The Battle Rages On: iPhone vs. Android OS and App Market

@Tim | Development

The battle still rages on for the win in this seemingly endless competition between Apple and Google, AT&T and Verizon, and the iPhone and Android. Yet this is a great time for application developers and mobile advertisers to take advantage of the growing and dynamic mobile OS environments.

The debate over which major features are superior for each phone is a hot topic today.

PC World stated, “If you want a mobile device that takes full advantage of Web connectivity, applications, and personal media that you can also use for business connectivity such as e-mail and calendaring, get the iPhone, even with the inferiority of AT&T’s 3G network.”

However, many believe that the Droid Eris has a much better UI design, including a weather and time widget on the home screen, integrated platform to access messages, and a mail-preview widget. It also comes with high-quality programs that are becoming more and more superior to those of the iPhone. This smartphone also is much more communication-oriented by allowing users to manager their contacts across multiple communication channels, including messages and e-mails.

In terms of usability, the iPhone seems to be superior, with ease-of-use features including a quick-delete function, capabilities to add Web pages to the home screen, and a copy and cut feature. However, the iPhone falls short in terms of being able to run multiple apps at the same time, reducing its multi-tasking abilities that the Android has.

The application market for both of these phones is quite intense. Whereas Apple is more lenient with approving applications to go into the market, Google tends to be more reserved.

A report by Computer World stated, “Google seems to be more flexible with what kinds of applications they allow… Apple has too much stuff that shouldn’t be in the store and unevenness regarding what is allowed.”

There are about 185,000 iPhone applications currently, and more iPhone users are willing to buy these applications than Android consumers (50% and 21% respectively). A report by GigaOM stated that Apple’s iPhone has $200 million in revenue from applications every month, whereas the Android market has about $5 million per month. Top apps for the iPhone include Tweetie 2, Yelp, Slacker, Mint, and Sling Player Mobile, as reported by Time

“Two billion downloads and counting — that pretty much says it all about the wealth of available iPhone apps. No device comes anywhere close to the iPhone regarding the variety of third-party apps, and Apple keeps enhancing what apps can do…”, reported a Computer World article.

On the other hand, there are approximately 60,000 Android phones sold each day and the Android app market is growing extensively with 30,000 applications currently, 60% of them being free, reported Android Tapp . The top applications for the Android market since March 2010, as reported by Gizmodo are Touiteur, Opera Mini, TMZ, Google Earth, Google Gesture Search, Thick Buttons, Google Shopper, and AIM for Android.

When considering which smart phone market developers and advertisers want to enter, brand loyalty is a major player. Surprisingly, a Crowd Science study found that the brand loyalty between both platforms are about equal. 90% of users of both phones stated that they would be willing to buy from that same company for their next phone.

Another major consideration that comes into play is the advantages from a carrier’s perspective, Verizon and AT&T in this case.

A news story on quoted the company’s President and CEO, “Combine our high-performance 3G broadband wireless network, the new iPhone’s business-class capabilities and a starting price of $199, and I expect that we will continue to increase revenue per user and attract customers who spend the most on wireless.” This new agreement and revenue-sharing model is very attractive for both parties, and the monthly revenues from the iPhone users will double their average revenue base from regular phones.

In terms of Verizon and Google, it seems like a perfect pair for the nation’s best wireless provider to partner with such a powerful company like Google.

Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google said, “The Android platform allows Verizon Wireless customers to experience faster and easier access to the web from any location. Through this partnership, we hope to deliver greater innovation in the mobile space to consumers across the U.S.” The two companies also agreed to devote a great amount of resources towards developing cutting-edge technologies to market and deliver innovative services to new and existing customers.

So who will win in the end? Seems like it is up to the users to decide where their loyalty lies depending on applications, costs, usability, and connectivity.

This is a guest post by Kristin Dziadul, Marketing Analyst for Backupify. She blogs on her own site as a new generation marketer, discussing new inbound marketing techniques and Generation Y studies and observations. She can be found on Twitter @KristinEDziadul.