lost for Verizon. I was almost certainly not going to stick with their vaunted service, since within the last few months, I had dozens of dropped calls in locations where I didn't have trouble before, such as at home. Verizon's solution? I needed to purchase a new handset and sign up for two more years of their nickel-and-dime, locked-device service. Uh, no thanks. Hard to believe it, but AT&T's coverage is actually better in my case.

    I'm no fanboy. I resisted the smartphone revolution for years because I found it way overpriced and low on value. Things haven't changed completely for me, but I'm happy with my iPhone. I hope you are too.

  15. Tracy Hill from Thillgroup, September 22, 2010 at 1:21 p.m.

    I'm pretty much a Mac guy, but I love my HTC Evo. The Google integration makes it for me - Maps, Voice, etc. With the Where app, in three clicks, I can find any kind of restaurant (by numerous categories), hotels, stores, etc. in my location, call them and have Google Nav take me there. Priceless when I need something in the field. With Google Maps satellite and street view, I can take a look at the location I am heading to and see what it looks like, the type of area, etc. The integration of the Google with my contacts is also nice. Need to conference call, Google Voice works great. I have found an Android app for everything that I need. Most importantly, I can swap in a fresh battery if I need to during heavy usage.

  16. Fabio Gratton from ignite HEALTH, September 23, 2010 at 12:22 a.m.

    I will make this easy. I am neither a apple fan boy, a hater, a brand lover, or a google aficionado. I have been on Verizon for as long as verizon has existed. When it comes to a phone, it's all about reception. Now i have a Droid X which is terrific, but I assure you that the overall experience and slickness of the apps still falls short of the iPhone. Yes, i resent Steve Job's ego and the Apple "walled garden", but when/if iPhone goes Verizon, I will be very tempted. For now, if you want something "smart" that is also absolutely reliable as a phone, the Android devices are the best option hands down. The good news is that with the new spat of phones we have in the marketplace we finally have a choice to something ALMOST as fun as the iPhone ... And right now, that's good enough for me.

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