So, Verizon is poised to release their answer to Apple's iPhone: DROID. In an ingenious marketing blitz, Verizon (in partnership with Google and Motorola) is promising "everything that iDon't ... DROID does."
Ingenious, because Verizon is iHinting that all of the claims they're making are aimed squarely at the iPhone, but by not mentioning Apple directly as a competitor, they can make claims about every competing phone, and without Apple legal
asking that they be truthful about what the iPhone can and cannot do in their advertisements, even though consumers will likely assume the claims relate primarily to the iPhone.
Until recently, the claims about what DROID can do, and what the iPhone (cough...and assorted competitors...cough) don't do, was limited to a series of quick blurbs as part of a guantlet-laying-down commercial assault. Now, Verizon's DROID webpage includes a lengthy list of accomplishments, making it fairly easy to pit the two against each other in a comparative feature-list death match.
Genuine (if sometimes technical) "DROID can, iPhone Don't" advantages that favor Verizon will be highlighted in green. Items which the iPhone actually does better will be struck out in red. If features appear more than once on the list, subsequent appearances will also be struck out.
iPhone do. iPhone, in fact, can shoot and edit video, with the ability to post those edited videos directly to YouTube. All without ever uploading the video to a laptop or desktop PC.
iPhone do. There's built in mapping from Google which utilizes GPS (though it's definitely not as good as the just-announced Google app for DROID) and just about every app available from the iTunes App store utilizes GPS for geo-tagging in some way or another. Various third-parties have released turn-by-turn navigation applications for the iPhone, including TomTom. Prices vary, but there's a solution at just about every price point.
iPhone do. In fact, the iPhone compass is included for free, and most apps which utilize maps are now utilizing the compass feature, as well.
- DVD D1 capture
iPhone may or may not do? This item is somewhat vague, and mousing-over it doesn't provide any details as to what this feature will entail. Maybe the iPhone does it? Dunno. Chances are, if customers don't know what it means, they won't see it as a strong selling point, though. Hopefully, Verizon will update this list item.
iPhone don't. Several items in, and we have the first example of a feature that the iPhone, quite simply, doesn't have. Now, whether or not the iPhone should have this feature is another question altogether, but it's true that if someone can't live without a real (tactile) keyboard, the iPhone is not an option, and it's also true that DROID offers one as a selling point.
iPhone do. Apple provides a built-in calendar which offers everything that Verizon is touting about DROID's calendar.
iPhone do. Arguably, iPhone does it better than any other device on the market, primarily because the iPhone built-upon the most popular "tunes" device, the iPod, and continued it's easy-to-use integration with iTunes, the market leader in digital music sales. This item is stricken from the list not because some people won't come here and say "iTunes sucks!!!" -- someone probably will -- but because the market has spoken, and they've overwhelmingly validated Apple's position as a leader in digital music.
iPhone do. Not only that, Facebook on the iPhone is often the preferred way for people to access facebook. It's that nice.
iPhone do. There are countless Twitter apps available for the iPhone (all from 3rd party developers) several of which are critically lauded.
iPhone don't. The iPhones resolution is 480x320. Presumably, more pixels will result in a crisper display on DROID.
- Fast Cortex A8 Processor
iPhone do. More specifically, the iPhone has a fast processor, as well:
...it's just posted up a specs page listing 256MB of RAM and a 600MHz CPU. That's up from 128MB and 412MHz in the first-gen and the 3G, and it's basically exactly what was rumored. Of course, the 3G S also has that new PowerVR SGX graphics chip that supports OpenGL ES 2.0, so the total speed boost is probably more than just pure clock speed... SOURCE
iPhone do. To be precise, the iTunes App Store currently boasts around 95,000 apps. That number is going to be out-of-date by the time you finish reading this article. Is sheer volume an indication of quality? John Gruber says no. Still, Verizon isn't talking about quality, they're talking about quantity, and the fact is: Apple undisputedly wins if quantity is to be the metric. By a long shot.
- Times Square
iPhone ... don't? Still, DROID shouldn't get the edge on this, because the "feature" appears to be describing an as-of-yet-not-fully-developed software application, and it's kind of silly to claim that having an app that the other device doesn't have -- but probably could have -- equates to a major selling point.
iPhone do. This one is just cheap. "Sports" means, apparently, a bunch of other items that are already accounted for on this list (GPS, Speech Recognition, Facebook) that the iPhone does actually do anyway. iDon't think they had enough items, so they started to get creative.
- Night Shots
iPhone do. Just as with "sports" this is just a one word description of a bunch of things that the iPhone can do, that also happen to make individual appearances, elsewhere on the list. (Some even overlapping with the "sports" item.)
- 16GB Memory
iPhone do. This one is pretty boring. (The iPhone is also available in a 32GB model.)
iPhone don't. You either get a 16GB iPhone, or a 32GB iPhone. If you buy the former, you can't upgrade to the latter.
Tablet Width 13.7mm
- YOU TUBE
iPhone do. The app is installed, by default.
iPhone do. The iPhone way of doing this is different, to be sure, but it's certainly possible to customize your iPhone app layout, and the background, etc.
- Speech Recognition
iPhone do. The details may be different, but speech recognition is built-into the iPhone and, presumably, what you can do with it is a programming issue, not a feature issue.
- Browser Windows
iPhone do. The iPhone can open multiple browser windows, using Mobile Safari, just like DROID is touting.
- Augmented Reality
iPhone do. If anything, the feature has been popularized by the iPhone.
- 3.5mm Jack
iPhone do. This is an outdated argument, based on a faulty implementation on the first generation iPhone, which Apple no longer sells. All current models work with a standard 3.5mm jack, and any given set of headphones should work just fine whether you buy a DROID or an iPhone.
- 38 EVDO Rev A
iPhone do, essentially. This is just tech-speak describing a high speed wireless network, a feature that 1) has already been mentioned once on this list as "The Network" and 2) a feature which, in theory, isn't faster than what AT&T offers. Chances are, customers don't know what this means in the first place, and DROID has already been given an edge in this area, due to better coverage. Still, when AT&T's version of this works, it's pretty much a draw. Both are super fast, but not as fast as wifi.
iPhone don't. As much as I'd like to dismiss this as a gimmick feature (it really is) and as much as I'd like to point out that the iPhone does allow for limited multitasking (it does, but only with its own apps) the fact is, DROID apparently allows limited multitasking on 3rd Party apps (up to 6 at a time) and the iPhone doesn't.
If that's a deal breaker for a prospective buyer he/she should, well, avoid both the iPhone and DROID and go with a Palm Pre, which allows unrestricted multi-tasking for all of its apps. Finally, as much as I'd like to point out that multitasking is just another way to create performance issues on a smart phone, we'll just give this one to DROID.
Another vague life-style claim that encompasses several existing list items, all of which are available in some form or another on the iPhone anyway. Still, the iPhone is routinely considered the king of the "it" crowd, the epitome of cool. This one should probably tilt towards the iPhone, but in the interest of balance: It's a draw.
iPhone don't. Sadly, the iPhone also didn't back when this was mentioned the first time.
iPhone do. Oh, right. By QWERTY, Verizon doesn't mean "uses the standard keyboard layout" which the iPhone does do (not to mention practically every other keyboard in existence) they mean "includes a real hardware keyboard" which is something that has already been mentioned.
- USB 2.0
iPhone pretty much do. The iPhone uses a proprietary connector, but almost every device manufacturer makes peripherals that work with that connector, because it's the same connector used on iPods, and anyway, the end that matters -- the end that plugs into a computer -- is a standard USB 2.0 connection.
iPhone do. Once again, this is just a rehash of DROID's fast processor (second mention) and fast network (third mention).
- BT 2.0 EOR
iPhone do. The iPhone uses bluetooth for a variety of functions. Given that the Verizon feature-wheel doesn't elaborate on what BT features they'll offer with DROID, this one is somewhat hard to call.
iPhone don't. Yes, DROID has .2" on the iPhone's screen. I suppose this might be a selling point, for someone. (The extra resolution on DROID is probably the stronger selling point, though.)
iPhone do. iPhones are currently capable of both SMS and MMS.
Widgets? Not sure what they are. If they're web apps, iPhone do. If they're apps, iPhone seemingly has the edge, as discussed earlier. If they're something else, iPhone may or may not do. As it stands, they're a somewhat vague something or other.
iPhone do. Power. Mentioned for the umpteenth time.
iPhone do. Resolution. Mentioned again.
iPhone do. Power. Actually referred to as power this time, as opposed to the five times it's been referred to as something else, but listed as a separate feature.
- All IM
iPhone do. There are a variety of options for chat on the iPhone, there will be a variety of options for chat on DROID. I suppose all options aren't available, but the claim that they're all available on DROID seems rather dubious, anyway.
USB 2.0 HS
iPhone do. DROID apparently do again, but differently than the last time USB 2.0 was listed.
iPhone don't. Presumably, anyway. You can't click on this feature to see more information about it, so it's hard to really say what it is. Still, based on a purely literal interpretation, the iPhone doesn't seem to do this one.
- RX Diversity
iPhone might possibly do? The feature wheel doesn't elaborate. No points this time, as the description is so vague that one can't even wager a guess as to whether the iPhone duplicates the function.
iPhone don't. Megapixels are practically voodooo science and advertising spin aimed at ignorant consumers, but there it is: DROID has 2 more of 'em than the iPhone. There are more important issues in determining digital camera quality, and the iPhone actually has some really cool features that DROID won't have, but this isn't about Apple's claims, it's about Verizon's comparison. Meanwhile, here's a gallery of pictures taken by the iPhone.
- Intelligent Dock
iPhone do. There is a dock available for the iPhone, and it's used in much the same way that this DROID dock is described.
iPhone don't. Another major point in DROID's column, Android 2.0 is open source, which means anyone can develop for it, and there (presumably) won't be restrictions on what they publish to it. A fair assessment will concede that this may be a boon and a curse, or sometimes one and sometimes the other, and others may point out that a more restrictive model hasn't actually hurt the iPhone when it comes to attracting top notch developers, but even so: Apple's app store policy is one method of distributing apps, and DROID's open door policy is another, and some will likely prefer the DROID way.
iPhone don't. Still, remember back when this was referred to as Night Shots?
iPhone do. Not only does iPhone do, iPhone did it back when this item was referred to as Intelligent Dock. Verizon didn't even bother to change the description, this time.
iPhone do. The iPhone has a built in mail client, but also works just great with any number of web-based solutions, or Gmail through the built-in Email app.
iPhone do. This was already covered under the GPS heading. Same feature. Different name.
iPhone do. The iPhone pretty much pioneered multi-touch on the smart phone, so DROID probably shouldn't get all revisionist history on us.
iPhone don't, but then again, does anyone? At any rate, Gtalk is Google's chat program, and this category was covered earlier.
- DVD D1 Playback
iPhone do? The iPhone offers a variety of options for media playback. Is this one of them? Who knows? Chances are, most consumers don't know, and don't care.
iPhone do. Yes. We know. It's got a big screen, with great resolution.
iPhone do. Oh my God, does iPhone ever do. IGN, a major force in internet gaming news, dedicates pretty much its entire "mobile gaming" section to iPhone gaming. (The category is listed as "iPhone Games" in the drop-down menu, when navigating to the mobile gaming section.) Major development studios are producing massive games for the iPhone. 3rd Party developers have stopped developing for desktop computers to focus on iPhone development. Nintendo and Sony executives are routinely asked whether they're worried about the increasing popularity of the iPhone (and iPod Touch) when it comes to their own portable systems. Gaming, quite simply, is not a fight Verizon should pick, at this point in time.
iPhone doesn't. Why? Because it uses it's own OS. Calling one better than the other doesn't mean one is better than the other but this one has to go in DROID's favor because some people may be looking for an alternative to the iPhone's OS, thought it is worth mentioning that Palm offers a third alternative, that may be just as compelling.
iPhone do. This appears to be referencing push notifications, which the iPhone supports, though I'm sure the two devices implement the concept differently.
iPhone do. And, Verizon has already mentioned all of the various components of "life" as individual features elsewhere on the list. Sneaky.
iPhone may or may not do. The feature is too vague to offer a meaningful comparison.
iPhone do. Exchange support is now built-in to the iPhone, though it does cost extra. Is that the case with DROID? Verizon's wheel doesn't elaborate.
- Document Viewer
iPhone do. The iPhone can view and even edit many popular file formats.
iPhone don't. This appears to be a specific way of handling various notifications and, from the description, it would appear that DROID does this in a way that the iPhone don't do this.
2 AM Pizza
iPhone does. In fact, iPhone does all of the features that are re-listed under the umbrella that is 2 AM Pizza. The iPhone also has a Chipotle App. Does DROID? Game set and match.
iPhone does. The description lists various ways in which DROID helps to keep your contacts organized. The iPhone is calling. It wants its feature back.
iPhone don't. Most people don't care, but some claim to, and DROID (and about a billion other smart phones) thus offer a replaceable battery as an alternative, so a point for DROID.
iPhone do. Granted, it takes bad night shots, but because Verizon later lists "Flash" as something DROID does, I'm not giving them two points, simply because they've described the same feature in two different ways.
iPhone don't. I'm giving DROID this one. Technically, the iPhone does do a network, and on paper, it's a fast network. With that said, the network that the iPhone does do, AT&T 3G, is pretty much the one thing about the iPhone that iPhone users routinely love to hate. Verizon, on the other hand, is often recognized as providing the best network in the industry. Will that change if people buy and use DROID phones as much as iPhone users use their iPhones? Maybe. But, the fact is, this is probably the best selling point for purchasing a DROID over an iPhone.
iPhone don't. Though, in this case, that's a good thing, and a strike against DROID. The iPhone is slightly thinner. (12.3mm)
Instead of touting the camera (again) in an area in which the iPhone would probably win (the iPhone has great touch based controls for lighting and focus when shooting pics or videos) Verizon just rehashes a bunch of features that they've already hashed, and throws out the term "focus".
That's a long list. 67 items long. The final tally?
Of those 67 items, only 13 are features that DROID can actually boast that the the iPhone don't do:
- Real Keyboard
- WVGA 854x480
- 32GB Expansion
- The Network
- 3.7" Display
- Dual Mic Technology
- 5 Megapixels
- Open Development
- Android 2.0
- Notification Panel
- Replaceable Battery
Of those 13, the features that are probably the most marketable as "if you need a smart phone that does this, you can't do it on the iPhone so maybe you should buy DROID instead" styled propaganda (keyboard, replaceable battery) are the same features that other smart phone makers (Palm Pre, cough) have tried to exploit in order to put a dent in the iPhones popularity and which have, by and large, failed spectacularly at doing so, due to consumer disinterest in said features.
Some of the 13 are features that, if anything, aid the iPhone's popularity (open development, multitasking) by their very absence, for a variety of reasons.
If the iPod has taught device makers anything (but apparently it hasn't) it's that cramming more features into a competing device and calling it "better for it" is a horrible strategy.
Approximately 20 of the remaining 54 items on the list are either 1) duplicate entries in which the same feature is listed multiple times under various different names or 2) features which are outclassed by similar features or specs on the iPhone. (Games, available apps, size.)
The last 34 or so items are features that the iPhone simply does not lack. Saying iDon't in reference to those features is wholly inaccurate.
Ultimately, a list like this is only worth much of anything if independent reviews back up the claims, and there simply aren't any real in-depth, hands-on review available to tell us whether that great big screen is as good as it sounds, if those two extra megapixels result in better pictures, if the keyboard types as well as tiny keyboards tend to type, which is to say, not very well, and if those 10,000 apps are of generally higher quality on average than the 95,000 available for the iPhone.
Of course, there's also this: A similar list, tilted in Apple's favor, could be drawn up to counter Verizon's 67 claims. The iPhone, for example, is available in a scaled down $99 version. DROID will start at $199. The iPhone has great touch controls for its camera app that are not duplicated on DROID.
Ultimately, DROID is another smart phone that does a lot of neat things, sometimes better than the iPhone, sometimes worse, that nevertheless faces a major uphill battle to win the mind-share of consumers who, for the most part, really want to own an iPhone.
Time will tell.