The iPhone vs. Android: What’s the Big Difference?

Look, I’m Team Apple all the way and my Droid geeky friends get sick of posting about Mac products all the time. I’m not paid by Apple and I don’t get paid to blog about gadgets (although, if you know of a gig like that opening up can you PLEASE let me know!). I’m just a power user and a Geek Diva Gadget Girl who likes her techie toys. I’m in love with my iPhone, my Mac Pro and I can hardly contain myself waiting for the new iPad 2. But, if you’re still on the fence and want a comparison between the two hottest smartphone options on the planet (sorry Blackberry, I abandoned you in 2009… RIM sucks the big one… OK, truth be told I still have a Blackberry but that’s beside the point) then this article may help you decide.

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 Thesmartphone has become the Swiss Army knife of the 21st century: endlessly useful, cool, and a necessary tool that every man should carry. The difference is that smart phones carry a hefty cost, and they’re not all designed equally well.Two of the most popular smartphones are the ubiquitous Apple iPhone and its new challenger, Google’s Android platform. Here’s a look at how the two phone giants stack up.


First, we need to be clear about something. There’s no official “Android” phone, just as there’s no official “Windows” computer. Android is simply the name for Google’s mobile operating system, and as such, it’s somewhat difficult to compare the iPhone to Android without being biased. Many functions of the iPhone seem to work more intuitively than those on Android phones, but that’s mainly because the iPhone and its operating system were designed to work together, while Android was designed to be used on a variety of phones made by a variety of manufacturers.

Therefore, if you’re looking for that “wow, cool!” factor, you’re probably going to be more impressed with what the iPhone has to offer. Every function of the iPhone seems to work effortlessly, with intuitive touch-screen controls that have made it the weapon of choice for countless hipsters in coffee shops everywhere. However, most of what the iPhone offers is available on Android phones. You want the web? The Android phones can get you there. You want a touch screen? Android phones have that, too. In fact, the best Android phone currently available, the Nexus One, feels completely natural.

The big difference is that the iPhone is a single device, while Android is a software platform. That makes a straight comparison difficult but not impossible; it’s like comparing Macs to PCs, as many bloggers have noted. Apple carefully controls everything available on its iPhone. Google’s Android, on the other hand, offers its adherents something else: freedom to do whatever you’d like with your phone.


Why the Verizon iPhone Doesn’t Spell Disaster for AT&T

Could it be true? Is Verizon REALLY fianally getting the iPhone this time… really? According to, even if they do, it won’t mean the end for AT&T. Some customers won’t be able to afford to jump ship and others may not want to do so. As for me, I’m not getting out of my contract until AT&T gets the iPhone 5 and launches their 4G network! If they make it worth my while and one has to assume that a Verizon competition will do just that, I could come out ahead. Oh, and if AT&T gets their 4G network right, it’s a wrap for me… I’m staying put. All eyes are on this new deal… let’s see what happens.

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Verizon is about to deliver a blow to AT&T when it ends the network’s exclusive hold on the iPhone, but it definitely won’t be the end of the world for the second largest carrier in the U.S.

Earlier this week, Verizon announced a press event next Tuesday in New York City. All signs indicate that Verizon will introduce the iPhone on its network and launch it in the next few weeks. At this point, nobody should be surprised: it’s Apple’s worst-kept secret.

Since the news broke about Verizon’s event, there has been no shortage of media reports about the potential negative impact of the Verizon iPhone on AT&T. Some of it has devolved into (justifiable) AT&T bashing, and some predict that it’ll be a major or even mortal blow to the nation’s second largest network.

Let’s take a step back and keep some objective perspective, though. While the Verizon iPhone will have a negative impact on AT&T, it’s not going to break AT&T’s back. The network has been preparing itself for the loss of its iPhone exclusivity contract for a long time. It’s ready to do battle with Verizon.

Huge Switching Fees

While a group of early adopters are likely to burn their contracts and switch to Verizon on day one, the vast majority of people will not. The reason is that the switching costs are simply too high.

AT&T made a smart business decision last year: they bumped up the iPhone’s early termination fee. If consumers want to switch, the first fee they will have to pay is the ETF, giving AT&T even more money to pad its profits.

The second fee is the cost of the Verizon iPhone. The AT&T iPhone 4 is based on UMTS 3G technology, while the Verizon iPhone will be based on Verizon’s CDMA 3G tech. The result is that consumers will have to buy a new iPhone and a new contract. While they can sell their AT&T iPhones, it won’t offset the cost of a new contract and it definitely won’t offset the cost of that early termination fee.

While some consumers can afford to switch, the vast majority don’t have that kind of money and are on family plans that they won’t abandon immediately.

There is at least one more switching fee for AT&T users who want to jump to Verizon: the switch from UMTS to CDMA. UMTS is a more prevalent 3G standard for a simple reason: it’s a better technology. AT&T actually does have the fastest 3G network in the U.S. and it does have the advantage of being able to send and receive data and voice at the same time, while the Verizon iPhone will not be able to do data while on a phone call.

We May Hate AT&T, but It Has a Response Plan

Of course, people will rightly point out that a faster 3G network means nothing if you can’t even connect to 3G in the first place.

Verizon has a lot of advantages over AT&T. It has the largest 3G network coverage in the U.S. More importantly, it doesn’t have the distinction of being the nation’s most despised wireless carrier. I basically gave up on my iPhone at CES in Las Vegas this week and relied on my Verizon Droid 2 instead. It’s utterly embarrassing that AT&T still has these kinds of problems over three years since the iPhone’s debut.

Oh, and the Verizon iPhone will reportedly offer unlimited data as a slap in AT&T’s fast.

That’s not enough to take down AT&T though, and the carrier is ready to fight back against the Verizon iPhone threat. When the iPhone 5 rolls out sometime this summer, both networks will pull out all the stops in order to get consumers. Price cuts, heavy advertising and incentive offerings will be plentiful later this year. Verizon is going to take some AT&T customers, but it won’t get them without a fight.

At the same time, AT&T is stocking up on some powerful phones to complement the iPhone. Motorola debuted the ATRIX 4G at CES last week, a 1GHz dual-core processing beast that sports a 960×540 qHD screen, a 1,930mAH battery and a full GB of RAM. It even has a dock that lets you use your Android phone and a full version of Firefox on the same screen.

It was the best phone to debut at CES, and it is exclusive to AT&T.

The carrier will try to pull away happy Android phone users from Verizon and other networks with competitive contracts and a new line of ridiculously powerful phones. With phones like the ATRIX, Verizon won’t be having all the Android fun.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that AT&T isn’t going to be hemorrhaging users on Verizon iPhone launch day due to switching costs, and AT&T has strong profits and a strong line of phones coming to market this year that will keep it competitive, including the iPhone.

The Verizon iPhone isn’t likely to change the fate of either company. Instead, the future of both carriers will depend on the speed and strength of their 4G network rollouts. Verizon has started its 4G rollout and AT&T will begin its 4G launch later this year. AT&T’s past sins could be forgiven if it succeeds in rolling out a reliable 4G network, but failure could cement its rather poor reputation.

Yes, the Verizon iPhone will negatively impact AT&T. However, to say that it will put AT&T on the ropes is just silly. The intense battle between these two carriers is going to play out for years to come, and both have tricks up their sleeves that will continually change the rules of engagement.



iPhone Fingerprint and Face Recognition Add-On for Law Enforcement

iPhone add-on that’s a bit out of the ordinary offering law enforcement fiingerprint, face and iris recognition. I like my iPhone more and more every day!

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 Here’s something that qualifies as an iPhone accessory that is a bit out of the ordinary. MORIS from BI(2) Technologies is a hardware add-on for the iPhone that provide law enforcement personnel the ability to perform:

– Iris recognition
– Facial recognition
– Fingerprint identification

See more at


Video courtesy of BI2Technologies

iPhone users are the most loyal smartphone owners

The smartphone war continues! Worldwide, it seems iPhone users are sticking with their Apple smartphone. For me, I love the Apple interface of the Mac Book Pro, iPhone, iPod(s) and iPad. I’m not so sure that I’m loyal to the product line as much as I want an seemless interaction between my most used devises and therefore I stick with Apple. Well, that and the fact that Apple offers great products. Either way, we’re winning customer loyalty… for now.

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iPhone users are the most loyal smartphone owners

59% say they’re sticking with iOS

New research from GfK claims that nearly six in ten iPhone owners plan to stay loyal to iOS – well ahead of rival smartphone operating systems.

35% of BlackBerry owners say they’ll stay loyal to RIM, while the results for Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile are 28%, 24% and 21% respectively.

The stats are important: they show how rapidly the smartphone market is changing. Symbian remains the most popular OS, but if 76% of those users are eyeing rival platforms, its share may slide fast in the next 12-18 months.

That said, Android’s low loyalty score is also surprising. Google is activating hundreds of thousands of devices a day, but it seems it has yet to engender Apple-level loyalty in its new users.

GfK’s research is based on an online survey of 2,653 mobile users in Brazil, Germany, Spain, the UK, the US and China.


iPhone Users Download Average of 40 Apps, Android 25, BlackBerry 14

I don’t know what is more interesting to me… that iPhone users are only downloading an average of 40 apps, or that the Nielsen company is did the research for this article. Things that make you go… hmmmm…

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Nielsen AppCategories Study: iPhone Users Download Average of 40 Apps, Android 25, BlackBerry 14The last we had heard in mobile app research was a forecast that there would be 25 billion downloads by 2015, and along the same vein, Nielsen has released the results of a survey of some 4,000 mobile users about their application downloading habits. As you’d expect, iPhone users were the most active, with an average of 40 apps installed, while those with an Android phone had 25. BlackBerry trailed significantly with an average of 14 applications, and across all platforms, the average worked out to 27 applications. Those numbers are all up from December,  showing that even on BlackBerry, interest in mobile apps is growing. No surprise there.

There was also a categorical breakdown of the kinds of apps people were downloading; games were at the forefront, with 61% of smartphone-owning respondents having downloaded one in the last month, followed by weather, maps, social networking, and music. Facebook, Pandora, the Weather Channel, and Google Maps ranked among the top five used applications across all platforms.

I wish there was more usage data published, as I would like to see how often downloaded apps are used on a platform-by-platform basis. I know that on BlackBerry, I have a select few apps, but I make use of them pretty regularly, while my iPod Touch is loaded to the gills with applications that I’ll use maybe once every two months (if that). My brief experience with Android is somewhere in between; maybe half I’ll use with any consistency, and the others are highly situational.

Average per-device application downloads rank in the same order as the size of their respective app stores. At last count, the iTunes App Store had a buxom 250,000 iOS apps, the Android Market sat comfortably in the middle with 80,000 titles, and BlackBerry App World recently broke 10,000.  Obviously if user activity is high, developers will be more interested in getting into the app store, overcrowding be damned.


Move over Apple, you may not be the sexiest phone afterall!

As the smartphone wars continue, it looks like the iPhone (my preference for it’s integration into all my other Apple products) is getting some stiffer competition. Will Apple’s culture hurt the iPhone?

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If you want a smartphone powered by Google’s Android software, you could get Motorola’s Droid 2 or its cousin, the Droid X. Then there is the Droid Incredible from HTC, the Fascinate from Samsung and the Ally from LG.

Paul Sakuma/Associated Press -Steven P. Jobs, in 1984, presented the new Macintosh personal computer.


That’s just on Verizon Wireless. An additional 20 or so phones running Android are available in the United States, and there are about 90 worldwide.

But if your preference is an Apple-powered phone, you can buy — an iPhone.

That very short list explains in part why, for all its success in the phone business, Apple suddenly has a real fight on its hands.

Americans now are buying more Android phones than iPhones. If that trend continues, analysts say that in little more than a year, Android will have erased the iPhone’s once enormous lead in the high end of the smartphone market.

But this is not the first time Apple has found itself in this kind of fight, where its flagship product is under siege from a loose alliance of rivals selling dozens of competing gadgets.

In the early 1980s, the Macintosh faced an onslaught of competition from an army of PC makers whose products ran Microsoft software. The fight did not end well for Apple. In a few years, Microsoft all but sidelined Apple, and the company almost went out of business.

Can Apple, which insists on tight control of its devices, win in an intensely competitive market against rivals that are openly licensing their software to scores of companies? It faces that challenge not only in phones, but also in the market for tablet computers, where the iPad is about to take on a similar set of rivals.

“This is a really big strategic question,” said Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein and Company. “No one knows whether openness will ultimately prevail as it did on the PC.”

Apple declined to comment on the issue.

By some measures, the competition Apple faces this time is even more formidable than it was in PCs. In addition to the Android family, Apple already competes with Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry.

And the iPhone will soon have one more powerful, and familiar, foe: Microsoft. That company’s well-reviewed Windows Phone 7 software will appear in as many as nine new smartphones beginning next month. Others like Nokia cannot be counted out.


Verizon iPhone 4 March 2011 debut stales Verizon iPhone 5 launch date

I am gonna need the arrival of the Verizon iPhone 4 (which I’ll believe when it actually arrives in the store) to NOT stop the roll out of the iPhone 5 on Verizon, AT&T or anywhere else.

It could be Apple is waiting for the roll out of the 4G network on both carriers. Then of course there are rumors that Verizon will be the only carrier to have the iPhone 5. Let’s not even talk about how unhappy that little rumor will make me should it come to fruition. I only came back to AT&T to get the iPhone 3Gs. Either way, can we please move past the iPhone 4? The bigger, better iPhone 5 is right around the corner and I WANT IT!

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The Verizon iPhone 4’s early 2011 arrival, which many had interpreted to mean January 2011, is now being pegged as March 2011 by at least one analyst. This new date, if accurate, raises questions about the future of the iPhone roadmap. Apple has historically released a new iPhone model each June or July, going back to 2007. If that pattern holds, the iPhone 5 will arrive in June or July of 2011. In such a case, a Verizon iPhone 4 in January makes sense, as it would allow Apple to begin selling the iPhone to Verizon customers a good six months earlier than if it simply waited for the arrival for the iPhone 5 to do so. But a March arrival date for the Verizon iPhone would raise the question of whether the iPhone 5 is indeed on track for early summer release.

Sure, Apple wants to stop the rise of Verizon’s Droid platform in its tracks sooner rather than later, particularly seeing as how many of those Droid buyers freely admit that they actually want an iPhone but aren’t willing to leave Verizon. But the idea that Apple would take the trouble to put a Verizon-compatible iPhone 4 on the market for a mere three months, particularly with so much of the public aware that Apple releases new-generation iPhones in the summer, would border on overreaction.

Unless, of course, the iPhone 5 isn’t coming this summer after all.

What could be the holdup? The most obvious candidate would be the impending arrival of the 4G network on both Verizon and AT&T. If Apple plans to build the iPhone 5 to be 4G-compatible, then it could hold the iPhone 5’s release until the 4G network has been built out sufficiently on both carriers. Or Apple could opt to release the iPhone 5 at separate times on separate carriers, depending on each carrier’s 4G progress. In other words, the arrival of a Verizon iPhone 4 in March, followed by the arrival of the AT&T iPhone 5 in say, June, and then the arrival of a Verizon iPhone 5 sometime after that, is entirely possible. Apple has never rolled out an iPhone in that manner before. But then again, Apple has never previously had the iPhone available on multiple U.S. carriers.


The iPhone 5 Rumor Mill and Other Stories for Early 2011

Rumors like… the iPhone 5 will only be coming to Verizon… it could be available by early 2011… it will be smaller, faster and better than before. Oh, and then there’s the rumor of a new iPad mini coming in 2011… but wait… isn’t that an iTouch? All I know is, if I became an AT&T customer just so I could get my beloved iPhone 3Gs (so glad I didn’t pay for an upgrade to the 4) and now the bigger, better, faster version will be on Verizon I will not… I repeat… I will NOT be a happier camper. Like Steve Jobs cares one way or the other about how happy I am.

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Courtesy of

To every rumor, there is a season, and it’s especially true for the iPhone 5.

In July, the rumors about the new iPhone began to fly, and what was most interesting about them was the rumored delivery of the gadget. Reputable Apple news sources like iLounge were hearing chatter that the iPhone 5 would make its debut as early as January of 2011 — just 6 or 7 months after the release of the often hyped, sometimes maligned iPhone 4.

Building on to this rumor was that Verizon would be getting the iPhone 5, and that it would have all kinds of new additions and innovations that iPhone users have been jonesing for: a larger screen, an internal antenna, bump payment technology, and more. All of these rumors have led to even bigger questions about the future of the iPhone, its relationship with AT&T, its competition with Droid, and more.

But all of those fun rumors have now passed. We’re now in a new season of rumors: the season of skepticism.

Although there is no proof to the contrary, tech speculators are now beginning to doubt the iPhone 5 rumors — particularly the ones that have to do with an early 2011 release. As quickly as iPhone 5 fervor had embraced the notion that the new version could usher in the New Year, now the Apple intelligensia are poo-poo’ing the same rumors that they helped to foment. Do you feel like you’re getting jerked around a bit?

Well, you are.

The fact is, Apple’s PR department plays a prominent, albeit stealth role in these rumors. They are acutely aware of the rumors — perhaps they are even the author of them. And it makes perfect sense: what better way to keep the smart phone media and market focused on your company by drumming up copious amounts of free press and chatter about your company’s next product? While we all continue to debate whether and what the next iPhone will be, competitors like the Droid are left in the shade. Therefore, when rumors and information get “leaked” to the public, it is usually in the form of controlled leakage.


Google Earth 3.1 Lets You Look UnderWater!

With the latest release of Google Earth 3.1 for iOS, you can now explore underwater landscapes and terrain on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. By land or sea, Google Earth will take you there.


Looking for buried treasure? No problem, just use Google Earth. Want to know if your roof needs repair, just put in your home address (I’m not kidding, I saw a missing shingle thanks to Google Earth).


I kid about Google being in the world domination business but I don’t think I’m joking anymore. Gotta go, I’m using Google Earth to see what’s really going on under sea level at the Bermuda Triangle.

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Dive below the ocean’s surface to explore underwater canyons, or travel to the ocean’s deepest point, the Mariana Trench. Once underwater, simply swipe the screen with two fingers to “look around.” You can always reset your view by clicking on the north arrow on the iPad, or on the compass on the iPhone and iPod.As with the desktop and other mobile versions of Google Earth, we’ve also added the “Ocean” layer, which features hundreds of photos and videos from more than 100 contributors curated by the Sylvia Earle Alliance.

This version also includes native support for the new Retina display, which means that if you have an iPhone 4 or the new iPod touch, you’ll get to enjoy an even sharper view of the world. 

Google Earth 3.2 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is available now in the App Store, or navigate to in your mobile browser. You can also download Google Earth by scanning this QR code:

For help or additional information, visit our help center.



Geek Bike Riders Of The World UNITE!

A new accessory app transforms the iPhone into a bicycle computer and I couldn’t be happier. As a biker, this is a gadget I can’t WAIT to get my hands on!

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Like we mentioned a few weeks ago, we’re pretty excited about the potential for the iPhone morphing into all kinds of contraptions through hooking up with a little extra hardware. New Potato is one of the lead outfits in this area, and they’ve just introduced a kit that turns the iPhone into a bike super-computer. Rad.

The $99 kit contains a rather large cadence/speed sensor, ruggedized rubber iPhone mount, mounting hardware and a dongle that the iPhone uses to communicate with the sensor; combine the  kit with the free LiveRider app, and presto — a cycling computer with all the standard functions (speed along with max and average, time, distance, cadence, pace) and more advanced functions like competing against a chase bike, ride map and speed graph.

Being the bike geeks we are here at the Cult, we’ve already started playing around with a test unit and we’ll have a full report up soon. Can’t wait? LiveRider is available from retailer J&R or directly from New Potato.


The Droid Lovers Strike Back And Report They Have Great Sex Too!

Yesterday OKCupid set the web on fire with their “scientific” data revealing iPhone users have more sex than other smartphone users. If that wasn’t funny enough, Android user got pissed an are now striking back asking questions like… “do they really? Or are they just more promiscuous?” I love having smartphone wars with my friends but this take it to a whole other level.

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That renowned institute for social scientific research, OkCupid, yesterday caused a stir with data purportedly showing that iPhone users totally get more laid than Android and BlackBerry users. The news was picked up, well, just about everywhere.

As often happens in science, the study has provoked controversy, drawing a rapid response from other researchers in the field. Some sullenly looked for explanations. “Who knows, maybe it is because we have porn,” wrote Android Central’s Kyle Gibb. Others were quick to point out that correlation does not equal causation, and it may simply be that “people who tend to score a lot more, for whatever reasons, might also be the type inclined to get iPhones for some of those same reasons.” Still others, without disputing the findings, sought to overturn them in future surveys by changing user behavior now: “go out and have sex,” commanded Android Police’s Aaron Gingrich. “We can’t have those iPhone asshats showing us up that badly.”

The most compelling objection to the OkCupid study so far concerns interpretation of the data. Though many outlets, including our own, reported that iPhone users had more sex than others, in fact the study only measures number of different partners. Droid partisans have been insistent on this point; after all, someone who has sex thousands of times with a single partner certainly has more sex than someone who has a dozen one-night stands. “I’m married, monogamous, and have more sex than most single people. 3 – 5 x per week,” an Android Central commenter helpfully illustrated. (“The downside is I still have a BlackBerry,” he added.)


Even though it’s now legal to jailbreak your iPhone, Apple warns if you do you will void your warranty

The government has ruled that it is now perfectly legal for Apple iPhone users to modify their phones’ software, in response to a request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. However, Apple counters that “jailbreaking” as it is refered to will void the warranty. Can’t have a bunch of folks taking ownership of their own phone’s services into their own hands now can we?

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I just got a call from Apple’s PR department to discuss today’s historical DMCA exception ruling that makes iPhone jailbreaking legal.

Unfortunately, because of the legal issues involved, the Apple spokeswoman would only provide me with the following statement on the record:

“Apple’s goal has always been to insure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience. As we’ve said before, the vast majority of customers do not jailbreak their iPhones as this can violate the warranty and can cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably.”

It’s short and sweet: Apple wants to control the iPhone experience to keep things simple and stable. Jailbreaking opens the door to software that can ruin that experience (and maybe steal your identity or spread viruses). For more information about Apple’s stance on jailbreaking, see this support document: Unauthorized modification of iOS has been a major source of instability, disruption of services, and other issues.

It does, however, answer the main question I had: does jailbreaking void the warranty? Yes, it does.

The other question I had is whether Apple will sue companies that publish or market jailbreaking software?

The spokeswoman would only say on background that Apple hasn’t in the past prosecuted such companies or individuals.

Now that jailbreaking is explicitly legal — at least for individual consumers — it’s not unreasonable to think the jailbreaking scene may become a little less underground. It may even prompt a cottage industry of unofficial App Stores, like the unofficial app store Cydia and the now-defunct Icy.