This past Christmas, the smart-phone wars raged on. Their rise in popularity has been a big driver in the demand for bandwidth in Hawaii as both consumers and businesses utilize mobile "cloud" applications, such as Web browsers, video and Web mail, and social media.
So which platform does the savvy buyer go to? We asked some local experts for their thoughts.
Dan Leuck, chief executive officer of Ikayzo, a Manoa Innovation Center-based IT consulting and software development company, says that both platforms have advantages but he’s partial to Apple’s iPhone, especially for IT novices, because "the user-friendliness factor is very high."
"This goes double," says Leuck, "if you’re an existing Apple user because the iPhone is integrated with the Apple universe — computer, iPad, Apple TV, iTunes, etc." He also likes the huge number of Apple apps, which he says are thoroughly tested, versus Android’s apps, which he reckons "may not always be vetted."
John Wang, head of mobile development at Ikayzo, is an expert in both platforms. He likes the fact that Google apps (such as Google Mail) are more easily integrated into Android phones. He also notes that the iPhone is currently tethered to one carrier (AT&T). With Android you can pick any carrier in Hawaii — Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, Mobi and Nextel.
"The iPhone has great technology but only comes in one model," Wang says. "Droid phones are available from a number of phone manufacturers, such as Samsung, HTC and Motorola. They also have varied options, so if you want a phone with a QWERTY keyboard or an enormous screen, you’ll probably find an Android model that fulfills your needs."
We looked at a couple of Google phones, the Samsung Epic 4G and the HTC Evo 4G (both available from Sprint), and came up with a thumbnail comparison:
Display: The Evo wins with a bigger 4.3-inch screen versus 4.0 for the Epic. Resolution (800 x 480) on both is identical, but the Evo’s display works better in bright sunlight.
Camera: The 8-megapixel Evo 4G camera is a better shot than the Epic’s 5-megapixel camera.
Speed: On paper the Epic is faster, but in practical use it’s a wash.
So which platform do our experts prefer?
A Droid phone will match most of the iPhone’s key features and has some distinctive benefits of its own. (For example, the built-in support for the Google Voice telephone service and Google Maps’ audio turn-by-turn driving directions are pretty compelling.)
"I own and use both an iPhone 4 and a Droid," says Wang. "With further competition between the Apple and the Droid camps getting hotter, the consumer is going to win either way. The subscription price for both platforms is nearly the same, and you’re not going to make big compromises by choosing one over the other."