iPhone vs Android: Cooper, Woz, and Page edition

A bit of a roundup this afternoon as the cell phone inventor Martin Cooper, personal computer inventor Steve Wozniak, and advertising revolutionary Larry Page all give their opinions on iPhone vs. Android.

Martin Cooper went on CNN with this zinger:

"I think that the Android phones are catching up now, and the latest version of the Android phones are every bit as good, if not better, than the iPhone."

Of course, the accuracy of statements about which is better are inversely proportional to their generality. Don't tell us which, tell us why.

Apple's Steve Wozniak on Korea Times offers a little of that:

"It's difficult to find where things are (on Android phones). More and more, I feel like it is more like (Microsoft's) Windows in which many different hardware vendors have installed different equipment on the same platform. The (Windows') platform has to be very neutral and cannot be special. That's the similar problem Android phones have," he said.

"When you write an app for Android phones, there are so many platforms to consider. That's the problem Microsoft was facing with its Windows years ago. People like Apple products because they are always predictable and work."

Apple does a subset of features very well, but woe to you if you need something outside that subset. Google is currently doing as much as they can, even if all of it isn't polished yet. Both are moving towards the same goal, just taking very different paths.

As if to highlight that, Google's Larry Page went so far as to accuse Steve Jobs of distorting reality when it came to Jobs' charge that Google dropped the gauntlet by deciding to compete with Apple:

“We had been working on Android a very long time, with the notion of producing phones that are Internet-enabled and have good browsers and all that because that did not exist in the marketplace. I think that characterization of us entering after is not really reasonable."

But it is reasonable to say Android was aimed squarely (pun intended) at Windows Mobile Standard before Apple launched the iPhone, and now look at who's duking it out full-screen multitouch to full-screen multitouch.

We've just gotten a Nexus One running Android 2.2 Froyo here at TiPb HQ and we're going to put it one-on-one with iPhone 4 and iOS 4. If there's anything in particular you'd like to see, let us know in the comments.

[CNN via Android Central, Korea Times, Fortune, via 9to5Mac]

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

Last day! Save 10% on ALL iPhone and iPad accessories!

Next up →

Tweetings for iPhone - App Review and Giveaway!

Reader comments

iPhone vs Android: Cooper, Woz, and Page edition


I'd like to see:

  1. Timed web browsing comparisons
  2. Animation performance comparisons
  3. Battery life performance comparisons
  4. Camera software usability
  5. Application comparisons including 3rd party apps

Please don't do feature list comparisons because they are worthless. Do quality comparisons. How it works, how usable, how much fun, etc.

I hate this ridiculous meme that Apple users and Apple company put out that Android is not polished. I'm sorry, I have used iPhones in the past, and 2 of my friends have the new iPhone which I've played around with quite a bit. It's a really well made phone, durable, nice screen (though not something revolutionary as Steve would have us believe), very nice video camera and video capabilities. But to say Android isn't polished? I don't know about pre 2.1 Android, since I have no experience with that, but 2.1 and 2.2 are fantastic.
"It’s difficult to find where things are (on Android phones)." Really? Are you kidding me? The interfaces on these touch screen phones are so simple that it's not even a point of discussion. Sounds to me like Apple is scared of the Android platform, but at least don't resort to lies like that. It just shows that you have no faith in your system.
Like I said, I think the iPhone is a great phone, but I would never trade my Nexus One running 2.2 for it, even though I'm very jealous of the nice video camera on it. There are things I like about Android, and the look/feel of it that I don't like about iOS. But you don't see me making up crap about iPhones to win an argument. Grow up.

Please show a comparison between how the Nexus One and iPhone perform as wireless access points.

I'd like to offer my assistance in performing this one on one test between these 2 phones as a Nexus One owner running 2.2. I feel the only way this will be a fair comparison is if there are two sides to the debate, with equal enthusiasm for both platforms. With the enthusiasm however, there also needs to be integrity, and the ability to see the bigger picture: it doesn't matter which phone comes out "on top" as the lifespan of all these devices is very short, and honesty in reporting is the most important thing.

Show a comparison of third party apps that interact with each other like astrid tasks gtasks & android agenda, also how do the onscreen apps (widgets) in Iphone 4 compare to those found in android.

A fair comparasion: Nexus One AT&T 3G (froyo 2.2) and iPhone 4 (iOS 4)
web browsing, notifications, sync, camera, 3rd party apps like twitter,

I wondered why you were asking for Android app recommendations on Twitter. Now I know. Is it really necessary though? Nexus One couldn't beat the 3GS six months ago. And why feed the fanboy hype? Each platform has enough problems to deal with on their own.

Let me get this straight. You are going to run tests on the Nexus One, a phone that has been canceled by Google to be replaced with nothing because they're done demoing Android. It's also a phone that has sold about 100K units overall in a market that measured in the tens of millions.
What you're not going to use for the test are Moto and HTC handsets which also have proprietary software on them in addition to Android which are the bulk of Android sales now and into the future.
And this test is to prove what exactly? Sounds like a pointless exercise. Good for conversations but proves nothing in the real world since Nexus One represents no market share and no future whereas Apple will be charging top dollar for the iPhone 4 for the next 11 1/2 months.

Koolio you're taking this very personal. Why are you so attached to your android operating system that you would become emotionally upset?

@Geno , I enjoy my Android phone, but I'm not attached to it as next year I'll probably have something else. That's the nature of technology. What I do get upset over are misrepresentation blanket statements that some people will read and actually believe because they are on popular website like this. That's what I'm upset over.

You need to listen to the most recent GDGT podcast which was a roundtable discussion of both the Android and Apple platforms. Even the gdgt and Engadget guys feel that Android is not polished in it's current form. Pay close attention to the part of discussion where one ofmthe guys put an iPhone and a Android device in front of people and asked them to make a phone call. Really? If Android was so polished why would GOOGLE a user interface designer guru? Just like Apple has brought on the notification designer of the WebOS.

As google said, android is never mean no compete or replace iphone. It is just there to fill what iphone it lacking. It's whole different market or whatever you wanna say it.
Grow up and just accept the fact that they never meant to be compare.
Apple products always mean to the end user with eye candy while android more to power user who will spend time to customize their phone for their own preference.

Let's look back to 2006: Android was just a free alternative to Windows Mobile (and Palm OS and Blackberry OS.) And it looked like it. Google's purpose back then was to attack Microsoft's business model with "free".
Fast forward to today: Google has copied Apple's look-and-feel, which Apple has patented. And surprise surprise, Apple is suing HTC as a shot across Google's bow. Google's purpose now is to sell as many Android phones as possible so they can spam fandroids with AdMob ads. Eventually Google needs to start making money on this mess. Their stock is down 30% this year, so get ready for those AdMob ads, fandroids.

@kuntau - "Apple products always mean to the end user with eye candy while android more to power user who will spend time to customize their phone for their own preference."
The best thing that iOS does isn't "eye candy." It's great at getting out of your way so you can get straight to your apps and data. Just look at Apple's latest iPhone 4 "FaceTime" ad. There's no checklist of meaningless specs or some CGI robot arm poking at a fake display. Apple shows you how you can use iPhone 4 to make your life better.
Fandroids can't see the forest for the trees. It's not what you can do to your phone. It's what your phone can do for you.

Where I work i sell sprint Att Verizon. 95% of the people that come in looming at phones ask what/how does this compare to the iPhone or they get it because they think it is similar to the iPhone. Android gas grown greatly in awareness this past year and I know the iPhone is more popular and main stream consumers are more familiar with the interface then android but I have many customers come back when 2.1 came out that completely broke their phones. A lot of Eris's and Heros that wouldn't sync properly, people lost data for 2 weeks, phones constantly re booting and I had one customer delete an app and it deleted Sense off the phone and we had to do a hard reset to the device. As closed as some people think Apple is I don't think people can take themselves back and realize that the average consumer doesn't know how to use their smartphone no matter what it is. 

So let me get this straight...
Woz is saying Android isn't good because it reminds him of Windows?
It reminds him of the company that holds most marketshare for computers?
It reminds him of the OS that EVERY PC developer develops for first?
I don't see a problem with that. Do you?
Last time I checked, Windows won that lil computer war.
But comparisons of this device...eh.
I would like to see a stock Android, with top notch CPU internals (cause honestly, Snapdragon is dated by now), and Android 2.2. That will be the real test.
And as for the Android being polished...how could you not know how to make a phone call? Every Android phone either has a straight-to phone icon. Or they have it on the screen with every new phone. So I don't get that part...and for it getting that polish...that's what Gingerbread is.
They've said over and over that Android has basically been in it's growing stages. Hence back to back updates. They have the core functionality done so now it's time to add that spit and shine.
Just like the G1 before it...these are meant to be "test" phones. And test they did...
Google is starting to add requirements, bottom line specs...it will only get better from here.
I don't see why iPhone lovers and Android lovers have to disagree. As someone said, each offer what the other lacks as of right now.
I have a Nexus One (that I'll be keeping until Gingerbread phones with dual cores come...or similar). I'll also be getting an iPod Touch this fall (if it has the display and FF cam) in order to feel my need for Apple's genius.
I don't like the iPhone as my personal device, but I like the iOS for it's apps. I'm an Android and iOS fan. I don't see what's so hard about just being that. I mean...we both are gonna be the top OS's for the next few years.

Let's compare the Motoblur running Droid X to the iPhone since that will probably be the largest selling Android device due to it being the most advanced Android device on the largest, most ubiquitous Android carrier, Verizon. I bet that even the degree of Motoblur offered by Moto on the X takes away from a potential pure Android experience and adds bloat.
I bet Rene and Dieter will be running these comparisons real soon. I still see the advantage with Apple. Google isn't standing still but they have a definite challenge keeping partners in line. If they can't do it, fragmentation becomes a real concern.

People confuse polish with lack of features. For instance how do you not know how to make a call on Android when you yourself can place an icon to the dialer where ever you want. Maybe you don't know where to find it in the next guys phone but that's because he set the phone up to suit his own usage. That's no lack of polish. That's true personalizaton. Now if they couldn't figure it out from the icon on a stock phone then they don't need to use any smartphone honestly. The iPhone so called gets out if your way because it doesn't do anything or let you customize it. However Android still gives you the same grid of icons to find your apps if for some reason you aren't smart enough to arrange what you need on your home screen. The whole polish argument is just feel good crap to mask the fact that Android is running away with the show now. The comscore numbers don't lie. Jobs didn't mind quoting them so it would look mighty suspect to all of a sudden question them.

On both phones you should do similar tasks, and see which phone gets it done in less steps, I had an android running Sense UI, and it took me 5mins to figure out how to change the temperature from Celsius to Fahrenheit, but on the iOS it's literally 3 steps.

I've never used the Sense UI, however, for the Nexus One, changing from celsius to fahrenheit within the weather app takes 3 steps. It's actually easy.
I used to own an ipod touch and I can tell you that finding the particular setting you wanted to change could be a pain as well. Depends on the setting to some extent. Depends on what you were doing when you wanted to change the setting to a certain extent (a lot of that is being remedied to some extent by IOS4's adoption of multitasking).
The other thing, customizing, creating widgets where I want them for commonly used tasks. It often cuts down on the number of steps one would need to use. But then again one would have to become familiar with how your UI works to take advantage of the feature
In all fairness, it would be almost impossible to create a really useful test. Comparing the phones how they come out of the box does a disservice to both phones.

Compare the everyday-used features, not the "wow" features that phones have but rarely get used.
-email from a Gmail perspective (which many of us use daily). how do HTML emails render on both? iPhone sizes HTML emails to fit the screen. Does Android? Conversation grouping?
-copy/paste throughout the platform (in email, browser, notepad, etc.)
-browser bookmarking, emailing links, organizing bookmarks, etc.
-calendar and syncing
-contacts and syncing

I saw one comment about facetime. What a huge waste only iphone 4 to 4, and wifi only. Android has the flexability to let you use any video calling app. And the comment that the iphone lets you get to your apps and data directly is just as dumb. You click an app on android and your there. Typical steve jobs lovers. Android has truly surpassed the iphone 4 with the latest updates face it. I know it maybe hard.

To all that say "Google is running away with it": Consider this, one phone on ONE network has more marketshare than Many phones on Many networks. Let me know when Android takes over the number one spot over RIM. Until then face it that not everyone wants or needs a "customizable" smartphone beyond homescreens, etc. As an IT professional and application developer (client/server and web) for over 18 years, I can appreciate the overall smoothness and polish of the iOS which has already proven that it can upscale to tablets (iPad) and will soon drive products like Apple TV. Anyone who says that the "polish" factor is just a fan-boy comment, obviously doesn't know too much about the asthetics of software interfaces and the beauty of consistancy throughout a software system.
Plus, even non-Apple podcasters and tech blogger are all in agreement that even the current iteration of Android (yes, Froyo) is in need of interface changes. Engadget, GDGT, and yes, even Android Central have all said the same thing. So Android lover, accept these facts and move on. And btw, don't come crying over here when you "state of the art" device is not eligible for a Gingerbread update.

iOS' killer app is... the apps. But apps mainly draw existing iOS users to upgrade to new iOS devices because of the investments users make in the iTunes/App Store ecosystem. New smartphone users, however, do not have any such existing investment and as such an Android purchase becomes a bit more likely.

All my friends have droids and they are so confusing and there's a lack of apps my friend even admitted to many apps on his incredible made it slower. Android isn't polished each phone is different and the fact when u buy your new android device and are like cool I have the best android device another new phone comes out that destroys yours. The windows comparison makes sense. The iOS on the iPhone 4 I own is the easiest interface I have used u just scroll through pages there's not 2 different menus or different style layouts it's just simple and upfront. Androids app store is a joke I'm glad apple is secure my so my phone won't give put personal info or get viruses plus my iPhone is practically a gaming device with my music and my phone there is nothing better than owning an iPhone android users are jealous

Just make sure you familiarize yourself with the Nexus before you do your comparison. Don't be like some douche I saw on youtube that tried to make it look like the Nexus couldn't do anything and the iPhone "just works". From what I have seen here so far you guys are a decent bunch but just saying.
A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of playing around with a N1 with Android 2.2 and it was pretty impressive. First Android device I have ever touched and had it figured out in seconds, not rocket science.
Today I played around with a iPhone 3GS at a store and though it is smooth with pinch zoom and especially rotating the screen it's the lack of customization that steers me away. What can I say, I have ADD and was bored with the wall of apps after 15 seconds.
If you think Android is "too complicated" I hope you remember to put on your helmet before going outside.

I agree with people emphasizing on the "familiarize yourself with the N1". It is a must - for being able to write a fair comparison.

They are both good OS's. The fundamental difference is simple. Apple focuses on polish and ease of use and achieves that through control of the OS and the hardware. Google focuses on performance and "openness" (although Androids are really not as open as many have been brainwashed to believe), through a hardware neutral solution. Please stop comparing Apples to Oranges.

Amazing!!!! Bookmarked this page that has this striking guidance. Will arrive back again to see if there are any updates. You, the author, are a master. Many thanks

Well I totally liked reading your thoughts. I'm thinking about starting my own blog soon Cheers.