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The iPhone 5 Won’t Be Playing Catchup with Android

iphone 5 and droidThere’s so much talk about how the iPhone has lost much traction to Google’s free mobile operating system, Android. But when one takes a look at where the momentum is really occurring — with Verizon — then it doesn’t appear to be all that impressive.

Remember: Big Red used to be the most boring home for smartphones — actually any phone — on the cellular landscape here in the States.  In comes Motorola with a badly needed hit after many duds post-RAZR and Google with Android. Verizon saw an opportunity to blitz a coast-to-coast campaign with Droid advertisement to make even grandma know what the heck a Droid was.

This wasn’t your father’s BlackBerry — this was way cooler phone, boi! Cool was what Verizon needed as bad as Moto needed a rebirth. Both companies got their wish.

When you throw a lot of money at something, you can sell an Eskimo a freezer. Much like Microsoft planted Windows on 90 plus percent of the world’s computers, Verizon got Android everywhere. It wasn’t that it was better or the best, it was all Verizon had, pretty much. Suits bought RIM products. Tweens bought Droids. Mom and dad liked the Droids and soon they bought them, too. But secretly, they still all wanted iPhones.

But what about the openness? I keep hearing about how great the open source format of the Droid is, but does it really make a difference for the end user?

Between HTC SensUI and Motoblur, the interfaces are clumsy and inconsistent. These add-ons also prolong the update cycle for each manufacturer. Android has already been plagued with viruses and malware while iPhone users have sat safe. Sure, you can get more porn and old-school video game VMs on your Android with ease, but so can the iPhone with a simple jailbreak. When the dust settles, I don’t see a clear advantage with Android and its “openness”.

How the iPhone and Droid Experiences Match Up

What it comes down to is simple: Android has been playing catchup to the iPhone since Google purchased the company and released the T-Mobile G1. Each release betters, but never improves over the iPhone. Sure, I’m not going to be an idiot and deny some aspects of Android are nice due to the open architecture of the operating system, but when I play on my Droid X, I find myself in just a mere few minutes longing for my iPhone.

It just doesn’t feel right in my hands.

My brain keeps telling me that it’s just an iPhone copy trying hard to cover up the fact that it’s a copy…and doing a poor job of it. The music player looks horrible, navigation is agonizing, widgets add to confusion, and battery life is worse than an iPhone. Sure, I can view Flash websites on my Android device, but is it worth the instability I am rewarded with?

Past, Present, and Future

Like Android 3.0, the mobile OS for tablets, 2.2 for the smartphones is all catchup. Google will continue its cat and mouse game with each release while Apple ignores the market and further creates a new one. Many laughed at Apple when Jobs proclaimed the death of the stylus. Who’s laughing now? Whiners teared over the lack of a physical keyboard. Why are more Android-based devices coming with just a virtual keyboard today? Power users demand dedicated buttons and now we hear the iPhone 5 may not even have ONE. Shall I predict now Motorola and HTC will follow suit?

I see Google simply continuing to copy Apple like Microsoft’s Bing does to the Mountain View-based search giant. Microsoft won’t win that fight playing that game nor will Google while it attempts to keep up with Jobses. With Schmidt no longer “babysitting”, it shall be very interesting to see where things lead for Android but I will tell you this right now, the iPhone 5 will once again make the media proclaim, “Apple does it. Again!”

Sven Rafferty is a writer for the iPhone 5 News Blog and the Editor In Chief of SvenOnTech.com, a leading technology news source and blog.

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