12 ways the Nexus One slays the iPhone (updated)

12 ways the Nexus One slays the iPhone (updated)

Summary: Android is now the leader in smartphone OS wars. Here's 10 things Apple needs to do, just to catch up.



I've being using Google's Android OS a lot lately. I've been using Android as my primary phone OS for around a year while writing three Pocket Guides for Peachpit Press (Nexus One, Droid, G1) and I've concluded that the Nexus One is a better smartphone than the iPhone - hands down. Why? Because Android is a better mobile OS.

I'm basing this on Android 2.1 as compared to iPhone OS 3. I've done some limited testing on the Pre+ (and Pixi+) on Verizon Wireless, but Web OS comes in third after Android and iPhone. In January I posted my iPhone wishlist for 2010. In this list I'm going to list 10 specific Android features that Apple needs to implement, or improve upon in iPhone OS 4.0 if it expects to make up any of the ground it lost to Android in the past 12 months.

This list doesn't include any of the excellent hardware features found in most Android handsets like an expansion memory card slot, removable battery or the home/back/menu/search soft buttons because Apple will probably never implement these. Apple will most likely improve the iPhone's screen resolution in the 4.0 hardware, as the Nexus One's 800 x 480 AMOLED display has 2.5 times the pixels of iPhone's 480 x 320 panel.

Here are 10 ways the Nexus One slays the iPhone...

  1. Google Voice – There's something compelling about having a phone number for life that you can forward to any phone. What makes Google Voice cool is that voicemail are transcribed into email so that you can preview them with a glance, imagine your voicemail in a Gmail interface. GV is cost-effective because SMS is and MMS are (update: MMS is coming) free and international calls are cheap. When GV allows number porting, I'm converting and never looking back. GV's allows you to receive your calls on any phone and poses a serious threat to the mobile carrier's business model. AT&T doesn't want GV as a native iPhone app because it would cut into its lucrative SMS and long distance charges. Unfortunately the GV Web app is no replacement for the real thing.
  2. Google Maps Navigation – The Maps app on Android alone has 10 features that aren't in the lame version of Maps on the iPhone. Take navigation for example, the Android version of 'Maps comes with full-blown, turn-by-turn, voice navigation that rivals anything from Garmin or TomTom. The free crowd-sourced traffic another bonus, plus it's permanent Internet connection mean less incorrect POIs. Maps for Android also has a bunch of cool features hidden in the Labs menu, like layers for Terrain, Buzz and Latitude.
  3. Voice Text - I used my Nexus One for an entire week without typing. I replied to email, SMS and Twitter all without ever touching the keyboard. That's because Android has system-wide speech-recognition. Anywhere there's a virtual keyboard you can touch a microphone icon and dictate your text. Although its experimental and requires a data connection it's a major time saver.
  4. Status Bar/Notifications – Ironically Android's status bar is more Apple-like than Apple's status bar. iPhone notifications are displayed as a model dialog box, but multiple notifications get truncated and answering a call or unlocking the phone dismisses them. Android notifications are persistent and live in the status bar. Why doesn't Apple have something like this?
  5. Widgets/Better home screen – Android allows you to have small apps for news, weather, twitter and flight info, called widgets that can run on the home screen displaying valuable information without having to launch an app. Apple updates the date on Calendar app icon, but that's about it.
  6. Background apps/multi-tasking – When streaming music from Pandora or podcasts from Listen on Android I can switch over to email, Twitter or the Web browser without the music stopping. Apple only allows a select few app (its own) to run in the background. Enough said.
  7. Combined email inbox – If you have multiple email accounts, switching between them requires several touches on an iPhone making it easy to miss emails. Android's Email and Gmail apps both have a combined inbox that allows you to view all of your email messages in one centralized inbox. This is a feature that Apple must implement.
  8. OTA software updates and syncing - It's embarrassing that Apple requires a cable to install software updates, Android does this over the air. Syncing contacts and calendars costs $100 per year [update: unless you're using Exchange/ActiveSync]. It's time for Apple to make syncing cable- (and cost) free.
  9. Amazing, free apps - Google's Listen, Shopper, Goggles and SkyMap are powerful, free apps. Contrast that with Apple's Weather, Stocks and Notes apps, which are junk and can't be removed.
  10. Free access to the music library – don't underestimate this one, Apple doesn't allow apps to access your iTunes music library, which is a drag for DJ apps
  11. An open app store
  12. Installing apps from any source.

[Update: I had to remove my previous #9 "unlimited apps" because the iPhone has that too (it only displays 11 pages of apps), I replaced it with three additional reasons, for a total of 12]

So there you have it. Apple's recipe for iPhone 4.0 if it just wants to catch up with Android 2.1. I expect that in addition to addressing these deficiencies, Apple will release some new and unique features that blow us away.

What's your take on Android?  Can Apple catch up?

Photo: g1wallz

Topics: Smartphones, Mobility, Mobile OS, iPhone, Hardware, Google, Collaboration, Apps, Apple, Android

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  • lame lame lame lame

    Doesn't your Android phone have a thesaurus?
    • Seriously...

      I have never read an article where the word "lame" was used so many times to describe different items.
      • I don't know what's worse...

        So, what's worse. That he used "lame" so much, or that you two loosers actually NOTICED AND COMMENTED!!! Wow you two have to get a life.
        • Thank you.

          Love this comment.
          Made my morning :) I had to go back to see where he used lame, I guess it's normal speak for me heh heh.
        • But then....

          ...there comes you, outdoing them by making a lame comment on their commenting. In addition, you use the term "get a life", which is as lame and cliche as possible in this era of great lameity, as if you get your lame opinions from sitcoms from the 80's. No wonder you took offense, lamer.
          • but wait...

            then you come along, whining about him because he snarked at them for crying lame about the author's use of lame.

            wait.. what were we talking about?
          • You're lame!

            To all you lamers out there, with your lame whining about how much someone uses the word lame in a blog post; get a life, lamer!

            And for the record, I only counted one time that the word lame was used in the entire non-lame article about how lame the iPhone is (now, I suppose that he could have edited it.)
          • This whole little tangent is

            if you will forgive the word - lame.

            Not having seen the original unedited post I have to wonder just how many times that word was used.

            As for the iPhone being lame, the sales figures and market share prove you wrong. I posted a link for the marketshares down a bit but just to save you some time:

          • As one of Apple's biggest fans says: Quantity doesn't always mean quality..

            Sure the iPhone is popular, but Apple and Jobs and I suspect you, know that it's just a matter of time before the masses learn about android and the fact it makes the iPhone seem like yesteryear's technology.

            With WP7S coming, the iPhone is in huge trouble. Jobs is running out of time. He continues to follow his plan:

            1. look for products/markets heating up
            2. steal the best innovations from said that has not been patented.
            3. patent those innovations as Apple's with a few drawings and slight changes to the actual innovation.
            4. Actually create the product and hype it to death with the 40 billion in the bank.
            5. Sue the original innovator for copying from APPLE!
            6. Start smear campaign if you can't sue the person where you stole your information.

            But everyone is catching on and his con game is going to get shut down along with Apple profits soon enough. <br>

            Steve Jobs: "We Shamelessly steal great ideas".


            For the best of everyone else, buy Apple
          • lol (nt)

        • "...you two loosers..."

          Congratulations on helping to keep "lose" and its variants the most often misspelled word in the English language.

          "Looser" is how your pants feel when you are a "loser" of a lot of weight.

          (Some people might think I'm picking on a typo, but whether it is a typo or a spelling error, it is the one most frequently seen on the Net.)
    • RE: 10 ways the Nexus One slays the iPhone

      I have it there
    • RE: 10 ways the Nexus One slays the iPhone


      You finished a adjust deduction by <a href="http://www.shoppharmacycounter.com/">weight loss pills</a>, able job!
  • RE: 10 ways the Nexus One slays the iPhone

    iPhone will never catch up they will come out with a new
    version that has a catchy UI, better display fast browser
    and will market the hell out of it but at the end of the
    day its all smoke and mirrors.
    • Smoke, mirrors and...

      Twenty five million sold last year.
      • Smoke and mirrors

        1. that doesn't make it better
        2. that was pre android
        3. the last quarterly independent market share
        reports showed iphone flat and android grew a
        staggering 250%
        • Smoke in your eyes more like it

          Droid:Verizon:zero to 1mil -- mostly people waiting for iPhone on
          Verizon. There are a ton of people who really want an iPhone but hate
          ATT and would rather die then have a contract with them. Ask Google
          how the Nexus One has done -- mass fail so far. All Apple has to do is
          decide to sell one on Verizon and it's game over.
          • Smoke in MY eyes PLEASE

            Nexus is not a massive failure. Nexus is a
            business strategy that must be seen as a whole
            They are doing with Nexus One what they did
            with G1 flood
            the market starting with the little fish (tmo)
            as to
            build up anticipation and then drop the hammer
            i.e. NEXUS
            then then
            SPRINT ON THE FIRST 4G. Nexus One on the first
            4G will
            put iPhone in the darkages
          • Please...

            The reason the iPhone isn't on Verizon right now and Apple is suing HTC is because they can't afford to go head to head with Android on Verizon and loose. They HAVE to outsell the Droid and then the coming HTC Desire and/or HTC Incredible. Chances are....they aren't. And it would be the top story on every tech publication in creation. There would be no speculation then. Android would take the crown. So its best Apple stays right where they are on AT&T and wait and hope to win their lawsuit against HTC or at least stop them from building Android phones.

            LMAO @ really waiting for an iPhone. Nobody is even talking about iPhones any more. Most non-tech people I encounter now are talking about new Android phones and some WinPhone 7.
          • The Other Reason

            It is probably not on Verizon because they would have to develop a CDMA version of the phone. Look at Blackberries. The first of any model is a GSM phone and saturates the market world-wide. Then, eventually, they would develop a CDMA version of the phone. If youj were going to make a new phone, and you can only afford to develop one, would you make it GSM or CDMA? GSM is a worldwide standard and CDMA is not heavily used outside of the US. On top of that, the OS has been co-developed with AT&T so there would be issues there.