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.