iPhone vs. Android: Which Is Best for Your Business?

So you’ve finally ditched your old Blackberry and you’re ready to upgrade to a newer, sleeker smartphone. But should you go with an iPhone or a Google Android model? The choice isn’t always clear. Here are a few factors to consider before you shell out for that shiny new phone.

Where do you live? If you live in a crowded city like New York or San Francisco, an Android may be a better bet. The iPhone can be used with just two cell phone carriers — AT&T and Verizon — while the Android platform is also available on Sprint and T-Mobile. Many iPhone users in cities complain of network congestion and lost connections, while the Android user has a greater range of choices and is less likely to encounter problems. This may not be an issue much longer, though: It’s rumored that the iPhone 5 will be available through all wireless carriers. In the meantime, though, if you’re planning on taking important business calls on your cell phone, you may want to go Android.

Is network security a major concern for your business? Particularly if you’re planning to distribute smartphones to your employees, it could be important to you to choose a platform that will protect its users against malware attacks that could come from malicious applications that have been downloaded. In this case, iPhone currently has the winning edge: It carefully vets each piece of software in its app store for security flaws, while the Android puts the burden of choice on the end user (some of whom have paid the price).

Do you want a lot of hardware options? If you’d like a choice of different sizes, colors, and styles, go with an Android: You’ll have dozens of handset options from different manufacturers. With the iPhone, you’re stuck with just one (admittedly very cool-looking) phone.

Do you want access to a lot of apps? Because the iPhone is the most popular type of smartphone, most app developers focus there first. As a result, Apple’s App Store currently has more than 300,000 applications available, while the Android store has just 100,000. (Admittedly, not many people will need more than 100,000 apps, but it’s all about keeping your options open.)

Is cost a big concern? Apple’s iPhone 4 costs $200, plus monthly carrier subscription fees. Many of the Android phones, in contrast, are available for free when you sign up for a new plan. It’s important to factor in the cost of your subscription plan when adding up the total amount you’ll pay for your smartphone, but in most cases, you can save a few bucks by sticking with Android.

Ultimately there’s no clear winner here — it all depends on your needs, desires, and how you plan to use your smartphone to help you run your business. If you’ve got a favorite, share your reasoning in the comments.

About Kathryn Hawkins

Kathryn Hawkins is a principal at the content marketing agency Eucalypt Media. She's written about business, marketing, and entrepreneurship for publications including BNET, TheAtlantic.com, Inc.com, and owns and operates the positive news site Gimundo. Follow her on Twitter at @kathrynhawkins.
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7 comments
Ralph
Ralph

Upgraded from Bb to iPhone last year and I couldn't be more pleased. Despite the hype, the iPhone is a great all around choice and it's business friendly. Just depends on what floats your boat. Upgrading to the 4 next month because face time is so cool and gives me another option to communicate.

Leroy Farted
Leroy Farted

Well, I haven't "ditched" my "old BlackBerry" for something "sleeker". Android and iphone don't offer me anything more than I need for solid communication, calendar, photo,video, email and gps. My business doesn't require angry birds to operate. My kid has an android with a 4.1" touch screen, which is neat for surfing the web, but typing an email on it is a real drag, so I am sticking with the BB.

Locky
Locky

Frankly they both do many of the same things just differently. The iPhone does many things "better" than Android while Android can do more, despite the "number of available apps".The big question going forward is from a security point of view, if Android users are at the mercy of Samsung, LG etc to provide critical updates then Androids future is bleak (Motorola buyout may be what's needed, one manufacturer/OS to rule them all).From a corporate IT perspective the lack of a road map or clear support cycle is also reason to be more leery of Android. The iPhone 3g is still receiving updates from Apple while my LG Optimus T will not receive updates beyond Gingerbread and it's over 2 years newer but 1/3 the cost.Personally, I love to tinker and nothing beats the freedom of open source. Given the amount of people who enjoy tinkering with source code, I'm clearly in the minority and so is Android.Bottom line, if you have to ask buy an iPhone. Those who know buy Android.

Chris Halcon
Chris Halcon

You’re absolutely right about malware attacks on mobile devices. This is a growing concern for SMBs. While smartphones increase productivity, they also expose SMBs to new security risks. At Symantec, we recently conducted a thorough analysis of the iOS and Android platforms, noting areas of strength and weakness in the security models of both. You can find out more about the findings here: http://bit.ly/p0kvZKChris Halcon Symantec

Lace
Lace

Android MyTouch. I love my phone, no problems since I've had it.