Wednesday, December 29, 2010

iPhone vs. Android: Survival of the Fittest

Forget the price - no matter how cheap Android phones get, there will always be the emo audience for iPhone.

Forget the feature set of the platform - they're roughly identical by now.

It is all a matter of evolutionary pressure now.

Android devices are created, pushed to market, accepted or rejected by it, and die or flourish at extremely fast pace, even when there is a risk of cannibalization of different products from the same manufacturer (does Nexus S kill Galaxy S? absolutely). The competition is fierce, the elimination is ruthless.

Apple devices, on the other hand, are lovingly created by the mind of The Great Chairman, and accepted unambiguously (simply because there is no other choice) by the gang of loyal followers and wannabes living within the reality distortion field.

I don't think that's enough feedback to improve.

The ever brandished threat of fragmentation is not the hand of doom, but the blessing in disguise, along with lack or presence of LED indicators, or physical keyboard, or sensor buttons, or touch buttons, or front camera, or flash, or dedicated camera shutter button, or whatever else comes to your mind. It is you that is the deciding factor in the outcome.

My prediction at this time is that Apple will be forced to retreat into a niche of being just one of dozens smartphone and tablet manufacturers. Unless -
And so the only way for the iPhone to “beat” Android would be for Apple to either open iOS up in the same way that Android is, or to create a huge variety of iPhones spread across the spectrum in terms of features and price. Neither of those things is going to happen. -- MG Siegler
And on the other hand, just like he says, there will be a huge variety of Android phones spread across the spectrum of features, quality and price. Is this good? I'd say it is a double edged sword. Whereas Apple's quality is well known, in Android market you have to take calculated risk - it is, by definition, an early adopter market, any smartphone older than a couple of months is already obsolete. But at least you're voting with your dollars to move the whole population into the direction you want.

Let the fittest survive.


  1. I've got the impression that your opinion about Apple and their products is highly skewed and any discussion with you is simply pointless :-)

  2. Not skewed, informed and practical to the bone.

    I've been exposed to multiple Apple products (had iPod for 90 days, returned it to the store with disgust after being spoiled by pre 2.0 Amarok, have iPad, get constantly amazed with its stupidity, looked closely at different iPhones, wasn't impressed) and Android products (HTC G1, G2, MyTouch 4G, Samsung Galaxy S, Nexus S). While I do agree that Apple products *look* more polished as far as industrial design (in a strict sense, is concerned, they don't necessarily represent a better *use* value (knee jerk argument: compare i* synchronization via iTunes with Android cloud based sync which you don't even see, it just works).

    Give me facts, then let's talk :D

  3. 'stupid' is quite a subjective term. You've mentioned this several time, yet no clear example what makes iPad so stupid.

  4. Agreed, "stupid" is a subjective term. Let me give you a few examples of what I call stupid:

    - The fact that I need iTunes to do *anything* to iPad;

    - The fact that it is extremely easy to get the stuff *in*, but practically impossible to get the stuff *out* (and if you do, it is often crippled - a friend of mine just sent me pictures, turned out all EXIF information was stripped);

    - The fact that there's one bloody button to get you out of the application, and the rest of navigation is as "fragmented" as individual application developers desire (as opposed to Android where there is a least "cancel/back" and "options" that behave in a more or less predictable way - I believe we all have to thank RIM for inventing that);

    - The fact that even Apple applications are inconsistent and threaten to blow you up and leave you with no way back if you hit a link one extra time (try finding a book using Apple Store, clicking on "details" and then getting back to a possibly N-th page of your search, or, for a change, try to do something with a book in iBooks library and then accidentally hit a link to the Store and see where it gets you - or something like that, I forgot).

    Things like this keep piling up. It is OK by itself (nobody's perfect) except for incessant whine of Apple fanboys and relentless praise of Steve's genius, which actually do cross my pain threshold and make me actively despise Apple as a phenomenon.

    If you read other articles here, you know that I'm not a stranger to criticizing anything and anyone, so please don't be left with impression that Apple was unfairly singled out :)

    Everyone makes mistakes. But those who claim to be perfect do deserve criticism served first with no reservations, lest they rest on their laurels.