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Android vs. iPhone — Who Wins In 2011?

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the a-good-reuben-sandwich dept.

Businesses 424

Hugh Pickens writes "Philip Elmer-DeWitt writes in Fortune Magazine that Apple and Google have two very different strategies in the competition shaping up in 2011 between Android and iPhone. According to the conventional wisdom as espoused by Don Dodge, a Developer Advocate at Google, both Apple and Google will win because they are playing different games. Android will win the market share battle, but Apple will generate bigger profits. 'Apple goes for the high end of the market where they can charge high prices and enjoy great profit margins. Apple has been successful with this strategy multiple times, and will do it again with iPhone,' writes Dodge adding that Google's strategy with Android is to generate revenue streams from mobile search and advertising. Another Google employee, Tim Bray, sees things differently and says he won't be surprised if Apple ships a cheap iPhone and if this time next year, dirt-cheap iPhones were competing against Androids that push the user-experience lever farther than Apple. 'There's nothing fundamental in Android that would get in the way of a industrial-design and user-experience rock-star team, whether at Google or one of the handset makers, testing the hypothesis that these things are central to Apple's success.'"

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Not just them... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34743726)

What about Windows Phone 7 and Blackberry?

Re:Not just them... (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743772)

Is it too late to answer Palm?

Re:Not just them... (3, Funny)

LucidBeast (601749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743800)

Symbian rocks!

Re:Not just them... (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744108)

OpenMoko

Re:Not just them... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743820)

Blackberry has its niche. Windows has a problem that nobody really likes MS so needs to be clearly superior to the competition. You forgot about Symbian. Granted so has everyone else, but Nokia is a good brand from a marketing perspective, is still (I believe) the most popular smartphone OS, so with the right marketing it could succeed.

Re:Not just them... (0)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744034)

I see quite a few teenagers with Blackberries. I reckon they care not too much about a wonderful web experience, nor a wide range of apps. But they are most certainly all about Facebook, Twitter updating and general communication. The niche for BB could be bigger in 2011. After all, web on a phone will never be a great experience.

Re:Not just them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744100)

After all, web on a phone will never be a great experience.

Not sure if you're serious...

Web on a phone is already a great experience. What more could you possibly ask for?

Re:Not just them... (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743884)

What about Windows Phone 7 and Blackberry?

It seems that you can find a clue to that question from the title of the story.

WP 8 possibly. (1)

Joe U (443617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744128)

WP7 isn't there yet.

The concept is good, but MS seems to want to take all the bad things that Apple's marketplace is and shove it into their phone. So, basically, they went from the most wide open platform to the most closed.

This story is about developers, it's always been about developers. MS knows this, yet they're not doing a great job to make the developers flock to their phones.

Dark Horse, against Android though... (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744304)

Windows Phone 7 is interesting because it completes a sort of triad - it's got Apple UI polish and a distinct design sensibility, along with a fully curated app store.

But it's going against Android and competing to be on multiple handset maker devices.

So the question is, can it displace Android? Especially when Google is willing to let carriers adapt Android as the see fit, and Microsoft is not..

The only reason Microsoft has a chance is that they are doing the heavy money bombing runs, paying device makers to support WP7 and paying key application makers (especially game makers) to port stuff to WP7. You'll probably see a lot more higher-end games come to WP7 as a result.

Google's strategy with Android is to generate (0)

Ismellpoop (1949100) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743736)

revenue streams from mobile search and advertising.
That is why they will fail.

It's called a "Subject" (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34743814)

not the first line of your post.

Re:Google's strategy with Android is to generate (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34743818)

Seems a lot less reliable than Apples plan.

1) Sell to people that have money and no issues buying apps from the app store.
2) Profit by giving the users what they want, and keeping the ads off the phone.

The great thing about the apple approach is that all the google tools are able to be used, complete with the non-stop advertising.

Re:Google's strategy with Android is to generate (2, Interesting)

John Betonschaar (178617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744170)

Agreed. The good thing about Apple's strategy (good for them, that is, you don't necessarily have to agree that it's good for buyers, even though I personally think it is), is that they target their products specifically at the group of buyers they know will appreciate exactly those attributes of their products they spend the most time on: ease of use, polish (both in terms of software and hardware), longevity (in terms of planned obsolesence). Affordability is not one of these attributes, and people getting iPhones instead of Androids get what they expected from the product, which explains the high customer satisfaction rates.

Meanwhile, Android handset manufacturers mainly target the demographic that wants to save money on their phone, ie: they want it to be cheap, or at least: cheaper than comparable alternatives. Sure enough Android is also great if you are a geek, and sure enough there are also high-end Android phones that are as expensive as the iPhone, but they constitute a pretty minor subset of all Android buyers. The problem with this tactic is that to make money using this strategy, means you have to sell lots of phones, and to do that, you have to introduce lots of new models, to get people to replace their phones faster. You also have to cut down production costs which means making design compromises. Eventually this will hurt Android as a platform and it will hurt customers, because there will be many crappy Android phones on the market, and many phones will end up unsupported within a year. Someone who gets burned by a crappy Android phone will choose something different next time.

I don't think the Google model is sustainable in the long run, and will seriously limit the usefulness of the Android platform. Not because it is a bad platform, but because too many buyers will have a negative experience with their purchase, but also because the insane variety of brands, specifications and OS versions will mean developers will never be able to achieve the same baseline quality level in their apps without having to shut out a very large part of Androids installed base. This will be very confusing and frustrating for end-users who expect to get their phone, go on the Android market, install stuff, only to find out their phone doesn't handle the application, or because the quality is abysmal. Apple got it right with their single-model-1-year-update-cycle, sure, it means you have less choice if you want an Apple phone, but at least you can be pretty sure you won't run into any surprises if you try to use it they way you expect it to work.

This last paragraph is exactly why I find the statement in the article by this guy named Tim Bray pretty stupid. Even if one or two vendors introduced phones that are better than the current iPhone in terms of hardware (such phones are already on the market) *and* software (Android is almost there), you'd still have only a few handset models, which combined will sell only a fraction of what the iPhone sells, and will never get individual marketshare big enough for developers to spend enough time extracting all their capabilities from the hardware and software. Most developers will go for a set baseline much lower than the current iPhone model, just to make sure they target a sufficiently large installed base. That way, the ecosystem of Android apps will always be one or two years behind iOS.

Re:Google's strategy with Android is to generate (1, Insightful)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743842)

wait, how do you think that apple isn't doing the exact same thing?

the only difference is in the price of the devices, in which android has been vastly cheaper than iphone until they released 4g.

products are quite similar, except that new android devices come out continually (say every 3-6 months), while new iphones come out once a year if that. So while android continually evolves better products in between iphone product cycles, that only leaves the question of volume vs profit.

Anyone with a minute amount of business knowledge would know that volume is far more sustainable than profit in the long term, and it shows in that apple has started to sue the shit out of people because they cannot continue to compete at current profit margins.

Volume is also a much bigger deal due to market share. If android outsells apple 10 to 1, and apple makes the same profit on the device, apple isn't making the same profit on any additional profits to the device due to having 10% of the volume (app store purchases, advertising, etc).

Re:Google's strategy with Android is to generate (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744048)

One manufacturer makes iPhone, many make Androids. It seems like an easy question to me.

And I'm a nerd, dammit, not a marketer or MBA. Why should I care who gets the most profits or market share? When did the Ferengi take over slashdot? I don't care how it sells, I care how it works.

I meant to comment earlier (5, Funny)

Rurik (113882) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743738)

I meant to comment earlier, but my iPhone alarm didn't go off.

Re:I meant to comment earlier (5, Funny)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743766)

I tried to text you to warn you that might happen, but my Android routed the SMS to your mother instead.

Re:I meant to comment earlier (0)

bughunter (10093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743898)

I posted; can't moderate.

So here: +1 LOL

Re:I meant to comment earlier (5, Funny)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743994)

I just use my Blackberry as an alarm clock. Every night before going to bed I simply remove & replace the battery - I wake up to the sound of the finished reboot, alert and refreshed after about eight hours of sleep.

Re:I meant to comment earlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744216)

Woah, harsh. I never had a blackberry, do they really take an obnoxiously long time to boot up?

Re:I meant to comment earlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744178)

Ok both comments made me giggle.

Re:I meant to comment earlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744208)

Mine did not survive the last bug. No mercy was given.

Re:I meant to comment earlier (0)

khr (708262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744254)

Mine bloody well went off, and I didn't want it to! I wanted to sleep in.

Ask me in twelve months (2)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743768)

eop

Customer (1)

mobilemodding.info (1800826) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743788)

Customer wins!

Everyone wins. (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743794)

Based on my experience with both Android phones and iPhones, here's how I see it:

Do you want something that "just works" out of the box, but with somewhat limited customization options? Do you want something that's dead simple and requires little to no learning to use? Get an iPhone.

Do you like to be able to modify every little facet of your phone, right down to the hardware it runs on? Do you not mind a small learning curve if it means more flexible overall operation? Get an Android phone.

They both have their place...it all comes down to your preferences and needs.

Re:Everyone wins. (4, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743808)

Stop being so rational & let us rip on each other for our perception of other people's poor choices!

Re:Everyone wins. (1, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744220)

There isn't anything rational about mindless pro-Apple propaganda.

Re:Everyone wins. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744300)

Nor is there anything rational about mindless anti-Apple propaganda.

Re:Everyone wins. (2)

donstenk (74880) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743838)

Interesting. Do you like to sleep in at times? Get an iPhone.

Seriously, if you want the best phone you can buy for most circumstances the iPhone is the way to go. Version 5 should have resolved any teething problems and there is a long way to go for Google to reach that point of maturity in its mobile OS.

Re:Everyone wins. (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744008)

Version 5 should have resolved any teething problems and there is a long way to go for Google to reach that point of maturity in its mobile OS.

And by version 5 it's probably cost you what? 3000-5000 US$ ?

No, I'm not kidding. I live in Sweden and normally you can buy the phone with no subscription.

Katshing.se sell the iPhone 4 16GB for 6000-6400 depending on which contract provider you choose, so even more without locking it in I guess.

6000 SEK = 890 USD

I know the USD&YEN&GBP&Euro are all weak ATM and sure we've got 25% VAT.

The first version was something like 10-15.000 SEK if you counted in the subscription you had to get because back then you couldn't buy it without one.

4000 USD would mean 800 USD / phone which may be pretty correct. Maybe more, maybe less. Higher valued dollar = less, but on the other side the first models where probably even more expensive. So..

Or you could had bought Apple stocks for those 4000 $ 4 years ago instead ..
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=AAPL&t=5y&c= [yahoo.com]

Re:Everyone wins. (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744188)

The first version was something like 10-15.000 SEK if you counted in the subscription you had to get because back then you couldn't buy it without one.

And yet I didn't even pay SEK 8 000 for mine (including the subscription costs). Of course, you had a choice in what subscription you chose (seriously, Telia has a buttload of different plans) and regardless of what smartphone you get you'll have to pay for the service one way or another so it's not really fair to add that to the cost of the phone unless you do that with every phone (in which case the most expensive phones would probably be whatever models are most popular with teenage girls as they tend to use pre-paid SIM cards that they refill at least once a week).

Re:Everyone wins. (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744318)

I have to admit I'm not even sure if the 10-15.000 SEK was iPhone with Telia in Sweden or the price of iPhone + AT&T (?) plans in the US converted to SEK.

It was released much later over here. Also I never bought one, so .. Regarding plans I assume that even if it was 10-15.000 here maybe you got more options a little later. In the US I got the impression it was sold with an "everything and a little extra on top"-plan.

Personally, /.-geek as I am. I don't use my phone very much, I mean, who would I call anyway? My mom? Then what? So those company like plans don't suit me. But I would still have had to pay for it...

I'd much rather pay for the phone and get a pre-paid card or some very simply plan with decent "surf" ability and be done with it.

Also of course one don't have to buy all five iPhones and very few do I guess.

Still some seem to be in a rush even though you would probably be quite ok with a path like iPhone -> iPhone 3Gs -> iPhone 5.

What I feel disturbing but Apple isn't alone with that is that you can't upgrade the phone to the latest version, though they have had some upgrades of course for each and every phone, but not forever. And that there are some features I believe should had been there in the first place. Like for instance the new display would obviously had been hard to fit there in the first version. But maybe it could have had 3G support or do MMS or whatever. And I also don't get why the 3G phone couldn't do video phone calls over 3G as any other 3G phone instead of their own stuff. Though I guess their own stuff may look better if you use it with someone else who also got an iPhone.

Anyway, I'm too cheap for it. Give me something I can upgrade for long, preferably stock and preferably with plenty of patches and hacks. With in the Android world would be the Nexus.

I kinda rather want the "PC"-equivalent of a phone and not something like a blu-ray player with built-in games if you get my drift :)

Re:Everyone wins. (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744218)

Oh yeah, and you can get a 16 GB iPhone 4 for SEK 6 990 with no contract and not locked to any provider at Dustin Home, and if they're selling it at that price you know there's someone out there selling it for less. With a contract the price is likely to be a lot less.

Re:Everyone wins. (3, Funny)

sosume (680416) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744282)

It's not so difficult.

- Do you like to install iTunes on your pc? Get an iPhone.
- Do you want to see Ads? Get Android.

- Do you want to make sure everything always works on your phone (until the next version is available)? Get an iPhone.
- Do you want the latest and fastest cutting-edge hardware, be it with a lot of bugs? Get Android.

- Do you like Steve Jobs or hate Flash? Get an iPhone.
- Do you hate Steve Jobs or like Flash? Get Android.

Re:Everyone wins. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34743922)

Yeah. Basically this. Six hours ago I ran strace on my Android phone to reconstruct the ioctl calls a particular vendor's /system .so were making. I'd like to see that done on the iPhone (though I understand why most people wouldn't want to/don't need to).

Re:Everyone wins. (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743998)

Fair enough, but if you really want to be able to modify your phone, be careful about which Android phone you get. Many are pretty locked-down, and having an open-source operating system doesn't necessarily mean that the device will be open.

Re:Everyone wins. (2)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744012)

From what I've seen, it looks like most of the locked-down Android phones are on AT&T. Coincidence?

Re:Everyone wins. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744140)

I have what's probably the most locked down Android phone known to man. Even though the bootloader and kernel is unavailable (other than by LKM access) it can't prevent me from replacing basically everything else that runs on top of it.

btw, the G1 had to be rooted by exploit also, but it was probably one of the most hacker friendly phones out there.

Re:Everyone wins. (2)

sosume (680416) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744320)

Wondering which model this is, as to my knowledge all Android phones have been jailbroken one way or another..

Re:Everyone wins. (4, Informative)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744020)

I'm not sure how much I agree with this, although its fair to say this has become conventional wisdom.

I've seen non-techies use Android-based phones with ease and not play around with any sort of tinkering. The UI is generally easy to tolerate, not much different than iOS, and the market is dead simple to use. There are millions up millions of Android users. These people aren't exactly Kernel hackers.

I've also seen techies with jailbroken iphones modify every little thing.

The conventional wisdom here is failing. These devices, for the end user, are almost identical. There's a low learning curve with both, but once people figure out how to use the market, use a virtual keyboard, etc they're golden. Heck, I might even argue that the Android devices are easier to use as they are boot up and play, while the iOS phones require an iTunes install, credit card information, connecting a USB cable to the computer, and the constant putting in of your complex password when buying free applications via the App store. Some end users find this challenging.

I recently setup an iphone for my gf and was pretty annoyed at all the hoops I had to jump through just to get started. My own Vibrant took a handful of seconds to create a gmail account and put in the username/password once. Not to mention my phone gets OTA updates and iphone still needs itunes and the USB cable to do this. A large part of the "it just works" myth is Apple marketing. Spend some time at the genius bar or get a job supporting Macs to find that "it just works" is more than a bit exaggerated and has more to do with the lack of malware writers targeting Apple.

Re:Everyone wins. (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744022)

Do you like to be able to modify every little facet of your phone, right down to the hardware it runs on...

... after researching which phones can easily be 'rooted' and which brands have a reputation for maintaining the phone so you'll get the latest version of the OS?

Re:Everyone wins. (2)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744080)

If you're rooting your phone, why do you care whether the manufacturer releases updated ROMs?

My Droid Eris is currently running NonSensikal Froyo 2.2 (which runs far better than the stock 2.1 Eris ROM.) Once 2.3 is made stable, I'll be running that on here.

Re:Everyone wins. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744238)

You don't. Unless you're running stock Android from Google (N1/NS) then you're probably completely sick of the modifications made by the manufacturers, and you want to get the hell away from it.

Re:Everyone wins. (4, Informative)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744082)

I agree with your position that both phones/platforms are good, and that it comes down to what people want.

However I don't think the main differentiator is "just works" vs. "customizable". In my experience, they both "just work" for the vast majority of things. Buy a new iPhone or a new Droid and you'll be answering emails and browsing the web within minutes. And both are extensible via apps: the app market for iPhone is somewhat bigger, but on Android you have the option to install non-approved apps. These balance out to some extent. Overall, both platforms are fantastic in terms of extending your phone's capabilities, because the "top" apps (the best thousand apps, say) are available on both platforms.

To me, the big difference is which ecosystem you're buying in to. If you use Google services (gmail, Google Calendar, Google Voice, etc.) then Android is simply amazing. Within a minute of getting your new phone, all your contact details, appointments, and so on are all working perfectly. (One of the times where "the cloud" actually works/makes sense.) If you buy heavily into iTunes and the rest of the Apple universe, then an iPhone will seamlessly integrate into your workflow.

Of course you don't have to buy into their technology the way they want you to (you can use gmail from an iPhone just fine), but the experience is more streamlined if you do. If you don't buy into either ecosystem, then both types of smartphone seem pretty evenly matched, at least in my experience.

I do agree, by the way, that Android is more customizable and hackable. For some people that's an important differentiator. But I think for the public-at-large the bigger differentiator has to do with what ecosystem they've already bought into (or want to start using)...

Re:Everyone wins. (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744092)

Can I have it both ways?

Yesterday I ordered a couple Android 2.2 phones. This is a big jump from my previous flip phone which provided endless fodder for my co-worker's comments. They called it the VCR, the tri-corder, "cinder block" (because "brick" didn't quite do it justice).

I want stuff to just work, but I also do a lot of customizations.

Anyhoo, the reason I went with Android instead of the iPhone came down to AT&T rates versus Verizon. I don't anticipate using all the features of either platform, but I do need VPN (Cisco AnyConnect or 100% compatible such as OpenConnect), SSH access, and some method of syncing a calendar and task list to a remote server. I also want my music catalog available for streaming, I carry a laptop and 3G wireless internet card with me whenever I'm on the road, but I'm starting to appreciate being able to check movie times and other stuff without powering up a laptop or netbook.

To paraphrase (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744112)

"We want to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Google has to lose."
-- Steve Jobs

The decades of IBM/Microsoft monopoly have given a number of people in the technology industry the idea that it's natural for one big player to dominate. That's not the case. It was an aberration, born of a time when immature technology meant incompatible implementations ruled the day.

Here's a prediction. Google takes the dominant share with about 50% of the market. Apple takes another 25%, but makes as much money as Google and its handset makers combined. Microsoft, RIM, Nokia, and the rest squabble over the remaining quarter of the market.

Re:Everyone wins. (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744206)

I want the scope of "just works" to be more than what the Apple products tend to offer.

"just works" only works if your requirements are very limited AND is something that Apple cares about.

This isn't just about "playing everything" or "dumping iTunes" but also includes simple stuff like SMS management.

Price Point (2, Insightful)

bughunter (10093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743804)

he won't be surprised if Apple ships a cheap iPhone

Well, if there's one thing Apple itself has proven, it's that there is a real market segment that will pay more for a better product and won't just go for the cheapest product in the niche. Therefore, I predict this strategy will fail.

And before someone uses the 'f' word, Apple's traditional customers have been loyal for a reason - they've delivered quality and real, practical utility in exchange for the price paid. If someone else can come along and do the same thing, then we'll find out how much all these boys really are fans of Apple. I'm one, and I don't care whose logo is on the damn thing, if it's a gem, I'll save up for it rather than pay less to have some rickety piece of crap now. Just like I've done for 20 years with my personal computers.

Re:Price Point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34743888)

Well, if there's one thing Apple itself has proven, it's that there is a real market segment that will pay more for a better product and won't just go for the cheapest product in the niche. Therefore, I predict this strategy will fail.

And before someone uses the 'f' word, Apple's traditional customers have been loyal for a reason - they've delivered quality and real, practical utility in exchange for the price paid. If someone else can come along and do the same thing, then we'll find out how much all these boys really are fans of Apple. I'm one, and I don't care whose logo is on the damn thing, if it's a gem, I'll save up for it rather than pay less to have some rickety piece of crap now. Just like I've done for 20 years with my personal computers.

I am often surprised how few people draw comparisons between Apple and Sony... Both are high priced but usually very well made products, but that doesn't stop either of them from being any less parasitic as companies.

Re:Price Point (1, Troll)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744236)

You can't have the Apple faithful comparing themselves to Sony. Then they might have to admit that their chosen pet brand is not as special as they think it is.

Re:Price Point (2, Insightful)

choko (44196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743980)

A well-worded troll post is still a troll. Just because a certain product works "better" for you, doesn't mean that it is better for everyone. Just because a Windows based PC is cheaper, doesn't make it a "rickety piece of crap". The original post makes a point of saying that both Android and iOS have their places, and what works for one person doesn't work for all people. The only thing your post does is try to whip up another tired and stale Apple vs. Google fight. If you like Apple, great. You don't need to make a point to the /. world about how much better you think it is over everything else. Find another way to gain psychological validation.

Re:Price Point (0)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744104)

Apple's traditional customers have been loyal for a reason - they've delivered quality and real, practical utility in exchange for the price paid.

Yeah, but then IBM couldn't improve the G5/PPC970 enough and they switched to x86 and started making appliances instead of improving OS and computers. ;)

then we'll find out how much all these boys really are fans of Apple.No way a similar former unknown brand device would be able to compete against an Apple branded device at the same price. At a much lower price or with a much much better device sure.

I do agree though that the original iPhone really improved smart-phone interfaces by a lot. Another leap would be all the 3rd party apps but they didn't had those at first remember? No SDK either. I assume WebOS did its fair share of improving the interface as well though not many will have noticed.

Re:Price Point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744194)

Great, missing </quote> obviously :)

The bigger questions is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34743810)

Verizon or AT&T?

Re:The bigger questions is... (5, Insightful)

MichaelJ (140077) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743914)

IMHO Android would have been a non-starter if the iPhone had been available to all carriers (GSM & CDMA both) and not restricted to AT&T. A lot of people (myself included) passed on iPhones for the sole reason of refusing to use AT&T. Android currently suffers from too much product fracture. Too many different customer experiences based on vendor customization, and so much different hardware it's hard for developers to test everything, as well as hard to use newer, better APIs because older OS versions, whose updates are controlled by the carriers and may or may not happen, don't have them.

Re:The bigger questions is... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744134)

The same could be said of the iPhone/iPod Touch experience...let's take games as an example. My wife has a second-gen iPod Touch, but is missing out on a ton of newer games because they require a 3rd or 4th gen iPhone/iPod Touch.

How is that any different than needing a newer Android phone to run more recent, more intense games?

Re:The bigger questions is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744316)

Which "newer" Android phone? they all have different processors, different memory, different graphics chips, different screen resolutions, etc... The iphone is simple...version 4 is version 4.

But, but, but... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743816)

What about Windows Phone 7??

HA, that will be the joker in this game that will conquer it all!!

uhm...

Fatherly Advice (2, Insightful)

bughunter (10093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743854)

I had a rather chauvanist father, and among other black pearls of wisdom, he offered me this: "At some point or another every woman becomes a whore. It can work for you sometimes, but in the long run it will not."

Now, with my wife as proof, I've found that this is not true about women.

However, with Apple and Google as proof, I'm becoming convinced it's true about corporations.

Re:Fatherly Advice (4, Funny)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743880)

Not to cast aspersions on your wife, but logically speaking, until she's dead you haven't disproven anything.

Re:Fatherly Advice (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743932)

You clearly haven't met my wife.

My gaming buddies have nicknamed her 'The Paladin.'

Re:Fatherly Advice (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743984)

My gaming buddies

Enough said right there, chief.

Re:Fatherly Advice (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743990)

That's funny. They call my wife that too. Ever since she shot that moose from a helicopter, they won't let it go.

Re:Fatherly Advice (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744058)

You haven't seen "Paladin Gangbang" 1 through 7, have you?

Re:Fatherly Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744180)

Well, even then, she may be dead and you may not know every single thing she has or has not done.

Of course, with that said, (this is to the GP poster) - if you have found a woman who is faithful to you...awesome. You have found a good woman. (I speak from experience.)

Re:Fatherly Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34743926)

I'm saying this not to offend, but for the technicality:

Your wife can be proof of this only if she is not alive anymore. If she's still alive, there's still a chance in the future for what you're saying to happen.

Now, for corporations, by definition they are evil whores working for their shareholders/ceo's profits.

Re:Fatherly Advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744160)

At some point or another every woman becomes a whore. It can work for you sometimes, but in the long run it will not."

Now, with my wife as proof, I've found that this is not true about women.

Wife? Since marriage is just a euphemism for "legalized prostitution," by definition, your wife is a data point of confirmation that your father's notion was indeed true.

Re:Fatherly Advice (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744328)

That's... well, to hell with being polite, that's just crazytalk.

Android wins (3, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743860)

iPhone owner here. I use it all the time & develop for it, but Android simply has more & less expensive options. You can get Android on virtually every carrier and you can get them 2 for $99. The iPhone is only on AT&T, and even AT&T runs advertisements for Android phones. Apple's saving grace is that the iOS also runs on the iPod Touch & iPad. Android wins if by winning you mean continues to increase in market share, but Apple will continue to turn a handsome profit off of the iPhone, which I'm sure is their only real concern.

Re:Android wins (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743900)

Re-reading what I wrote, I can see where my second sentence might be confusing. To clarify, Android has more options & many of those options are less expensive.

Re:Android wins (1)

technomom (444378) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744102)

Android "wins" in part because the phone is not what Google or Verizon, for that matter, is selling. Their currency is eyeballs to advertisers. It's a lot like the 1940s-50s when the early television networks were largely the same company that sold television sets. Google is today's General Electric. Back then, GE made televisions that enabled their broadcasting company, NBC to sell eyeballs to advertisers. Google is doing something very similar with its Android phones. They're trying to do this with Google TV as well. But that's been less successful because they tried to end run the content providers. I suspect that will clear up in the coming year given that it is within the content owners best interests to come to an agreement with Google. In the end, I think they'll both survive. But I'd bet longer on Google. I just don't know how long Apple can continue to hold on to its very loyal customer base without "The Steve" at the helm.

Re:Android wins (2)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744174)

I think you hit on what really makes the analysis impossible. Apple is a turnkey solution provider whereas Google just makes software. It's apples and oranges. You'd have to analyze Google + Motorola + HTC + etc. etc.

iWin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34743868)

iWin!
=P

In other news... Blackberry outsells Motorola Razr (1)

xulfer (1368787) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743912)

This is a flawed comparison. Android is a platform. The iPhone is a generation of specific devices. I'm an Android fan myself, but this is clearly an unfair, and biased comparison.

Advertising (4, Interesting)

TexVex (669445) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743928)

I have been sick to death of advertising for pretty much all my adult life. I think it's a horrible shame to name so many of our modern points of interest after corporations. I hate how everything must be branded, and I especially hate how tasteless it all is. Product placement sucks. Most of all I'm just blown away at how I have to pay for the carrier to bring the advertisements to me.

I pay about $80 per month for cable TV, and all the channels are ad-laden; it is standard for each hour of programming to contain 20 minutes of advertisements. Now, DVR technology has allowed us to skip those commercials if you're willing to watch the program on a time delay. But doing that costs extra. A few years ago I used an old PC as a homebrew DVR and it didn't cost anything above a small investment in hardware and software, but nowadays things are so locked down the only realistic option is to rent the box and pay for the "service" from the provider. So, as I see it, I'm getting screwed from every direction.

The content itself is laden with product placement, it's subsidized further by being 33% pure commercial advertisements, I have to pay to bring the crap-laden content to my TV, and I have to pay more to filter out some of the noise.

The internet is rapidly heading in the same direction. You can't view a lot of content without turning on scripting and flash, and the scripting and flash bring advertisements that cannot be blocked. I'm paying an ISP to bring the crap in for me, and the services that offer to sell me access to the content still won't promise to remove all the advertising if I do so.

So, with my iPhone, at least it's not loaded with advertisements. Of course it brings in the Internet ads for me, but it blocks the invasive ones and I bless the iPhone for the lack of flash. But at least for the most part I'm getting fair value for the service I pay for: I make and receive phone calls and text messages, and neither are subsidized by advertisement.

So, to me, the iPhone wins. I don't care about the openness and inexpensiveness of Android if it means everything I do with my phone is partially paid for by advertisement. I'm not going to pay a carrier for voice and data service so that they can use that pipe to shove ads in my face every time I pick up my phone. It's just ridiculous.

I'm starting to believe that our society will end not in natural disaster or nuclear armageddon. Instead, the signal-to-noise ratio of all our communications will drop so low that our culture and our future just disintegrate.

I've got your solution (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744138)

I pay about $80 per month for cable TV

Or rather, you already have your solution: dump cable TV.

Hint: (1) Change your credit card number before you make the call. (2) When they demand an explanation, you're selling the house and moving out of the country.

Re:Advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744146)

"So, with my iPhone, at least it's not loaded with advertisements"

So you really believe Androids come loaded with ads differently than iPhones?

Re:Advertising (1)

jwinster (1620555) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744190)

I agree with your rhetoric, but really the only difference you're citing between the iPhone and Android is the lack of flash, which Android doesn't even have to have installed. Android phones aren't subsidized by advertisements, advertisements are simply the reason Google broke into the market. Android phones are more pervasive simply because they want more people doing searches that feature phones can't/couldn't do. In the end they just want to present you the same text based advertisements that your iPhone will show you, and Android just opens more channels for it.

Re:Advertising (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744308)

Sincerly not understanding you. At all.

Your complaint is that "Android has flash support" -> "Android can see flash ads?" Block them. Get a browser which doesn't trigger them automatically. Hell, UNINSTALL FLASH. Problem solved. Wow.

Are you talking about other advertisments? The in-application ones which some developers put in to give free stuff? Because apple has that sort of thing as well.

These aren't the droids you're looking for (1)

gurkmannen (643368) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743930)

I still have a Bell's Box Telephone, you insensitive clod!

It's not the tech, silly... (4, Insightful)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743946)

Quote FTFA:

"There's nothing fundamental in Android that would get in the way of a industrial-design and user-experience rock-star team, whether at Google or one of the handset makers"

Nothing fundamental in Android, no. Except the solid design/UI-experience from Apple doesn't have anything to do with technology, but rather with the whole company structure and culture. I don't think that can be emulated by putting together "an industrial-design and user-experience rock-star team" and then planting it at Google or HTC or Samsung or whatever.

Sorry to nit pick one point (2)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34743960)

"There's nothing fundamental in Android that would get in the way of a industrial-design and user-experience rock-star team, whether at Google or one of the handset makers, testing the hypothesis that these things are central to Apple's success."

There is that little annoying thing called "you don't rule the world" that will get in the way of those rock stars. The problem isn't that you can't build an awesome UI experience on top of Android. No, the problem is that you dont HAVE to build an awesome UI experience on top of android. And with that, anyone selling apps has to cater to all the dirt cheap handsets (that sell in droves) and at the same time work with the high end handsets with "rock star" UIs.

And as we all know by now, a UI gets kind of boring without a slew of cool new apps to run on it. I am not saying there wont be cool apps for Android phones, nor am I saying there wont be cool android phones for years to come. But the notion that anyone working on Android phones should bother building a "rock star" UI is, at face value, pretty stupid.

p.s. to any Android apologists who want to come by and snipe at me for being an apple fanboy: I dont like apple products, and I own an android phone.

Why does Apple need to "win"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34743988)

The cell phone industry is a bazillion dollar market. Apple will be perfectly happy (same as they were with desktops) of having 10% of a bazillion dollars.

Apple are perfectly happy being the club with the higher cover charge... and if half as many people buy their twice as expensive phone, they'll do just fine.

Besides, we don't want someone to have 90% of the market share, have we forgotten about Microsoft/Windows/Office already?

Re:Why does Apple need to "win"? (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744234)

Just for clarity, Apple has way less than 10% of the cell phone market. It has a good chunk of the smart phone market, but that is a small chunk of the overall cell market.

Android is overrated (0, Flamebait)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744026)

My wife has an Android. I have an iPhone. Comparing hers to mine is like comparing Windows 95 to Windows 7. Sure they both do email, messaging, web surfing, have apps, and basically do all the same tasks that most people do day in and day out. One is a pleasure to use. The other is annoying and sometimes frustrating. Using an iPhone makes me smile. And I'm a lifelong Microsoft junkie (I tried rehab several times). Never having been an Apple fanboy (I don't even like Mac OS a little bit), I'm now a total iPhone fanboy. It's elegant, ergonomic, pleasant, and intuitive. Android tries to come close, but it doesn't. Every time I pick up a new Android device I think surely this one will impress me. Nope. It's only impressive if you've never used an iPhone long enough to appreciate it.
 
I see people switching to iPhone from Android with some frequency, but I've never seen anyone go the other way _and like it_. If Apple can get the price down a bit, they'll "win" for a long time to come. Android has the many handset makers going for it. It'll continue to do well. There are still a ton of people (90+% last I read) that have yet to upgrade to a smartphone. Android might remain more popular. But Hyundai's are more popular than BMW's. Nobody pits them against each other. That would be silly.
 
I'll add, that I don't like Apple's locked down approach very much, or it's lack of basic features out of the box, like wifi tethering or just plain moving some damn files around without syncing with iTunes. But most people don't care about those things, and those that do are just the type of people to click here [iphonedownloadblog.com] , and have their cake and eat it too.

Re:Android is overrated (1)

Admodieus (918728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744126)

I see people switching to iPhone from Android with some frequency, but I've never seen anyone go the other way _and like it_.

Really? In the past 6 months, I know about twelve people who have left their iPhones behind and went to an Android device, instead of upgrading to an iPhone 4 when their contracts were due. I realize this is anecdotal, but I see more people switching from iPhone to Android than the other way around.

Re:Android is overrated (2)

KarrdeSW (996917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744166)

This is a strange treatise to write, because I could just as easily swap all occurrences of Android/iPhone and just as many people would be nodding their head along with me.

The pleasure you get out of using a device is a matter of preference/familiarity. This has little to do with Apple either, as I actually wanted an iPhone for the longest time until I actually got one in my hands and started messing around with it. The allure of it went away pretty quickly, but I'm still having lots of fun with my android phone.

It sounds like your choice was completely right on for your preferences, and that's a good thing, but to generalize yourself to the entire population of smartphone users is a bit silly.

What does "win" mean here? (5, Insightful)

joh (27088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744054)

I mean, there is no doubt that Android will be on more devices sold. With uncounted devices from uncounted companies and carriers this is to be expected.

What's interesting is if there will be *one* model of an Android phone that will sell better than the iPhone. If the iPhone will stay the best selling smartphone in 2011, well, it's still the bestselling smartphone.

I'm totally expecting the prices for smartphones spiralling down. An unlocked Android smartphone for $99 with no contract should be possible. It will have crappy battery life, a crappy touchscreen and a crappy camera, though.

Re:What does "win" mean here? (1)

Joe U (443617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744210)

I mean, there is no doubt that Android will be on more devices sold. With uncounted devices from uncounted companies and carriers this is to be expected.

What's interesting is if there will be *one* model of an Android phone that will sell better than the iPhone. If the iPhone will stay the best selling smartphone in 2011, well, it's still the bestselling smartphone.

It's pretty much impossible for one model of Android phone to sell better than the iPhone, mostly because there's really only one iPhone design.

Even if Google figures out how to get something like the Nexus for sale at $99 across all carriers it's not going to happen, some percentage of users will want a keyboard and some won't.

I don't see how an Android hardware maker can win. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744056)

It's very much like the Windows PC business: you can try to make better hardware, but who will pay for better hardware in the commodity world? Aside from the handful of people with various political motivations (free software! Yippee!), anyone buying an Android device is someone who's settling for a half-assed iPhone knock-off, so they're certainly not going to buy "moderately better device A" for twenty bucks more than "cheap shit device B". They're sure as hell not going to spend as much as they would for a genuine iPhone.

What I see ahead for Android is a repeat of the Dell-Acer-Gateway race to the bottom, with margins so thin that the device makers have load them up with crapware because they need the advertising revenue. As for App developers, who wants to try to sell apps to the cheapskates? The only way to make money with an Android app is to make it ad-supported.

Re:I don't see how an Android hardware maker can w (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744286)

Plenty of people will pay for "better hardware" in the PC world.

You just can't FORCE anyone into it. The consumer remains free to choose the option that suits them.

If this makes life hard on hardware makers then it's too damn bad.

They exist to service me, not the other way around.

Subversive Google Wins! (-1, Flamebait)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744070)

They get the largest amount of personal data to use for the advertisers that they could ever get, and never get any other way.

They both will (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744072)

But in different ways. IOS will generate a lot more revnue than Android will, but Android will be on more devices (at least if the current trends keep up).

Bloggers win... (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744150)

Bloggers and their new/end-of year speculations that have no beneficial effect on either product will win.

Keep it simple... (1)

tha_toadman (1266560) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744154)

"Droid Does"

Just switched from iPhone 3g to Droid X (2)

jbeach (852844) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744168)

I'm much happier because of specific things the phone can do, which required a jailbreak on the iPhone or was otherwise just blocked off. That said, I do think the iPhone has an advantage still. This will be with non-technical users who want to do some technically involved things, and don't want to troubleshoot or customize their phones.

To extrapolate a bit from my experience to the market at large, I think this does put Apple in a very good position. Basically Android's success will depend on the hardware manufacturers such as Samsung, Motorola etc. and how well they adapt the Android OS to their phones. Mine's still crashing at odd moments. Like I said I'm happy with it - but if I didn't need specific things the Droid X makes possible I'd probably prefer the latest iPhone.

Re: Apple: Android vs iPhone - Who Wins In 2011? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34744284)

I just bought an Android phone and I still had no need to setup a Google account to get things from the "Android Market" because I'm trying to avoid this customer tie. There's tons of apps available from http://code.google.com/p/ [google.com] . The Adblock extension runs well and there are several browsers and email programs available that do not phone home.

Think on the future (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34744310)

If one clearly wins, then everyone loses. My hope is that none of both do, and even more playerscome... blackberry, palm, meego, all should live (and prosper) to have a healthy ecosystem.
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