Friday, July 19, 2013

Phone-shopping time

After Apple introduced the iPhone in June 2007, it really took off. It was a sensation. The only drawback at the time was that only one U.S. carrier, AT&T, carried the phone. Now, all the major carriers and many smaller carriers offer the iPhone.

When Android phones came out in 2008, they expanded the market more than took away iPhone sales. Me, for instance. I eventually switched from a BlackBerry to an Android phone. I was with Verizon, and, at the time, Verizon didn't carry the iPhone, so, if I wanted one of those fancy phones, an Android phone was the best option.

Today, the iPhone is the top-selling phone. Now, before you get your panties in a wad, hear me out. It's a matter of statistics, which can prove anything if you play with the numbers enough.

In the most recent numbers, iPhone has 39.2% of the market. While Android phones have 52.4% of the market, that's spread across Samsung (23%), HTC (8.7%), Motorola (7.8%), LG (6.7%), and others (6.2%). So, iPhone is still the top-selling phone.

Now, as for operating system, Android is tops. But not really. There are a slew of Android operating systems. I'm not talking the skins the manufacturers put on top of the OS, I'm talking the actual underlying OS.

Apple's iOS has 39.2% of the market, but there are different versions of iOS. The top is also the latest: iOS 6 is on 92.7% of devices. That works out to 36.3% of smartphones running iOS 6. And, that's the top of all mobile operating systems.

Combined, all Android operating systems account for 52.4% of the market, but the leader is Jelly Bean (4.1.x, 4.2.x; API 16 & 17, respectively), which accounts for 37.9% of Android installations. That works out to 19.9% of smartphones running a version of Jelly Bean. That's just over half of the number running iOS 6.

So, the actual top phone is Apple's iPhone, and the top operating system is iOS 6.

What brought all this up? Well, I upgraded a phone a little over 18 months ago. At the time, Verizon was doing the 20-month renewal thing. So, 20 months will be up in early September. That's six weeks away. I'm beginning to seriously think about a replacement for my iPhone 4. So, I decided to look at what others are using. And, those statistics tell me ... it's a strange market. Number two is number one and number one is number two and it's just a big old jumble.

I don't expect to change carriers (I'd have to wait for January for that, and I'm not unhappy with Verizon), so I'll likely renew with Verizon. So, which phone to get?

Another iPhone? (I do like the iPhone. I really do.) Or, is there a reason to go back to Android?

Yes, I have an Apple computer, but I rarely sync my phone to my computer. With iOS 6, it's really not necessary anymore.

I have an Apple TV, but I never use AirPlay to send phone content to it. I also have a Roku, so if I did want to send content to the TV, I could use Roku with an Android device for that.

I have an iPad (older first generation), but I also have a Kindle Fire (Android-based).

So, yes, I'm in the Apple ecosystem, but I'm comfortable outside it, too.

Truth be told, I'm leaning toward a new iPhone. Which I'd be happy with. But, I'm open to other phones. Tell me what you like about your Android phone. Or, your Windows phone. Or your BlackBerry. Okay, I'm just kidding about the BlackBerry.

But really, I'm curious about these Galaxy Maxx One phones, or whatever they are. I'm open to suggestions.



  1. I'm an Apple/Mac guy, so there's my answer. That said, if you're happy with iPhone, stick with iPhone. If there's another device that has a feature you really really want that's not on the iPhone, go with that.

    When my contract period is up (or is in the renewal window), I'm actually thinking of skipping a phone altogether and going with an iPad (possibly Mini) with as hefty of a data plan as I can find.

  2. I'd go with that snazzy Fisher-Price phone you used in your story. Sure it can't do things most smart phones can, like make phone calls, but I guarantee the NSA will never track you on it.

  3. Wow! and I'm still wondering if it would be worthwhile to upgrade to 'touchtone' from 'rotary dial'.

  4. @3 Burt

    tough call, but i did. if you do, you really should consider "cordless", too.

  5. I just upgraded with verizon, and I really don't like Apple very much, so the Samsung Galaxy was the no-brainer choice for me. I got the Galaxy S3 because it was $50 with the contract-renewal, and the Galaxy S4 was $200, and I'm a little bit cheap.

    I've had the Galaxy S3 for 3 weeks now, and I LOVE IT. Absolutely, unequivocally love it.

  6. I just realized I wasn't very specific, my recommendation was kinda crappy. Here's a better one:

    I upgraded from another Samsung android phone that was really old and clunky. Things I love about the S3:

    -I live off of my google calendar, and the S3 syncs really well with it. I have the google calendar widget and use it multiple times a day.

    -I don't really do gaming on my phone, I have my kindle fire for that, but FruitNinja on this phone is ridiculously fun.

    -Facebook app doesn't have as many glitches as it did on the old android. that might just be a matter of the other phone being stupid, but all the same, it's nice.

    -The wifi connects automatically very quickly whenever it can find a wifi signal

    -Screen is big, but not too big. I have an Otter case that I love as well.

    -Camera is fantastic.

    Things I don't so much love, but come standard with any phone:

    -There are a lot of automatically installed google products. I don't use hangout or google books, or basically any google program beyond calendar and mail, so that's a bit of junk hanging out on my phone, and is a little annoying. But it does gmail and gcalendar so well that I'm good with it.


    Another blogger I read had a similar question a few weeks ago. There's her post and the full discussion on it.

    My answer's the same: 6 of one, half dozen of the other.

  8. Comes down to the apps for me. I've got as much $ in apps as I spent on my latest phone. Apple apps can be limited in what the phone will allow them to do, but they can do quite a bit and the apps tend to be of a higher quality.

    So, if you're a regular app user, the Apple ecosystem is likely the place to be. If you want to use the phone to control something else, Apple is the place to be. It all boils down to the numbers you quoted. Apple development is the easy market and development doesn't require supporting many different operating systems or many different physical devices. If a developer is going to support only one operating system, 99% of the time it'll be iOS.

    Otherwise, they're all decent phones as long as you buy good hardware. The feature set and stability of Android has improved nicely over the last few years and they're doing well at giving Apple a run for their money. Windows Phones still have a way to go, though they're also very usable.

    Blackberry 10 seems like the also ran with included features that will likely only work with the 10 other remaining Blackberry users. They could surprise me, but it looks like they're trying to sem-copy Apple's walled garden ecosystem without the marketshare to make it happen.

  9. While I freely admit that Apple has a better app ecosystem, and I do own an iPad, I personally find iOS to be too inflexible to for a phone. Not to mention that the iPhone 5 is too tiny for my bearish hands. And I won't even go into how Apple stopped innovating and has been mostly playing catch up since Jobs left.

    All I'll say is that if you decide to go with Android, do yourself a favor and skip the Galaxy phones. Sure, Samsung's marketed the crap out of them, and Samsung sells like five for every one someone else does, but they have an awful cheap feel to them. I'd forgive the cheap feel if they had something else to offer, but what they have is possibly the worst, laggiest Android skin on the market.

    I would suggest instead, if I may, the HTC One. I thought it was nice enough to leave Verizon for (well, that and the fact that I can buy Nexus phones straight from Google in the future), but signs point to it coming to Verizon in August. It's the phone that Android Central called "the best of the best" as of June 2013, it's #1 on Phandroid's top 5 Android Phones, and Davindra Hardawar at Venture Beat suggested that it was the first Android phone to really surpass the iPhone.

  10. Not a "Mac/Apple is my god" cult member.

    I had an iphone 3. Switched to Android because I was told how superior it was. I found it clunky, but I admit that familiarity fixes that feeling and that I was used to how iphone operates.

    With the "Android" phone, my battery was always dying. I couldn't close apps easily, at all. Seemed like a three step process. Just a lot of adjustment for something that is supposed to make my life easier.

    If you want to put in the time, I suppose it may be worth it. Android users swear by them.

    Wasn't worth the effort to learn a different system, since I haven't seen an Android app that really makes me regret not staying with it.

  11. I've got a Casio android phone that I love. Yeah it's not the smallest, no it's not the latest os, but it takes a beating which is hugely important for me.

  12. I have a Galaxy S2 running CyanogenMod 10.1, and it's amazing. Fast, responsive, very customizable, and bigger than any iPhone. I recommend Android without reservation.

    That said, you've probably invested in the App Store ecosystem. If I were in your shoes, I'd give Apple a few months to see if they come out with a new iPhone that isn't so damn tiny. A reasonably large iPhone (say, at least 4.5 inches) would be a fine device.

  13. That Water proof Galaxy 4 looks pretty neat. But then, I live with little kids who like to spill stuff.

  14. I've had my iPhone 4S for a couple years and I'm actually not looking forward to the day I have to give it up and upgrade. I'm not an Apple fanboy, either. It's just a good phone. Besides, I can read and post comments to IMAO from it---what else does a phone REALLY need to do?

  15. I don't play video games. I only use a few apps. I know next to nothing about other newish phones, but I like my Samsung Galaxy S3 for three reasons.

    1. The camera rocks.

    2. The large screen means I can use it without my reading glasses.

    3. Comparatively long battery life. New, I charged every other day. 9-months old, I charge every night.

  16. Frank,

    I would seriously consider getting Nokia's Lumia 928 if you are sticking with verizon.

    The majority of the things you do on your phone tha tyou need apps for in ISO or droid are built into the WP system. ONE calender (any email/calender account collates into the single calender), ONE email inbox (all email accounts can be linked into one), clean app interface which does not require you to scroll through dozens of screens to find what you want.

    The 928 also has a far superior camera to any iDrone phone. None can compete -- well, except other Lumia's :)

    Go to your local vzw store; ignore the android fan boi sales rep and play with the Nokia 928. If you get lucky and have a salesrep that knows what they are talking about in regards to windows phone and Nokias then even better.

    PS: you don't need the gargantuan otter boxes for Nokia phones. They aren't built like the little fragile samdungs and idrones. :)


  17. ugh, stupid autocorrect. ISO = IOS


  19. It also auto-corrected "Basil" to "Frank." Stupid autocorrect.


    I asked for a case to go with my Samsung Rugby Pro. the answer was " It IS a case. All we have are belt clips"

  21. Comrade Chairman ObamaJuly 22, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    I too have Verizon, and have been satisfied with the service as well as level of customer service.

    Got a Motorola Razr HD three months ago, and love it.

    11GB internal memory, plus just put in a 64GB MicroSD card, mainly for music; after formatting, 59.something gigs available.

    Solid, reliable (so far); easy to use, very decent manual available online;

    It has micro hdmi output for connecting to monitors/TVs (that's kinda neat ).

    One feature I've become absolutely hooked on is the time-lapse camera: it will take one frame per/sec, 1 every 5 sec, or 1 every 10/sec, and I've taken some very neat movies with it.

    This is my first "smart" phone. I'm a software engineer, and I've had to refer to the manual very few times; it's quite intuitive.

    ** All Hail Our Glorious Leader, the Great and Benevolent Barack Hussein Obama ( Peace Prize Be Upon Him )! **

    Love, Kisses, and Surveillance,

    Comrade Chairman Obama

  22. My take on those stats, for what little it is worth, is that people are staying with their android devices longer. Yes, I know, it takes each carrier longer to "brand" and push their fluff into each and every Android version that comes out, but that said... I'd find it hard to believe that the numbers indicate all of the people on older Android devices are there simply because they haven't been pushed an update yet. I'd offer that a large swath of them are well past their upgrade time as well. In full disclosure, I have an Android phone. I rooted. I installed AOKP. Love it. But that said, I'm behind on my upgrade. I could go out tomorrow and get a new SGS4 for very little down. I want to. I haven't. Why? Because I just don't feel pressed to... my current SGS2 with my custom ROM and bells and whistles is singing along without dropping a note. Just my thoughts. Take them or nuke them.


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