This isn’t an article about how to get Oracle Mobile working with these two devices, but more of my own personal experience with the two devices. So, no programming talk on this.
I have an iPhone 4 for work and my own personal Android device (Sony Ericsson Xperia X10). My wife also has a Samsung Nexus S which I will refer to as well since it has a newer version of the Android OS than does the X10. First off, I will tell you that I went to the iPhone kicking and screaming (not really, but it sounds good). I really never wanted any Apple products, felt there wasn’t a need for them or their price tag. So, I have gotten that out of the way. But having said that, I will be giving my open an honest opinion about the iPhone regardless of my views on most/all Apple products
Not much between the phones in terms of size. Both Android devices are slightly larger than the iPhone device… until you have to put the iPhone in an ugly protective case so you don’t lose your signal! Yeah, I still find that funny. Having said that, I like the added weight that the protective weight gives the phone. It lets me know if the device is still in my pocket or back at my desk. I actually prefer a heavier phone, but manufactures keep making them lighter.
Screen and Resolution:
Both the Androids have much larger screens than the iPhone, but the iPhone has a higher resolution, which makes things look pretty crisp. For the real test , I played Angry Birds on all 3 devices, I liked the Nexus S the best by far.
Performance and Battery:
The X10 battery life is pathetic! Their spec sheet says stand by times between 415 and 425 depending on the network, I say “Yeah right!” I know those stats are never accurate, but I am assuming they did the test with a bare bones Android 2.1 installation without all the Sony Ericsson bloated software. Truthfully, I would be lucky to get 36 hours of standby time on the X10. The Nexus S is better with it’s battery management and standby times were closer to 72 hours which is reasonable. The iPhone, of the 3 seemed to have the best standby time, but the battery drains quickly with use.
My X10 still has Android 2.1, which makes everything lag on my phone. I also have to run programs such as Task Panel Xtra to kill some of the bloated software like Face Recognition that the kind folks at Sony Ericsson provided the phone. The software would routinely take up 99% of the CPU of the phone! Insane right? Both the Nexus S (Android 2.3) and the iPhone are sleek though. They are both very smooth to the naked eye, there isn’t much between them. Again, the test of Angry Birds was used and they both performed well without any lag unlike the X10.
Here is where Sony Ericsson spent a lot of time on the product and left in a bunch of blunders. The Xperia comes with Timescape and Mediascape. This is a really novel idea but because of either performance issues with Android 2.1 or the phone itself, I stay away from these two applications as much as possible. Both Timescape and Mediascape come with cool plugins for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc and you can go to this dashboard and have either integrated views or separated by function. The Xperia is so sluggish, that it is a waste of time and battery life keeping the thing up to date. So, I have uninstalled all the plugins and barely ever sync it. You can’t entirely remove the two applications unless you root the phone. But I have digressed. The Xperia comes with an 8.1 HD camera and the phone comes with a camera button so you can quickly take a photo… or at least you could try to quickly take a photo but this phone is so slow, it doesn’t really do anything quickly. Also, after you start the camera, you will have to kill the Face Recognition service again cause the camera fires it up. Both the Nexus S and the iPhone feature a 5 megapixel camera and both phones have a front facing camera for facetime. The Samsung will do facetime either on WiFi or over your cellular network, but the iPhone will only work while on WiFi. The one win so far that the X10 has is the Panoramic application from Sony Ericsson. It is by far the best panoramic program I have seen out their for camera phones.
This part is OS specific. Let me put it this way, the iPhone notifications stink! If your phone is locked and you get an e-mail or a message and you don’t often mark your e-mails/messages as being read, you have no idea which application just got the message. Furthermore, if you are away from your phone for a while, you will have to unlock your iPhone and check to see if you have received any messages/notifications. It’s a complete guessing game. The Android on the other hand has an notification bar along the top of the screen and you pull it down to look at what applications you received a notification from. Both the Nexus S and the X10 have an LED light on the device that lets you know you have a notification. The LED light on the Xperia changes color depending on the application that sent you the notification. Not sure about the Nexus S as it is always in my wife’s possession.
Email (POP3 and Exchange):
I for one like the fact that the iPhone has a one stop Email client. It is a limited client, but it is a one stop shop. I have my work account (Exchange) and I have gmail and yahoo mail accounts. The mail on all 3 gets pushed quickly to the phone, so I am always on top of the emails. I can’t really search any of those emails, but at least they are in one place. The Androids come with gmail and a POP email client. The gmail client is great. Does everything you would want a email client to do. The default email client is much like the iPhone client, it’s a central location for your emails. But like the iPhone, it can’t perform searches. There is a decent email client for Android called K9 that supports IMAP, POP3 and Exchange 2003/2007 (with WebDAV). I have tried it, but couldn’t get the push to work for my Yahoo mail, even though I have a IMAP on my Yahoo account. My X10 comes with Moxier, so I was able to set up my Exchange email as well. But, in the end, I got rid K9 and Moxier and just set up my gmail account to access my yahoo account.
When I first saw the iPhone, I often wondered if 1 button would be enough? After using the iPhone for about 8 months now, I can honestly say, 1 button is not enough! Different Android devices come with 3 buttons by default and some come with more. The 3 buttons are Menu, Home, and Back. Now, there is no standard as to how they are arranged on each Android device, but they are all there. The Android 3.0 has these placed onscreen for Tablets, but they are there also. Between the iPhone and the Android, I can navigate quicker through the Android than I can the iPhone. The Android is more intuitive and really isn’t difficult to figure out how to get to anything. One example is setting up WiFi. The iPhone will annoyingly notify you of available WiFi in the area. You could be driving down the road and try to make a call when the annoying notification comes up that you have picked up someones home network. Yes, you can turn this off, but then you have to manually connect to the WiFi network by going into your Settings. The Android displays a WiFi icon in it’s notification bar with a question mark through it. If you want to connect to the available WiFi network, you simply select the notification and connect to the network. It doesn’t interrupt you like the iPhone notifications do. Other actions like long pressing the power button on the Android gives you the options to turn sound off, air plane mode, or power down. Also, sliding the unlock pad from right-to-left turns the phone automatically to vibrate. A long press on the iPhone just brings up the option to turn off the phone. Androids also feature a long press as a touch screen function. So, lets say I am in my email and I long press a selected email, it will give me options such as Read, Archive, Delete, Report Spam, etc. The iPhone requires the developer to have placed that functionality on screen somewhere.
Music and Video:
For the Android, I use Winamp for my music. I can use the Winamp desktop to sync my files via WiFi, but I still hard wire the phone into my PC and I actually use Sony’s MediaGo to sync my files. I don’t really use iTunes. I know many people that use it and maybe those people can provide feedback on how slick it is. But for now, I will stick with my Android and Winamp and be happy about it. Video between the two, pretty much even. I get YouTube on both. But YouTube on iPhone manages my subscriptions better. Strange, cause you would think that google would want to make YouTube experience on Android 100x better than on iPhone.
The clear cut winner for keyboard interface is the Android. I don’t mean the one that comes with Android, but Swype. I know some Androids come with Swype pre-installed, but I had to install Swype on both my Androids. Swype is a cool way to type. Basically, you swype the keyboard and your fingers only leave the screen when you are done the word. Also, if you need to get to an alternate key, you just perform a long press on the desired key and it will enter the character on screen for you without going to the alternate layout. The Android 2.3 also has the added feature of Speech-to-Text on the keyboard. You just select the Mic button on the keyboard and start talking. Your dialog will be entered into the focused field. Very cool feature that my X10 can’t use yet, but one of my wife’s most used feature on her Nexus S.
Some people will use the argument that the iPhone has more applications hence the applications for the iPhone are better. I wouldn’t be one of those people. Since I have both phones, whenever I get an application/game for one phone, I will try and find it for the other. Obviously there are device specific applications, but I have always been able to find similar applications that work on both phones. The only application that I want on the Android that isn’t available for the Android in Canada yet is NetFlix. It is suppose to be available for the Samsung Nexus S soon though. I would imagine that for the next generation of Androids, this would be a standard feature. Now, I don’t have data on this, but it seems to me that there are better free applications on the Android than the iPhone. I am purely basing this on the number of applications that are loaded on my Android compared to my iPhone.
Don’t buy an Xperia X10 Sony Ericsson already have the Arc and the Play out and from what I hear, they have fixed the most of the flaws that came out in the X10. I would be interested in trying the others out and if there is a Sony Ericsson rep that would like to send me one to review I would be more than happy about the upgrade. The Samsung Nexus S is a fantastic phone, but be prepared to install some applications after you start up the phone. It has a bare bones Android system without any pre-installed software. So, completely customize-able. You can do worse than buying an iPhone. On buying an iPhone, you will have to cover up that sexy exterior with a bulky piece of plastic and rubber so that you are able to make a decent phone call.
If you have any suggestions for improving my experience on the X10 or iPhone, leave a comment below. And please, no Fanboy type bashing. I am looking for honest discussions.
Update: I just upgraded the software on my X10. So far, the device has been 100% more responsive. I am having a small issue with “android.process.media has stopped unexpectedly.” I am looking into it and correcting it, but the phone itself seems fine. I removed some sony ericsson widgets off the bat and customizing the phone to my liking.