Android vs iPhone

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.


  1. Few things:
    1. Multiple desktops: i'm not sure why you didn't see it. Android has 5 "desktops" or home screens that you can switch to by swiping left or right..

    2. Gadgets: Actually called widgets. They are one of THE BEST things android gives you. Because you don't even need to open an app to perform most of the tasks. And widgets can be sized from 1x1 (single icon) to whole page (4x4) so you can fit 1 to 16 widgets on a page. I play all my music from my home screen, my upcoming meetings show on my home screen, animated weather keeps showing on my home screen, volume control, data control lives on my home screen, and much more.. all this without even opening any app.. What can be more time saving than this?

    3. It does have landscape view for almost everything.. It is possible that your friend had turned off orientation settings..

    4. I agree with you on the market thing. It has a LOT to improve upon in categories and filters.

    5. The gmail integration is not limited to just mail.. The phone is through and through integrated with lots of google stuff and others.. e.g. contacts.. They are auto synced with gmail, and lot of other apps as well if you want.. like you can see twitter updates of your contacts in your contacts list.. while going through your contact list, you can not just call them/message them but also send them an @reply through twitter or leave message on their wall in facebook, etc..

    6. Another thing is that there are lots of good games and apps are there comparable to iPhone but you cant see them in India as paid apps are not available here yet.. And that is one of the down points of android.. but the other thing is that many apps can be bought from outside the market and installed.. or you can install their lite versions and pay the dev separately to convert into full version.. but yeah, this is a major shortcoming wrt iPhone..

  2. Pt1 & Pt2: It has 5 widget screens. IF you want access to apps, you will need to open the apps listing for _each_ and _copy_ them over one at a time. But most of the time it is used for widgets and most of them are too big to allow more than 2 per page.

    For pt2 can you screenshot your home screen ? I would like to see how you have fitted in all those things in one page.

    On music - I dont even need to unlock the iPhone. If i am wearing the handsfree, just pinching the mic starts the songs. Another pinch, and it stops. Double pinch moves to next song. Also, double-pressing the home button brings up onscreen music control over any app if you want to change the music.

    Pt 3: Possibly. I will check that out.

  3. Another comparison, this time from an Android users point of view.

  4. I am sorry... but your review is very lacking.. How about All google apps are free on the android? or the fact you can root your phone to run any version of android you want (within hardware limitation). Or Live backgrounds? How about you spend more then 5 hours with it before you write a review... K? k :)

  5. Also with apn 1.61 and above you can now rotate the home screen sideways.

  6. @anonymous (jul 18) google apps are also free on the iPhone. So, that is hardly a distinguishing factor.

    Rooting the phone - again a geek talking. However, from a non-geek end user's point of view, rooting is a not a distinguishing factor for them.

    I will surely spend more time on the Android - you are sponsoring it right ? :)