Yesterday I got a chance to chill out with an Android phone - the HTC Desire. Its being used by one of my team mates (recently I have started working on a project with tenCube which makes the security software WaveSecure).
As a long time user of the iPhone (one and a half years now!), and having a good knowledge of current trends in the market I can say that I would passably know what I am talking about :)
At the end of the playtime ( which was like a few hrs since we were celebrating 5 years of tenCube in a lounge ) , I am left with mixed feelings. Let me elaborate.
What the Android has that the iPhone does not.
The biggest +like factor is the ability to multitask. That was like wow ! coming from the limitations of the iPhone. My colleages gtalk was working silently in the background, and he got an IM from another colleague from Singapore - which shows up as a scrolling text in the top status bar. I was like WTF ! cool !
Since its a google android, it works seamlessly with gmail. In fact - when you first start an android based phone, it will ask you for your gmail id - and if you are not using gmail as your primary email - you are not gonna enjoy the integration. But I suppose, if you are reading this post, you do have a gmail id.
Apart from this...
... nothing much.
Some comparison Notes
These are the things that I noticed while playing around with it.
iPhone has a kind of 'multiple desktop' concept where you can just scroll around by swiping left and right. In Android you require 2 steps : 1. click the button to bring out the list of apps and then scroll through them.
Android has the gadgets concept which is like the Windows or Google gadgets that you have on your PC. I think these are highly overrated as per screen you cannot really fit in more than 1 or max 2 gadgets.
Game quality on the iPhone is much superior to the Android. I have Assasin's Creed and Hero of Sparta on my phone, and going through the Android market I was not really able to find out any similar kind of game.
The Android market is tiny - and also not very well categorized. For instance, on the main screen you just have 'games' and 'apps' category. in games you just have some 4 different categories. In spite of what people may say about the android market place increasing - it still feels very limited and stifled.
Another annoyance is that the size of download is tucked away in the text and not shown at the top. Further it is greyed out - its like they want to trick you into downloading without knowing the size.
Form factor both were near enought. I guess thats cause of HTC engineering rather than Google.
Some pages have login screens with the login and password boxes. On the iPhone when you touch any of these, the page zooms so that you can easily see what you are typing in. On Android there is no such functionality. On top of it, double tapping does not work as expected. On the iPhone double tapping expands the table element , so for instance, if you double tap on a text column, it will 'fit-width' and you can continue with it. On android, it just zooms without looking at the element you are tapping. So most of the time, you end up pinching to zoom correctly.
The HTC also does not do landscape view - which is a mystery to me. Some text is still a bit small when you look at it in portrait mode. So, i am used to tilting to horizontal mode and can easily read it. On the HTC, I was not able to find such stuff.
The Facebook app for iPhone is much much better than that on Android. I think that the app is still new to Android and expect it to improve, but the one on iPhone is just better.
oh, and gmail integration is also doable on the iPhone by hooking up your gmail account as an exchange account. So that advantage goes away.
On the whole - the User eXperience is much better on the iPhone, even now. Android has one upped on the functionality scale, but I have a big suspecion that the iPhone release ( on 7th June 2010) is going to blow away that advantage.
At this point I will not recommend any phone to you. Wait for the 7th , and i will be doing a review of the iPhone OS.
But one thing I do know - my iPhone 3G will not be doing multi tasking as apple is deliberately crippling that option.