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Author Topic: iPhone vs. Android?
JoshuaD
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I'm a tech guy, but I've been incredibly stubborn about not getting a smart phone. I'm finally caving in.

I don't have any experience with the two main operating systems, but I'm going to the store today to upgrade my phone, which has finally died. What do you guys recommend, iPhone or Android? I'm a Windows user, and I distrust Apple for a desktop machine. That being said, a phone is a phone and I'm open to whichever system gives a better user experience.

Input greatly appreciated. [Smile]

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scifibum
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Just go with whichever one makes you feel sexier.

(Or, if that rubs you the wrong way, get the one that makes you feel less sexy.)

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JoshuaD
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Lol, that doesn't help at all, scifi. I really expected more from you. [Smile]
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scifibum
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Well, you said you were interested in the user experience. So hold it in your hand. How does it feel? How do you like the mental image of yourself using it?

Because in terms of raw functionality, who cares? They both do everything, and you aren't going to compare it to the other one, so they will both feel amazingly wonderful.

I'm not really kidding. Unless you already have such specific needs that you'd be able to simply check whether a particular model/OS combination can do what you want from it, either one will be more than fine.

OK, I thought of something. If you avoid Apple PCs, you're losing out on one of the selling points of a iPhone - it works well with other Apple devices. So you might as well avoid paying the premium and go with an Android device.

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JoshuaD
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So in your experience they both work great as a phone and pocket web browser? No big difference, and whichever seems less expensive/more suitable to my preferences is going to be fine?
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D.W.
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Android user here. The only snag is when my family who are all more iPhone inclined say, "hey have you tried this app?" and I go, "nope not available for android."

Then again I'm not huge into various apps so this borders on a non issue to me. IMO almost more important than O.S. or phone feature differences is coverage, plan cost and plan features. Then what does that provider support as far as phones?

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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshuaD:
So in your experience they both work great as a phone and pocket web browser? No big difference, and whichever seems less expensive/more suitable to my preferences is going to be fine?

Absolutely. I only have extensive experience with Android, but it works great as a mobile browser and most of the parts interact nicely - e.g. the browser recognizes phone numbers and lets me call them by touching the number on a web page.

From what I've seen iPhones do some nice things you can't (quite as easily) do with Android phones but mostly they would appeal to people who invest a lot of time and money with Apple.

[ August 09, 2012, 04:53 PM: Message edited by: scifibum ]

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TomDavidson
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I'm an Android guy, and have never regretted it. If you're already part of the Apple ecosystem, the iPhone is a no-brainer -- but if you're not, keep in mind that they have deliberately designed the phone to drive people to that ecosystem.
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JoshuaD
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Sounds like it's android for me. I have an iPod for my car, but I refuse to use iTunes. Thanks guys. [Smile]
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seekingprometheus
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iPhone here.

First and foremost, if you decide to go iPhone, you should wait about a month for the iPhone 5 to come out, or you'll be stuck with an obsolete model right from the get-go--especially since it seems likely that this new iteration is going to be the biggest-changing generation since the iPhones first came out.

Secondly, there are a lot of different models of Android. And it should be noted that--to suggest that Androids function just as well as iPhones, one needs to qualify the statement by indicating that top-of-the-line Androids are the models that are on par with iPhones. If you buy a low-cost Android model under the assumption that they are all the same, you really will find that you get what you pay for.

That said, there really is little difference between top androids and iPhones. And you don't have to have chosen the sides in the PC vs Mac battle to determine which one you like--I haven't had an Apple computer since I was child in the 1980's, but you'd have an extremely hard time selling me on an Android because of how much I love the iPhone.

To my mind (and this is a really subjective assessment) iPhones seem to be the slightest bit more intuitive for your general human user, and top of the line Androids allow for slightly better specific functionality for techies who know specifically what they want. In other words, if you're gonna hack the tech to make the device perform specific tech functions that your average user doesn't know about--you might be better off with an android. If you want to open the box and have it just make sense how everything works a fraction of a second quicker, you might be better off with the iPhone.

But that is a really non-scientific, completely subjective assessment without much behind it...call it an impression.

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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by JoshuaD:
Sounds like it's android for me. I have an iPod for my car, but I refuse to use iTunes. Thanks guys. [Smile]

Buy it direct from Google with the latest OS, unlocked and contract free. https://play.google.com/store/devices/details?id=galaxy_nexus_hspa
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JWatts
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The eco-system for the iPhone is both larger and less fragmented than the Android phone. In an office full of engineers, most of who wouldn't dream of doing real work on an Apple computer, over half have iPhones. Furthermore, the guys who have iPhones keep them, whereas the Android users are continuously changing to a different model, looking for a better one.

iPhone pros:
Large eco-system
Wide spread availability
Ease of use
consistent interface
Great screen

Cons:
Expensive
Apple logo on the back
No options for bigger screen

Android:
Pros:
Cheaper (at least there are cheap models)
Much better individualization
Bigger screens available

Cons:
Android market is fragmented, so programs don't run on all models.
User base is smaller

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seekingprometheus
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quote:
No options for bigger screen
Bigger screen is coming with iPhone 5.
quote:
Furthermore, the guys who have iPhones keep them, whereas the Android users are continuously changing to a different model, looking for a better one.
iPhone users upgrade to the newer generations too, but it is an excellent point.
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LetterRip
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Basically if you want/need really good portable music composing, go with iPhone, if you enjoy programming and hacking go with android, otherwise doesn't much matter.
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LetterRip
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JWatts, pretty decent summary but the fragmentation issue is pretty non existant - I've yet to encounter an android app that doesn't work just fine and have tried probably quite a few hundred by now.

The upgrade issue isn't really that big either, you don't have to upgrade some just like shiny new toys. Those who pick android are often more gadget enthusiasts and have gadget churn in general.

While there is some iOS advantage in larger user base that will evaporate soon I expect.

Ease of use I found about equal.

Screen quality - a good android had equal quality - ie nexus.

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MattP
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quote:
Bigger screen is coming with iPhone 5.
Somewhat bigger. If you actually want a *big* screen, Android is still the only game in town. Not that everyone loves a big screen, but I really like the ~4.7" screen on my Galaxy Nexus and that's at the smaller end of some of the latest Android super phones.

quote:
iPhone users upgrade to the newer generations too
And how. I used to be an iPhone guy and I kept buying each new model. Now I'm an Android guy and I actually am upgrading less often. With Android there are so many device constantly coming out that it's not really feasible to always buy the latest, which has the effect of actually lessoning the perceived need to upgrade.
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TomDavidson
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I've got an HTC Merge, but will be picking up the Galaxy S3 in a couple weeks.
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MattP
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quote:
I've yet to encounter an android app that doesn't work just fine and have tried probably quite a few hundred by now.
Yeah, the fragmentation thing is really only an issue for tablets and a couple high-visibility apps like Hulu Plus though those tend to work great on whatever the latest stuff happens to be.
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Jordan
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Joshua—just FYI, you don't need iTunes to set up your iPhone any more; you can do that over the air, and there are other applications that will sync your music for you. (I have an iPhone and I freaking hate iTunes.)
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
iPhone users upgrade to the newer generations too, but it is an excellent point.

Agreed, but generally the model upgrades don't require very much of a learning effort. I suppose it's the same for Androids if you stick with the same model, but every Android user I know has jumped to different phones when they upgraded.

quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
I've yet to encounter an android app that doesn't work just fine and have tried probably quite a few hundred by now.
Yeah, the fragmentation thing is really only an issue for tablets and a couple high-visibility apps like Hulu Plus though those tend to work great on whatever the latest stuff happens to be.
My experience has been with a Kindle Fire and it is a huge issue with it. I'm not sure what the actual compatibility is, but the gut feel is that only about 1/3rd of Android apps will run well on the Kindle. I'm glad to hear it's not an issue with the phones.

[ August 10, 2012, 11:24 AM: Message edited by: JWatts ]

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LetterRip
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Kindle fire isn't really android, you can root it, and install cm7 and it should run android apps just fine.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Kindle fire isn't really android,

Yes, hence my comments about Android fragmentation.

"The Kindle Fire runs a customized Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS." Wiki

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MattP
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quote:
Yes, hence my comments about Android fragmentation.
That's not an Android fragmentation issue, it's a Kindle Fire issue. Amazon made some deliberate decisions about not participating in several portions of the ecosystem shared by every other Android device but that has no bearing on phone selection. It's just an issue to consider when deciding whether to buy a Fire (or Nook Tablet).

quote:
"The Kindle Fire runs a customized Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS." Wiki
Yep. The Android OS is open source and freely usable so Amazon used it as a shortcut to bootstrap their tablet, as did Barnes & Noble with the Nook tablet. BlackBerry did the same thing with the PlayBook. One of the benefits of doing this is that many Android apps can be run on these devices with minimal changes, but they aren't proper Android devices. None are advertised as such.

[ August 10, 2012, 02:28 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
Yes, hence my comments about Android fragmentation.
That's not an Android fragmentation issue, it's a Kindle Fire issue. Amazon made some deliberate decisions about not participating in several portions of the ecosystem shared by every other Android device but that has no bearing on phone selection. It's just an issue to consider when deciding whether to buy a Fire (or Nook Tablet).

The Kindle Fire uses a fork in the Android OS code. That's certainly an example of OS fragmentation. And as you point out, it also affects the Nook Tablet. Granted, neither affects phones.
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LetterRip
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JWatts,

Do you call MacOS BSD fragmentation, or iOS fragmentation? They are derived from common code bases and some programs work without changes due to substantial API overlap. They are however distinct products and when advertised etc no mention is made of that partial compatibility since there are many deliberate incompatibilities and it isn't relevant to the end user except the geek contingent.

The same is true for Amazon kindle - fragmentation is only really there where compatibility is toted as a goal, but isn't compatible in practice.

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LetterRip
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Jwatts - also are apps from the amazon store incompatible? Or do you mean from other sources?
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MattP
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Typically fragmentation refers to the difficulty in supporting multiple form factors, API versions, resolutions, and pixel densities of devices that are putatively running the same OS. It's a real problem that mobile developers (like me!) have to deal with and increases the testing burdon, but it is significantly overblown when it comes to Android. It's actually not all that hard to support effectively all devices as long as you exercise some prudence in your UI design and there's nothing special about Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet in this regard.

The problem with Kindle and Nook is not endemic to the Android OS. It's a deliberate product differentiation on the part of Amazon and Barnes and Noble where each decided to only allow apps that were published to their own app stores. It's a shortcoming (or benefit, if you ask those companies) of only those two devices. Those two devices have unique constraints that are limited to only those devices. Those devices do run a fork of the Android OS but they are not sold as Android devices and they don't contain the Google APIs provided on virtually every other device.

What you mean when you say "Android market is fragmented" is "Nook and Fire only run a subset of the apps available to all other Android devices." - which, again, isn't a negative of Android, it's a negative of two devices running a fork of the Android OS and a reason to consider whether to purchase those watered down versions of the platform.

Of course even then it's not necessarily a huge issue. My daughter has a Kindle Fire and loves it. Occasionally she's annoyed when a game she wants hasn't been released on the Amazon App Store, but that's been a minor issue. Still, I'd stick to a pure Android tablet myself.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Jwatts - also are apps from the amazon store incompatible? Or do you mean from other sources?

Both actually. The Amazon store has Android apps and a smaller section of Kindle Fire apps. Some of the general Android apps will run of course, but many are very buggy. For that matter a lot of the Kindle Fire apps are buggy also. Much more than I've generally seen in the Apple App store, which is pretty top notch.
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threads
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If you are getting an android phone then definitely get one with Android 4.0 and preferably get one that is either at or will be upgraded to 4.1. They provide a much nicer user experience than the previous versions (which aren't bad btw, I'm stuck on 2.3).
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Pete at Home
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Someone needs to design an app for private texts that do NOT pop up on visibly the recipient's cell phone. Folks leave their cell phones laying around the office, and often don't like certain stuff put out to the public.
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TomDavidson
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I picked up the Galaxy S3, as mentioned earlier, this week -- and it is fantastic.
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Pete at Home
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What's going to happen to the Galaxy S3 in light of the latest lawsuit?
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TomDavidson
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Nothing, thankfully.
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