by Briana Campbell (@MsMatchGirl)
It’s funny. If I look around the Zemoga offices, I see a lot of iPhones. Pretty much everyone here in the New York office is a devotee of the iPhone. A member of the cult of Jobs. When I am out with my friends, I look around and most of them have iPhones as well. Heck, even my mother, a woman in her mid-60s and, while not a Luddite, certainly not an early adopter, has an iPhone.
While I consider myself a Mac girl – my family’s first computer was a Macintosh SE in 1987 (it was a hand-me-down) – and I pre-ordered a Tangerine iBook in 1999 – when it came time to jump on the smart phone bandwagon, the iPhone was not for me. And with Google reporting 60,000 Android devices activated daily as of April 2010, it appears that I am not alone.
So, if I am such a Mac girl, you may ask, why the Android OS? The first reason was simple and had nothing to do with the phone or the operating system. It was simply the carrier. I’ve been with my mobile phone company for a decade now – I’m used to them, I like them – I get good service and good prices. Though my contract had expired and I could move on to any carrier, I really didn’t feel the need. And while all my early adopter friends were swooning over their iPhones, they constantly mentioned dropped calls and not receiving texts till hours after they had been sent. While I think AT&T has recently addressed this issue, at the time, in major metropolitan areas, that was a big deal-breaker for potential iPhone buyers. Would things be different if I could have gotten an iPhone not attached to an AT&T service contract? Maybe. It will be interesting to see what 2011 will bring, when/if Verizon gets the iPhone.
Would have and could have and should have aside, I have had my Android phone for a little over a year now and I am, for the most part, very happy with it.
What do I like?
Variety. The Android OS is available on a wide range of phones (and a tablet) from several mobile carriers. This keeps pricing of services competitive, ensures there is a phone for everyone and, even if you are sitting at a table filed with Android users, as I was on Saturday night, the likelihood that you will have the same phone as someone else in pretty small. (And everyone knows us Americans love our individuality)
Open Source. Sure, the fact that Android is open source means pretty much anyone can get the code and write an application. Which has the possibility of leading to a lot of sub-par apps opens the possibilities of great apps, amazing innovation and the building of communities. Because of this, buggy software is constantly being fixed and updated and the updates are available immediately on your phone.
From the Android philosophy page:
We created Android in response to our own experiences launching mobile apps. We wanted to make sure that there would always be an open platform available for carriers, OEMs, and developers to use to make their innovative ideas a reality. We wanted to make sure that there was no central point of failure, where one industry player could restrict or control the innovations of any other. The solution we chose was an open and open-source platform.
What don’t I like?
Singular marketplace. Or, the lack thereof. iPhone users can hop on over to the Apps Store and easily search for or get suggestions based on previous history. They are ale to search online or via iTunes for every app available to them. The Android user has no such central marketplace. While there is a comprehensive market app on the phone, the search feature is tenuous and, personally, I end up finding more apps I want to use via friends (I downloaded 2 new MTA apps over drinks on Saturday night as I listened to friends compare notes about them) or after reading articles on Geeksugar or Mashable, than via the Android Marketplace.
While developers and constantly making new apps for the iPhone before concentrating on ones for Android phones, the rise in numbers, in 2010 for Android supporting devices means that the little green guys isn’t going anywhere. Not any time soon.