Battle of the Smartphones: Past Reflections

By Caroline Mathews, Trending Writer

On January 9, 2007, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs—dressed in his iconic black turtleneck and blue jeans—announced: “a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone.” It was not until six months later, however, that thousands of customers could get their hands on the very first iPhone. Five months after that, Apple had sold more than 1.4 million iPhones. The device’s groundbreaking capabilities earned its title as Time magazine’s invention of the year. The iPhone, with the help of the Macintosh and iPod, turned Apple into one of the world’s most valuable corporations.

At this point in the 2007 smartphone market, Android was nowhere to be found. It was not until 2009 that Motorola released a realistic iPhone alternative: the Droid. Despite the later arrival, the Android operating system had reportedly been in the making since 2004 according to its creator, Mark Rubin (who had worked for Apple in the past).

Flash forward to the present, where iPhones and Androids are opined as comparable, and the “winner” comes down primarily to preferences. In general, though, the gripes with both phones’ operating systems are relatively consistent among parties. In the realm of software updates, Apple is significantly better with updates arriving every few months, whereas Android devices seldom receive software updates (there is one exception, though: Google’s Nexus). Apple also takes the victory regarding app availability, as developers tend to create apps designed for Apple’s iOS first. However, Android does take home some wins with their fast and wireless-charging capabilities—two functions that are completely non-existent in the iPhone. Unlike Apple, Android also allows users to customize almost every part of the phone: you can change your default Web browser, messaging app, the look of icons, and add “widgets” to your screen (just to name a few).

However, the bottom-line is, for the most part, price. Apple’s iPhone pricing strategy has remained consistent throughout the years. Android prices, however, display a pattern of competitive pricing with values falling every year since 2011. At roughly a third of the price of an iPhone, and within range of the being the best product, Android phones are enjoying its increasing market share.

While the winner will always be a matter of opinion, knowing that 81% of the 2015 global market leaned towards Android, the benefits here side with Android.

 

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, September 12th print edition.

Contact Caroline at

caroline.mathews@student.shu.edu

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