iPhone vs. Symbian vs. Android
Tarek has written a well detailed post on why he prefers a Symbian S60 phone over the iPhone. Mainly he mentions technical reasons, such as lack of multitasking or the iPhone’s mediocre video and bluetooth features.
Google’s new Android phone, the G1, has gotten most of this weeks media attention. The funny thing is, it seems it’s even weaker on features than the iPhone, something like the mobile equivalent of Google’s Chrome browser. No Exchange support, no street view in Google Maps (remember – it’s a Google phone!), less memory.
I have to say, from an end user perspective, the iPhone is simply the best thing you can get. While some things may still be missing, you have to remember that Apple has not even been in this game for one year. Compare the usability of the iPhone with what Nokia came up with after 10 years of Symbian S60. I find it hard to believe that they will suddenly start seeing the light and making their phones user friendly.
User Experience has always been Apple’s specialty. The integration with an iPhone gives you music and entertainment capabilities that the competition will have a hard time catching up with. You may lament the forced link to iTunes, but frankly, I don’t get that – do people really prefer to manage their 16 GB music library by pushing mp3 files into folders manually? The there’s the music store, which lacks any comparable representation from competing vendors. Nokia is starting their music game with the Nokia Music Store, but even though they’ve had a 9 xear head start, they’re at least 5 years behind with that.
The App Store is another iPhone instant hit. True, banning the podcasting app is not good, and yes, it’s a kind of lock-in, but still: if you’re a developer, what do you prefer – put your stuff in Nokia’s Download Store with a horrible shopping experience (don’t get me started on Nokia’s strange certificate methodology, which will force you to reset your brand new phone’s clock to last year to make the phone accept your application), or Apple’s one-click App Store that might just make you rich pretty fast?
I really do understand all the anti-lock-in and Symbian-is-such-an-open-platform complaints, but think about it: what’s the system that makes life easier for you? Apple’s control over the iPhone user experience is exactly what makes it such a compelling offer for users. For me, that’s all what counts.
If I want to fiddle with stuff, I’ll buy a train set.