Blood Feud Breakdown: iPhone 4 vs. Droid X
By Robert McMillen, Koin’s Tech Guru
Now that the dust has settled on the iPhone 4, let’s see if you made the right choice. While all the media hype has been going to Apple (thanks to the wizard himself, Steve Jobs), the Android operating system has been quietly taking away market share from the iPhone for the last quarter. However, that may change, at least temporarily, with the new iPhone. Most people knew iPhone 4 was coming so they just waited for it. This allowed Android to outsell to the consumer market over the iPhone this year.
Now that the iPhone is selling millions of phones, will we see the shift go back to Apple? I don’t know, but what I have seen is a shift to Android away from Blackberry more than anything else. I manage dozens of Blackberry servers, and in the last two months I have shut down more Blackberry servers than I’ve installed for my customers. Almost none of them went with Apple. They went with the Android phone of one flavor or another. Some have regretted it.
But a new Droid phone is coming out mid July and the specs have been released for us to do a comparison between the two. I won’t even get into the problems that iPhone 4 users have experienced with holding the phone the wrong way (according to Apple), or the yellow spot on the display that is driving people crazy. The reason for not getting into it is that the Droid X may have similar issues when it’s released in a couple of weeks, so it wouldn’t be fair.
Instead, let’s just focus on pure specs and features. One of the new Droid features is a game changer. It will blow you away if you haven’t heard about it yet, and it may make you cry if you already bought the iPhone 4.
The iPhone sports a 3.5” display compared to the Droid X’s 4.3”. The iPhone has more resolution but the Droid X screen is much larger. iPhone has a 1 Ghz processor with 512 MBs of RAM. Droid X has the same, although the RAM figure hasn’t been officially released.
The Processor on the iPhone may have an advantage because it was custom made for the iPhone and iPad, whereas it appears the ARM processor on Droid X is more of a stock piece. The flash drives are going to be comparable with 16 and 32 GB options, but the Droid can also take an SD card for an extra 16 GBs. iPhone 4 cannot expand. Droid X will be a little larger and heavier as well, but not enough to be a deal breaker.
Talk time and battery life specs are very similar. Both claim a little more in separate categories, but because the screen is so much larger on the Droid X, the usable battery life for the average user will no doubt be longer on an iPhone. Droid X did drop the physical keyboard and is now running the soft keyboard like the iPhone. This will upset some previous Droid buyers.
The camera is better on the Droid X, but Apple has a front and rear facing camera.
Both will cost $200 for the 16 GB model with a two year contract. I say you should go with the 32 GB model if you buy the iPhone because after two years you’ll need it. You can go with the lower model on the Droid X because the storage is expandable.
iPhone has well over 300,000 apps confirmed and may be close to 400,000 or more. The Android has an estimated 100,000 apps, but no one is nailing this down for sure. It does appear that the apps are being created faster for Android because developers find it easier to work with Google than with Apple. Apple is now under investigation by the Feds about making developers use only their tools instead of working the way the developers want to. This will give a bigger kick to Android because they have a much more open developer plan. The downside to that, however, is that the apps won’t go through the same rigorous testing. So you have to ask yourself, do I want more stable apps that are controlled by a father figure I never wanted, or do I want the Wild West with more options and more opportunities to crash my phone? Do you feel lucky? Well, do you?
Apple no! Droid X yes!
The iPhone has added multitasking support which has been a long time coming. I understand that a slow processor and unknown problems kept them from doing that in the past. There has been many upgrades to the email, browser, and other items, but let’s talk about the cameras. The iPhone 4 has one on front and back. The front one will do video calls where you can see the person you’re talking to. It only works over Wi-Fi because of the amount of data a call like that would take, but that is the single biggest improvement in my opinion. The Droid X has one back facing camera only, so no video calling as of yet. Tethering your phone to your computer has also been added. ATT didn’t want this before because you would use up a big chunk of 3G bandwidth on your laptop that you wouldn’t likely use on your iPhone. Now that ATT has a 2 GB limit with the ability to charge for overages, the tethering option has been added.
If you are ready, I will now reveal what may be the most compelling reason for the switch to Droid X. There is a new rumored feature that the Droid X will have a built in Hot Spot capability. That means that you will be able to share your internet connection with multiple computers at once. This is similar to the Mifi device that gave Steve Jobs no end of problems during his iPhone 4 presentation. So many Mifis were in the audience that he couldn’t get a good signal to show off his new iPhone. A Hot Spot feature such as this could save businesses money and time if you only need to have one person in your workgroup to have wireless capability. This would be the first phone to offer a feature like this. People in your area would only have to have Wifi capability on their phone, tablet, netbook, or laptop. They would find your wireless SSID name just like they would at home or in the office. From there they would share your 3G connection to the internet. That is going to be a huge advantage to Droid X.
Verizon’s Droid X will join the new 4G LTE technology 3-6 months sooner than ATT’s iPhone. Once they are both on it, however, the speed should be very similar. With multiple manufacturers making phones for Android, I have to assume that Android models will be faster. The Droid X is just one of many phones that run Google’s Android OS on it, and that is not going to change the speed comparison for this article.
iPhone is $25 for the 2 GB data plan on ATT, while Verizon’s 2 GB plan is only $20 per month.
In marketing the iPhone and Droid X, it’s clear that Verizon wants to appeal to business customers, while Apple wants to appeal to consumers, but with some business features and usability. That goes in line with what I have been seeing in our business where Android phones have been replacing more Blackberry units than iPhones.
Before deciding which phone to get, you may need to consider your main purpose for having a smart phone to begin with. They cost more than a regular phone, but the features are amazing compared to just a few years ago. The question is, can you use them?
Let me know which one you pick, because my contract is up next month, and I am deciding which way to go just like the rest of you.
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