More Things Change, More They Stay The Same

At the end of the year it seems to be popular to make predictions about what is going to happen during the upcoming year. I always find the predictions to be amusing because they are either very obvious, or such wild guesses that they don’t have a very high likelihood of being correct. Over the weekend such a prediction was made by Fortune, which says that 2011 will be the year that Android explodes.

The writer of the Fortune article is not going very far out on a limb, all you have to do is walk into a Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, or T-Mobile store to see that there are many more smartphones being sold running Android than other operating systems. It is also not surprising that people are comparing the Android and iPhone competition to the Mac and Windows competition of the mid 90s.

What I find interesting are the reactions to the predictions, which are as emotional (some would say religious) as the Mac & Windows flame wars of the past. People seem to really identify themselves with the technology they use and seem to view contrary opinions as a personal challenge. It is also interesting to me how the same arguments are being re-used, the iPhone is a higher quality, more elegant device than Android; the same argument was used about Mac and Windows PCs.

The truth is, each smartphone operating system has their strengths and weaknesses, and most people’s opinion about them are influenced by which one they picked first. A person who has been using an iPhone for several years is going to look at Android through iPhone lenses and find things that Android does not have, and vice versa. Trying to convince someone who loves their Android or iPhone phone that the other is better is pointless.

The answer to the question of which smartphone is best for you is answered by which phone meets your specific needs. Fundamental questions like, will the phone work where I need to use it, and does your carrier sell it are important, as are questions about what the phone does and how much it costs. The best smartphone is the one that works best for you, and don’t let the pundits convince you otherwise.