It's Android vs. Apple: Will You Switch Sides?

Next week promises an epic battle between Apple and Android as several lusty Android cellphones hit the market on June 23 and, the next day, the iPhone 4 is released.

There's been a lot of jabber about OS market share, and dozens of comparisons between the two handset makers -- and soon it'll all come to a head. On June 24, you'll have to decide: Android or Apple? What phones are most appealing? Will either make you switch carriers?

The OSes

Let's start with a quick overview of the OSes. After all, what's the value of a sexy cell if the OS is broken trash?

The iPhone's iOS 4.0 comes packed with features, including iBooks, wallpaper, folders, games, camera zoom, multitasking, tethering, and much more. iPhone 4 owners get all of these goodies while some older models receive a smaller package.

Android 2.2 -- or Froyo -- is due to land on a bunch of phones any day now. Its features, which include tethering, multitasking, and even Flash support, have been touted as serious contenders and, to some, Apple poses no threat to 2.2's musculature.

The Phones

An army of Android phones are about to descend upon us. Reports say that Motorola, Sony and LG are all prepped to debut new Android-powered phones this summer. LG may even release 20 Android phones. That's a whole lot of phones.

The hottest Android handset of them all is reported to be Motorola's Droid X. Based on its expected cavalcade of features, the overused term "iPhone-killer" may not be far off. According to reports, the Droid X has a massive 4.4-inch screen with 854 x 480 resolution; an 8 megapixel camera with flash and the ability to record 720p high definition video; a 1-GHz processor; an HDMI out port; 4 physical buttons along the bottom of the device; a capacitive touchscreen; and 8GB of internal storage. Flash 10.1 is also expected -- a feature Apple has refused to include in its products.

Motorola also reportedly plans on sneaking out the Droid 2, which will sport a few minor improvements over the original.

Found in a gym and (expectedly) handed to Gizmodo, the Droid Shadow may also see release. The Droid Shadow is said to have 16GB of internal storage; a Snapdragon processor; an HDMI port; an 8MP camera (capable of 720p video capture); and a 4.3-inch screen.

By now you've probably already salivated over the iPhone 4 and its specs. It is, without a doubt, a major upgrade from previous iPhone models. We're talking 24 percent thinner; a 960-by-640-pixel IPS Retina display; Apple's A4 CPU; a 5 megapixel camera with a LED flash, a backlit sensor, and integrated 5X zoom; 720p high-def video; and tons more.

Market Share

Simply put, Android has gobbled up OS market share. Android sales had grown 707 percent from year-to-year and NPD researchers concluded that Android phones had actually outsold Apple phones in America for the first quarter of 2010.

This shouldn't come as a surprise and definitely shouldn't influence opinions. There is one iPhone; there are so, so many Android phones. Of course Android is going to sponge share. Computerworld's JR Raphael posits this data as though "Apple's fallen and it can't get up." Bleh. The iPhone 4 has over 600,000 pre-orders -- and those are just pre-orders. With that kind of popular demand, Apple may stand a chance to knock Android off its pedestal.

Will You Switch?

Here's the ultimate question: can all these specs, all these shiny new phones, and all this data actually influence your decision to stick with the iPhone's locked-down AT&T service, or will you hop onto the Android bandwagon, spread across multiple carriers?

I'm perilously close to switching to Android. I've been an iPhone junky since the 3G was released. When the 3GS debuted, I knew Apple would completely re-do the physicality of the device and I skipped out on the upgrade (plus, back then, AT&T didn't offer sweet upgrade deals, and I would've had to pay a ton).

Since then I've made it no secret that AT&T is my worst enemy -- the Skeletor to my He-Man, if I may be so modest. I couldn't make phone calls. My 3G reception dropped constantly. I was paying more than $90 a month for a beloved phone that simply did not work, given its carrier. And when rumors of a Verizon iPhone circulated, I was mostly sold: I needed to be a Verizon boy.

Then came my iPhone 3G problems. After less than a year of ownership, my 3G model began crashing more frequently than an armless driver. Apps wouldn't load; Web sites crashed; iTunes skipped -- the list went on and on. I went to the Apple store and got a replacement. Now my replacement is even worse than my first 3G.

Then came the Droid Incredible -- a powerful and sleek Android-powered cellphone. After a lot of research, the Droid Incredible sounded like the phone to have. Plus it seemed I couldn't lose with Verizon.

Then came the iPhone 4 pre-order fiasco. I spent half a day (at work, mind you) attempting to pre-order the phone with zero luck. Now I can't get one until mid-July -- a smack in the face to a loyal customer if I've ever felt one.

There are just too many problems, and with the floodgates of Android handset options opening up so soon, I think it's about time every iPhone owner who hasn't already pre-ordered Part IV should seriously consider ditching Apple and heading over to Android's camp. The phones will just get better and better. Meanwhile, there's only one iPhone 4, and that's ball-and-chained to -- ugh -- AT&T.

So who's joining me?

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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