Thursday, January 13, 2011

iPhone on Verizon - what does it mean for Android?

Until now the biggest reason to buy an Android phone was because only AT&T carried the iPhone. Now that Verizon has announced that they will carry the iPhone, how will that affect Android? I suspect that the impact will not be all that big.

The biggest thing to remember is that the people who will only buy an iPhone already have one. It has been out for nearly four years and most wireless contracts are only for two years so there were no penalties for switching to AT&T. This limits the potential iPhone customers to people who prefer Verizon's network over the iPhone.

The next factor are those two year contracts. I'm sure that some people will be willing to pay full retail in order to upgrade to an iPhone on Verizon but I doubt that many will. Most will wait until their current contract expires. The prospect of an iPhone 5 coming out soon will also be a factor here.

Other things to keep in mind - Android does some things better than the iPhone. Most technical writers felt that the last iOS upgrade was more catchup than anything else. Android does better multi-tasking and isn't tied to iTunes. Many Android phones support external storage and standard USB connectors. Android phones come with turn by turn directions out of the box. Want to install a custom ringtone without paying Apple - then you need an Android.

There is only one iPhone model released per year while several vendors release multiple Android models and all of them cost less than the iPhone.

Verizon has a lot of incentive to keep pushing their Droid line of Android phones. It sets them apart from the other vendors. They will never have an iPhone that is noticeably different from the AT&T model.

Many reviewers rank some Android models ahead of the iPhone.

Then there are people like me who are irritated by Apple's arrogance in general and their inconsistent standards for approving apps.

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