Ten ways the Android HTC Desire beats Apple’s iPhone

I’m just getting started with Android development, for which I got hold of an HTC Desire. And I’ve been using Apple’s iPhone 4 since its release in the UK. So which is better? There’s no satisfactory quick answer to that, though the two phones are certainly comparable; perhaps too much so, judging by Apple’s lawsuit. I thought it would be fun though to do a quick couple of posts on how they compare, of which this is the first. Reasons to prefer iPhone coming next. The following points are based on the Desire running Android 2.2 “Froyo”.

1. You can plug in a micro SD card to expand the storage. Apple does not support this with the iPhone; it may be because it wants to control what goes on the device, or because it uses storage space as means of selling more expensive versions of its devices.

2. Related to (1), you can copy a file to the phone by attaching it to a PC and using the filesystem. To do this with the iPhone you need additional software, or a solution like Dropbox which copies your document up to the Internet then down onto the iPhone.

3. You don’t need to install iTunes to get full use of the device. Some like iTunes, some do not; it is better on the Mac than on Windows, but it is great to avoid that dependency.

4. You can share your internet connection without fuss, either by creating a portable wi-fi hotspot, or through a USB connection.

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5. Adobe Flash works on Desire. Coming soon is Adobe AIR, which will enable developers to create Flash applications as well as Flash-driven web content.

6. The platform is more open. Developer registration is only $25.00 (vs $99 for iPhone) and there are fewer restrictions concerning how you develop your application, what sort of app you create, or what language you use. The standard language is Java, which is easier to learn and more widely used than Apple’s Objective C.

7. The Desire has instant screen switching. Press home when already on the home screen, and you get thumbnails of all seven screens; touch a thumbnail to bring it to the front. Widget support means you can put those screens to good use too – not just for storing app shortcuts.

8. The battery is removable. The obvious advantage is that you can carry a spare with you.

9. It uses a standard USB cable. A small point perhaps; but it is easy to lose your cable or not have it with you, and being able to use a standard cable is convenient.

10. There’s no issue with the antenna when using the Desire without a case.

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6 comments to Ten ways the Android HTC Desire beats Apple’s iPhone

  • Some of these seem tenuous.
    1. It is hard to fill the 32GB, do you really need even more space?
    5. Flash is something I am certainly happy without. Most Flash these days is video, most of that video is H264 in a wrapper, so could be served direct. Flash animations to websites, you can keep those on Android!
    6. Platform is more open. Open to what though – viruses, spoofing, or carrier control as shown in this review http://gizmodo.com/5632186/samsung-fascinate-lightning-review-when-greedy-carriers-ruin-decent-phones
    8. Mainly cos you need those spare batteries on an Android devices, cos one charge doesn’t last long. The iPhone 4 battery life is amazing considering the tech inside the phone
    9. If you have had iPhones and iPods for years you will probably have more USB to 32pin connectors than anything else
    10. This is barely an issue for most people.

    The other points are certainly valid, but the overall UX of Android devices is at about 60-70% of the iPhone.

  • 6. The platform is more open. Developer registration is only $25.00 (vs $99 for iPhone) and there are fewer restrictions concerning how you develop your application, what sort of app you create, or what language you use. The standard language is Java, which is easier to learn and more widely used than Apple’s Objective C.

    To be fair, Apple only changed this restriction yesterday, but at least they are releasing real guidelines to developers hoping to get apps approved.

  • tim

    Good point Collin!

    Tim

  • Ian Paul

    This is really interesting Tim, thanks. Contrast to other readers, I notice that most of these comments are tech-oriented, whilst the other page, iPhone’s advantages are ordinary-user-oriented. (Someone else characterised this as hardware v software). That would suggest that, for the non-techy user like me, iPhone is the winner, which I in fact find.

    Like all Apple products, the ‘it just works’ factor is going to win hands-down for the majority of users.

  • tnt

    won’t even look at others, Richard.

    Do you hear what you write? You work for some PR company, Apple gives money and says – WRITE GOOD COMMENTS EVERYWHERE, or what?

    “9. If you have had iPhones and iPods for years you will probably have more USB to 32pin connectors than anything else
    10. This is barely an issue for most people.”

    9. why should I? Standard consumer should be looked at as if he hasn’t had any relations to the company to begin with. This – “if you already was Apple costumer…” just points out Apple uses simple strategy – get market share. Milk money from it and forget others. Apple would start to worry and do a better job if people would start evaluating Apple products more.
    10. already “barely”. heh

  • Frederik

    @Richard Earney
    1. I might need more — I might want to give some files to some other device and they might not have anything in common except that they can both read µSD cards. Besides, stock your phone with high quality music (best quality my phone can play) and 32 GiB seems quite small very fast. Even then, I might not want to pay 100$ (or whatever it costs) to get 16 GiB more if I can just pay 10$.
    5. Flash is something I would very much so like to see dead, buried and just plain gotten rid of.
    6. The platform is more open in the usual sense — if you don’t understand what that means, look it up. I am certain that a carrier can rip people off regardless of how open a platform is. Rootkits and similar has yet to prove to be a problem for android devices (which I doubt they will be, given that they are as varied as they are).
    9. I never have had an iPhone or anything similar to it, so I don’t have any convertes (besides, they can be lost or otherwise not be accessable — which only makes the whole problem worse.. not less).
    10. Agreed: the author likley just thought that all the other neat features, such as not being locked to developing on an expensive platform or being able to install apps from any source or having any legal rights over the device you bought.