Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google Android (HTC Dream) vs Apple iPhone 3G -A Comparision

Google's Android operating system for smartphones is almost ready and it is touted to be the most dangerous competitor to Apple's own iPhone 3G, not considering Microsoft's Windows Mobile 7 yet. Last week, we did see some leaked snapshots of the HTC Dream - the first Android powered smartphone, which is to be launched in a couple of months. Now, if Google's and partly HTC's reputation is anything to go by, we can be almost sure that the Android powered Dream should most probably be an iPhone 3G killer. In this article we try to pit Android based phones (the Dream, as of yet) against the Apple iPhone 3G.

As the HTC Dream's hardware specs are not yet clear, we will mostly concentrate on the software and operating system front. Also, the hardware comparision between the Android based phones and the iPhone 3G isn't fair at all as there will be many Android phones coming out in the next year from most of the members of the Open Handset Alliance, each with a wide range of hardware components so the iPhone 3G probably doesn't even stand much of a chance on the hardware front. Still, for the sake of fairness, we try to pit the iPhone 3G against the HTC Dream when it comes to hardware.

When it comes to design, the iPhone 3G wins hands down against the HTC Dream. The leaked images of the HTC Dream reveal a kiddish design, with rounded edges and a hideous sliding QWERTY keypad implementation. HTC's design team could certainly have done a much better job with the first Android phone. The Dream has evoked very similar reactions from across the internet. The build quality does seem to be decent though. Also a bigger display size would have helped it a lot. Also, the iPhone excels when it comes to hardware components, except for some drawbacks like the camera, but overall it is superb. What it lags in are the software restrictions. We would surely hand this one to the iPhone 3G.
Winner: iPhone 3G

Considering the specs of the Dream, it seems to have superb hardware, very much in the league of the iPhone - Capacitive Touchscreen, 528 MHZ Qualcomm CPU, 128 MB RAM, 256 MB ROM and probably some accelerometers and sensors thrown in. What adds to it's appeal, is that the Dream will have a full fledged QWERTY keypad which is much more suited to text input than the iPhone's touchscreen input. It should also probably have a 3.2 MP camera with erm.. video recording support. It should also support A2DP profile with Bluetooth. Having said all this, we would like to point out that the iPhone has superb hardware, no doubt. But the Dream supposedly gives us what the iPhone doesn't - a QWERTY keypad, better cam, A2DP and much more.
This one, we feel, should go to the HTC Dream.
Winner: HTC Dream (Android)

OS and Interface:
The iPhone 3G has the best interface yet, when it comes to smartphones. It's new MultiTouch interface completely revolutionized the way people look at touchscreen phones. It has superb animations and menu transitions that were unheard of in smartphones. However, looking at the several Android demos and videos online as well as studying the SDK Emulator closely, we can say that Android too excels in the interface department. It has various 3D effects and animations all strewn across it's menu and settings. It closely matches the iPhone in this aspect, if it doesn't actually surpass it.
Also, when it comes to the core Operating system, Android is way ahead of the iPhone OS X in terms of features and capabilities. Almost every setting is configurable and you can actually tweak and alter the internals of the operating system to your liking. This is very much a better option to the 'closed'-ness of the iPhone 3G.
Winner: HTC Dream (Android)

Application Support:
The Android powered HTC Dream seems to be the clear winner in this aspect. It will have much better software support and availability than the iPhone thanks to its open nature. It will also have the much needed multi-tasking support which is missing in the iPhone. In direct competition to the hugely popular Appstore, the only means to get applications and games for the iPhone, Google has announced the Android Market for application distribution which functions quite similarly to the Appstore.
As Android is expected to be backed by many open source loyalists and developers, it will have better support communities and forums. This should prove to be a major boost to the whole software development and distribution process of Android. On the other hand, Apple is, in a way, restricting application development for the iPhone by screening the applications and approving only some of them by some shady criteria. Also, comparing the SDK's of both Android and the iPhone, we feel that Android's SDK is much better than the iPhone's. Creating applications for Android is much easier as it uses a custom language very similar to Java, syntactically and conceptually. One more point for Android.
Winner: HTC Dream (Android)

Multimedia Capabilities:
In the multimedia wars, it should be a tough fight, with the Dream having a slight edge over the iPhone. We can safely assume that Apple would definitely take the crown easily from the HTC Dream in the sound quality department, it is an iPod after all. In the video department, both should perform almost similarly, with the iPhone 3G gaining slightly again, anyone can vouch for it's video playback quality. Also, we would like to assume that the iPhone 3G should have a better display than the Dream. However, the Dream would definitely support a wider range of formats and codecs, and also offer a wider choice of audio and video players, while the iPhone is and will be restricted to it's native formats and default audio and video players. This should level the playing field for both the giants.
Also, considering the larger picture, Android as a whole will definitely win this war, as it will also have multimedia centric phones being rolled out, but we give this one to the iPhone 3G for the sake of fairness.
Winner: iPhone 3G

Other Features:
The HTC Dream should give us most of the features that the iPhone 3G misses out on. As mentioned before, a QWERTY keypad, Bluetooth with A2DP and file sending support, a better cam with video recording and hopefully AF and Flash, multitasking capabilities and better internet capabilities. Agreed that the iPhone's Safari is the best mobile web browser yet, but Android's browser based on Webkit seems to be equally capable as well. It may even surpass Safari in some aspects, judging by the browser's performance in the SDK emulator. It does support Java and should include support Flash as well by the time it comes out. Android will also support a version of Opera Mobile.
It will definitely support setting MP3 files as ringtones, ;) and has much better graphic capabilities, both software and hardware. Also, we do hope that the Android won't have any of the infamous bugs the iPhone 3G has - faulty chips, mediocre reception and security threats due to buggy software.

Adding to these reasons, Android will run on many phones, ranging from the cheap to the wildly inexpensive and cover a wide range of hardware. It will have built in support for most Google products - Gmail, Orkut, GTalk etc. By observing the positive response at the launch of Google's Chrome, we can definitely say that this feature will be very well received.

Winner: HTC Dream (Android)

Overall Winner: HTC Dream - Android
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Conclusion: As shown above, the HTC Dream (Android) beats the iPhone 3G, 4-2. Many of the points mentioned above may seem to be biased, especially to iPhone fanatics. Please note that it isn't possible to make a clear and unbiased decision yet as the HTC Dream isn't out yet. We will surely make changes to the article when the Dream is out and also post a more detailed comparision. Leave a comment if you like this article or otherwise.

HTC Dream Pics leaked

The guys over at Engadget managed to get some leaked snaps of the upcoming HTC Dream powered by Android.

Have a look.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hello World!

This blog has primarily been created to discuss Google's new mobile operating system - Android. It will track new developments pertaining to Android and it's competitors - iPhone, Symbian and Windows Mobile.
Thanks, and keep visiting!