Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

iPhone vs Android

Bigger Diggers
Christine has bought herself a Samsung Galaxy S, which is one of the more popular Android-based phones. She had the option of the iPhone 4, but after discussing it together we decided the Galaxy would be better – mainly as it was significantly cheaper and we couldn’t quite justify the extra bells and whistles of the iPhone for the higher price.
So far, I’ve made several observations about the differences between the two:

Samsung Galaxy S

  • It ships with more apps included, which on the one hand means it’s more useful out of the box but also potentially more confusing. And some of them you can’t get rid of.
  • Hardware-wise it has an FM radio, SD card slot and removable battery, which the iPhone lacks, and it also takes regular-sized SIM cards.
  • It’s also lighter than the iPhone 4 and uses a standard mini-USB connector rather than Apple’s proprietary iPod Dock connector.
  • You don’t need to attach it to a computer to be able to use it (which is better if you don’t use Mac or Windows), but you do need a Google account, which Christine didn’t have (but you can create one when you set the phone up).
  • Like all Android phones, you can install any app that’s digitally signed, not just those that Apple approves.

iPhone 4

  • While you need to use iTunes to manage some phone features, it does make browsing the App Store and re-ordering apps easier than using the device itself. That being said DoubleTwist is becoming a good equivalent app for Android phones.
  • There are more accessories for the iPhone 4, especially covers.
  • Some of the apps that I have on my iPhone don’t have Android equivalents. Skype, for example, appears to be only available on Verizon phones in the US. You’re also less likely to install trojan apps on your iPhone since Apple review them all before they appear on the app store.
  • The camera on the iPhone 4 is better – it has a flash and takes better quality pictures, and supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) out of the box too.
  • The screen resolution on the iPhone 4 is higher, but it’s hard to tell the difference – both phones have very, very nice screens in my opinion.

I have to say I was very impressed with the Galaxy, and it is significantly cheaper than the iPhone – some networks are offering it for free on contract whereas you can expect to pay at least something upfront for the iPhone. My advice would be to try both out before buying, and seeing which would suit you most.


  1. Ok. What’s the level of app integration on the Galaxy?
    For example, if I tag a song in Shazam, I can immediately go to iTunes and purchase it. On top of that, iTunes is already setup to manage where the song is downloaded and then I can manage my playlist, podcast, music videos, TV shows, even movie rentals not to mention audio books & now iBOOKs.
    How’s Android all that? As seamless as an iPhone???

  2. Amazing – You get the iPhone and the wife a cheap alternative – How did you pull that off?

  3. Hi Neil,
    In addition to the severely limited choice in cases available for Android phones, you might also want to mention that only iPhone users can choose from hundreds of different HiFi systems, clock radios, home automation interfaces, insulin pumps(!), car hands-free kits, FM transmitters, GPS amplifiers, cars with steering wheel control integration, etc etc etc all of which have iPod/iPhone docks and are designed to work with iOS devices.
    Buying an Android phone is like buying a computer that doesn’t work with the thousands of printers, CD/DVD burners, scanners, external hard disks etc out there.
    If you are at all interested in games, you don’t want an Android phone. Here are the stats for numbers of big name game titles released by some of the largest mobile Game publishers:
    Gameloft – 136 games for iOS vs 12 games for Android
    Capcom Mobile – 27 games for iOS vs 4 games for Android
    EA – 74 games for iOS vs not even an Android section on EA website
    Ngmoco – 42 games for iOS vs 0 for Android
    Pangea – 2 games for iOS vs 0 for Android
    Popcap – 5 for iOS vs 0 for Android
    And total number of games:
    iOS = 38,000 vs Android = 13,000
    Although Popcap and EA have said they will start porting some games to Android soon, this disparity is not likely to change much with iOS developers making 50x the income ($1 billion) compared to Android ($21 million) over a similar timeframe and with piracy ranging from 50-97% on Android.
    With 270,000 apps available for iOS and download rates of 17.2 million per day, a billion every two months, iOS remains the most lucrative for developers and most popular for consumers by a long shot.
    With 80,000 apps made up of whatever anyone wishes to post including thousands of spam apps, “hello world” apps, a growing amount of malware and just plain poorly coded junk, the Android Market remains a desert in comparison.
    DVD John Lech Johansen, the author of DoubleTwist the popular iTunes replacement for Android, on his personal blog has this to say about the Android Marketplace:
    “Google does far too little curation of the Android Market, and it shows. Unlike Apple’s App Store, the Android Market has few high quality apps…. just a few examples of what’s wrong with the Android Market. … 144 spam ringtone apps (which are clearly infringing copyright) are currently cluttering the top ranks of the Multimedia category… Developers and users are getting fed up and it’s time for Google to clean up the house.”
    It’s not enough to only compare the phone hardware anymore – the ecosystem surrounding each platform is just as important with these devices that are far more than just phones now.

  4. So far I’m liking my android.
    Plenty of apps to entertain me, many the same as if not similar too or sometimes better than the apple version (with a couple of notable absences e.g. skype).
    Nice and user friendly.
    Comes with email, facebook, twitter and myspace integration so I didn’t need to download any apps for that.
    Bigger screen than the iphone 4.
    The only fault that I can find with it so far is that the android app store charges in dollars. Neil may see this as a good thing.
    Altogether, why pay over the odds for something that only works better in a few areas by a small margin?
    If I was, of course, interested in games games games, I would just buy an iPad.

  5. I’ve bought into the whole Apple system, iPhones, iMacs, Apple TV, MobileMe, family packs etc. With a couple of exceptions (one PC for my youngest, a vestigial Nokia) the whole family of 5 are riding with Mr Jobs.
    I’ve found it a lot easier to support and administer a home network with mobiles when everyone’s on the same platform.
    I’ve got an Android HTC and a Windows 7 HTC on loan at the moment, I love the screen size and they feel solid and well built, so have no intrinsic preference for the Jesus phone. It’s the *fairly good* integration with all of the other kit that makes it make sense for me, otherwise I can see the attraction of Android.
    I’ve got the other phones because I’ve got to write a mobile application for a degree project. This is isn’t a small undertaking for iOS or Windows mobile duet to application store restrictions. For Android you can just author the app in Flash and download it to your phone.
    Nice blog Neil by the way.