Android versus iPhone – First world problems alert

For the last eighteen months, I’ve been using the HTC Desire as my mobile method of contacting the outside world, but my contract is due to expire soon and that leaves me with something of a dilemma. These mobile phone contracts are so long that choosing the next device is quite an important decision. At the moment, it leaves me scratching my head.

Just a hunch

The iPhone has never really done it for me and I’ve never been able to explain why. I’m a happy iPod and iPad user, never really taking it for granted how much they brighten up my day, but the iPhone doesn’t grab my attention the way I might have imagined. Recent updates to the camera, and the great stuff that iOS 5 brings to the table make it a much more interesting prospect, but I’m still not 100% convinced.

Since the dawn of smartphone time, I have been an Android user. I cherished my G1, even though it was a bit clunky and terribly outdated by the time I gave it up. Replaced with an HTC Desire, I gawped at the amazing screen and enjoyed the increased customisation and Google integration. However, as time wears on, I am not really investing as much in the phone as I would like. I’m sure I could, if I made the effort, find a Posterous app and start sharing more pictures. I could investigate the app market and find out what kind of productivity tools could save time in my day. But I haven’t done that, and again, I can’t really explain why.

Part of it could be the royal battle I went through to get music on the phone. I don’t know if it’s got any easier since I tried, but after trying a lot of things, I opted for the iSyncr app, and even that is a hideously slow process. Taking and sharing photos was always hard work as well. For a long time I couldn’t work out why the emailing process was so slow, until it became obvious the photographs were massive. Unfortunately, shrinking the size a little didn’t proportionally affect the send time, so these days I rarely bother taking photos. If I do, I do it with the mindset of plugging the phone into the Mac and letting iPhoto do the hard work for me.

Unleash the potential

More recently, I’ve been trying to open up my mind to apps again, and have installed ones for all the social networks, plus Google Reader. These intrigue me, but I’m still a bit reticent to get too involved. I know I’m missing out on stuff though. I only recently learnt you can get third party browsers on the phone. It had never really occurred to me before. Everything with Android seems to be a fight, and I’m not sure I have the patience anymore.

Looking at the phone market, in preparation for a new contract term, there are so many Androids to choose from. That’s good, choice is good, but I don’t know which is better, I don’t know which I’d like. I really, really want to stick with Android, I like it and I want to support the concept. I like that we have an Android in our house so we have a spread of technologies. It’s a lot of hard work, though. I know the iPhone is easier, and I think I’d get more use out of it, but I really don’t want to make the jump.

I suspect I’m just being stubborn, the same way I was when I had to give up handcoding my website and opt for WordPress instead. It took a lot of handwringing before eventually I realised that my time was worth more than the angst, and I could do far more productive things with the right tools supporting me. Perhaps I should just get over myself and accept an iPhone is in my future.

Then the only headache left is how to pay for the darn thing!

31 thoughts on “Android versus iPhone – First world problems alert

  1. strange you’ve found Android such a headache. I’ve really enjoyed the flexibility – the Dolphin HD browser is fabulous! And you’ve got to love the way it allows you to share everything via every possible sharing app you own? But i know you love Apple…

  2. Yeah, I use isyncr too. From what it sounds like though, either decision will you make sounds like you’ll get something out of it.

  3. given that google stole the design from apple: http://www.tuaw.com/2011/10/21/steve-jobs-vowed-to-destroy-android-according-to-biography/

    and given that google stole the codebase from oracle: http://www.i-programmer.info/news/83-mobliephone/3199-oracle-wants-injuction-against-android-what-would-that-mean.html

    android should probably be avoided on principle alone.

    however, the recently released ‘ice-cream sandwich’ despite having an awful name, does have some redeeming features. the problem is that if you buy an android phone now, you likely won’t ever see the ICS update. honeycomb is a dead-end street now. so if you want an android device you cannot buy one right now, you have no choice but to wait.

    the question therefore, is when do you plan to update? if it’s soon, then iphone is the only reasonable choice. if you’re happy to wait, then hang on until ICS devices are available to try out in various phone stores and decide after that.

  4. I don’t see anything in that first link that shows that Google stole anything. I mean, I’m not saying you’re wrong, youve just shown a quote from Jobs saying that Android is a stolen product…

    And if you’re going to avoid products on principle alone, that’s not a great argument for Apple and Jobs! 🙂

  5. I don’t really listen to much music, but I hear DoubleTwist works with iTunes.
    To me everything about Android is easy. Any time I feel I’m missing a feature in a built-in app a quick search always finds something better. Like Dolphin HD for my browser, Handcent for my SMS, or NewsRob for my GReader.
    I don’t even have to think about getting my photos off the phone – they get synced to Dropbox automatically (and G+).
    Like Chainbear I love being able to share so widely. I was genuinely stunned when Apple touted sharing to Twitter as a new feature. I’ve just taken it for granted that this picture can go to Facebook, that one to Twitter, and the other to my Dropbox shared folder.
    I love widgets – I know with a glance at my home screen my next few calendar appointments, how much of my data cap I’ve used.
    My wife has a Desire HD, and I’ve a Galaxy SII and I love how different we can make our phones – even though it’s her first Android phone she had no problem personalising it the way she wanted.

    I’ve used iOS4 on an iPad too a little (but very few apps), and it really doesn’t impress me. It seems so basic and limiting. (And I’m not a fan of the iPad either – screen gets filthy instantly, and the smart cover is no help, and I find if I click on an icon on either the left or rightmost column it flicks to the screen left of right about 40% of the time. But I’ve never tried an Android tablet, and I don’t think the tablet form factor is for me.))

  6. the problem is that if you buy an android phone now, you likely won’t ever see the ICS update.

    My phone says 2.2 which is Froyo, I think. How come we don’t get updates?

  7. There’s very little in ISC that isn’t already available from Cyanogen and the like. Must recently released devices (unless they had poor sales) will most probably see ICS)
    And there’s nothing wrong with Gingerbread, it’s still well ahead of iOS.

    There was nothing orginal about the iPhone – Apple borrowed everything in it and improved on what was already available (Same as Apple has done for everything),

  8. My phone says 2.2 which is Froyo, I think. How come we don’t get updates?

    i think, it’s because updates are left to carriers, who don’t care that about the phone you’ve already paid for. i could be wrong though.

    froyo is android 2.2, so even though your phone is only two years old, you’ve missed out on both the gingerbread (2.3) and honeycomb (3.0) updates. now android is on v4.0, but i’m guessing you won’t ever see it on the desire.

  9. As good as what the handset makers put on the phone.

    Oh. There’s no way in a million years I’d do something like that 🙂 Far beyond my skills and patience!

  10. Any device that can support 2.2 or 2.3 should be able for ISC.

    sure, but will christine’s carrier ever send the update? why would they when they have your money already. not sending an update ensures that you need to upgrade your phone.

  11. Very easy to put Cyanogen on it

    sounds like a crazy idea. i recommend christine wait and see what t-mobile offer in terms of ICS devices and then decide.

    paying hundreds of pounds for a phone and then having to hack it yourself just to make it usable seems like the daftest sales pitch i’ve ever read.

  12. Usable? It’s already more than usable, it’s still the best phone OS on the market. You don’t have to hack it. You have the freedom to. My wife hasn’t (I haven’t yet, but I did on my Hero), and won’t because she’s perfectly happy with Froyo.(And given the issues I’ve seen people tweeting about for upgrading to iOS5 I don’t think putting a custom ROM on is any more difficult or risky.)

  13. Just upgraded from the Desire to the Sensation and instantly the Desire felt small and old. The Desire can theoretically run 2.3 but due to its small internal storage they haven’t released it regardless of carrier. 3.0 is for tablets only so I think the latest build for phones is 2.3.4 until ICS comes out. That’s what Three finally got round to putting on my phone recently. The Galaxy S2 and Sensation will get ICS.

    Listening to recent pod casts it might be easy to assume you are Apple fans but in light of recent events that’s understandable. As you do use a lot of Apple products you might not be aware of the freedom allowed in Android with regards to browsers, keyboards, messaging apps, launchers. If you’re not bothered about a choice in these things then stick with what you know, get a 4s.
    I love Android though and HTC sense works really well for me. I’m hoping that they don’t hang around with what looks like a cool update but even if I don’t get it I have a brilliant phone with a large screen which doesn’t feel to big in the hand.
    I posted this on my phone using the Swype keyboard and I noticed how much I miss the little optical track pad, wish I still had one but I think they are being dropped

  14. Listening to recent pod casts it might be easy to assume you are Apple fans but in light of recent events that’s understandable.

    The tribute on Sidepodcast was all Mr C. I didn’t say a word, and funnily enough, we are different people 🙂

    Sidepodcast is built on Apple, but to me, that is the same as how when I go to work I have to use what they provide. We made the choices, obviously, and that’s a whole other story, but it’s the eco-system for Sidepodcast and separate to my personal choices.

    I love my iPad, I love my iPod less than I used to, I get a lot of use out of iTunes but I detest using my Mac, and lots and lots of things about Apple make me angry. If that makes me a fan, then I guess I’ll just have to live with it.

  15. The Desire can just about handle 2.3, but it’s at the cost of losing HTC Sense as the phone doesn’t have the storage to be able to cope with both. Hence why for most, it’s still 2.2. I’m not sure if they’ve sorted out the ability to upgrade to 2.3 yet, they were talking about it not too long ago, but I know it was going to be an opt in upgrade in the circumstances.

  16. I get a lot of use out of iTunes but I detest using my Mac

    be interesting what happens when the same question comes around about your next laptop.

    in 6-9 months you’ll be deciding between windows or mac again, should be an interesting post 🙂

  17. they were talking about it not too long ago, but I know it was going to be an opt in upgrade in the circumstances.

    but all the cool kids want 4.0, why would you want 2.3 now?

  18. You know I’m biased towards Apple, but my philosophy is: ‘use the right tool for the job’. It’s great that we all have the choice, and those of us that can justify the cost, get to play with many toys 🙂

    Both iOS and Android devices have lots of apps to choose from when standard, and both can be hacked to do just about anything. The advantage of a standard iOS device is the security and simplicity.

    The Android idea of letting anything into a store, and then removing it after people have had their information stolen doesn’t sit well with me. I have read (admittedly unsubstantiated) reports that almost 10% of offerings in the Google and Amazon stores is malware! I don’t want to run Anti-Virus/Security software on my phone. Apple’s way of doing things isn’t perfect, and they make mistakes occasionally, but it suits me.

    I think Google just bought Motorola’s phone division. The Samsung Galaxy S2 looks nice, and the new Galaxy Nexus does as well. But if you’re going to stay with Android, maybe wait to see what Motorola brings out?

  19. It is good to have choice, although too much choice might be a bad thing (android). There also seems little incentive for phone makers to push out updates when they can try to sell you a new phone. Even apple is doing this (Siri).

    I have a blackberry for work and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, especially compared to my iPhone. The new windows phone however might be a decent alternative, but has anyone actually seen one?!

    It probably come down to how you use the phone, but as I told my brother, who tries to do everything in a non-apple way, at least with the iPhone you know, if you ever want to do something, there will be an app available.

    Oh, and you really have to laugh when a computer company tries to take the moral high ground on others stealing their ideas. Seriously? 🙂

  20. I think only you can decide. The two platforms have somewhat different philisophies

    For me I struggle immensely with apple’s control — and for that reason I just couldn’t go down the iOS route though I respect the focus on design and user experience.

    On to devices.. I recently switched to my first android device – the Samsung Galaxy S II. Have to say it’s superb. Very slick, smooth — have been delighted. The difference between this device and older android devices has been light and day
    – far better responsiveness – no slow downs, fast browser
    – plenty of storage for apps
    – plenty of ram for apps

    You may also want to see what turns up supporting the new 4.0 release (ICS) which has a big focus on the UI. That initially means the nexus galaxy

    Anyway not everyone feels the same so good luck in choosing…

  21. Interesting you should post this as I’ve recently been through a similar process.

    I’m currently stuck in the stone age with a six year old Nokia 3120, it makes phone calls and can send a text message, but that is about it. No camera, no colour screen and certainly no internet.

    The phone is finally beginning to die and I’ve been thinking about a smartphone as a replacement. I didn’t want to sign a two year contract (the standard here in Oz) and buying an iPhone outright is just too expensive. I’m also in the type of job where I have to resist being given a Blackberry, one day I’ll be ordered to do take one and I don’t really want to have two big devices with me the whole time.

    Having a MacBook I was leaning towards and iPhone, but when they didn’t release a cheaper handset I started exploring Android handsets around the $300 mark. The thing that made me very unsure about an Android was that I’d feel I was having to fight the whole time to get it to work with my MacBook, my music, photos, podcasts, basically everything was just going to be a pain (or at least I feel it would). I carry my iPod Touch around with me everywhere and I’d miss what it gives to me.

    The result? Two friends could stand my old Nokia no longer. They have upgraded as a couple to a iPhone 4S and 4 and have given me the 3GS cast off. It’s currently sync’ing as I type. Probably not the ‘upgrade’ you are looking for, but I think it is going to be a good way for me to ease into the smartphone era and decide what I want to do more long term.

    I’m a bit worried a smart phone will make me one of the anti-social people who can’t stop tweeting and checking Facebook when they are out with friends. If it does, I’ll be going back to the Nokia.

  22. Oh, and you really have to laugh when a computer company tries to take the moral high ground on others stealing their ideas. Seriously?

    if you read up on the oracle/google case, i think oracle have a pretty good chance of winning. the question is whether they’ll settle for billions in compensation or force manufacturers to stop selling android phones altogether.

    samsung are reportedly looking at the windows phone because “Samsung knows it can’t rely on Google”, when it comes to protecting them from the likes of oracle. more here: http://androidcommunity.com/samsung-cant-rely-on-google-for-patent-protection-says-executive-20110929/

    so yes… seriously.

  23. Sony Ericsson with Android is a pleasure, it’s not just a hardware and a phone, it’s symbiosis. I took the last Xperia, I’m very pleased to own this gadget.

    I never ever believed that Ericsson phones were worth their price, therefore I’ve always been Nokia user since the beginning of times. But Sony is now in the business, and their produce masterpieces.
    Lately I’ve been amazed about what the self-phones from others did, and how much time I’ve needed to expect mine doing something except rebooting itself… So I’ve got this Android 2.3 and dual core and now I think: “My smartphone is smarter than me!”.

    Moreover, the dock station for the phone and wireless connectivity with other Sony devices are magnificent.

    Maybe I’ll regret like you’re doing in few years, but my fight with my last Nokia was pretty hardcore… I’m enjoying now my Android 🙂

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