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Do Android and iPhone users really want different things?

Jon Gruber has an interesting insight on his blog with the thought that Apple and Google do seem to concentrate on different aspects of their respective mobile experiences:

One thing that I've been thinking about today is that yesterday's announcements really showed how different Apple's priorities are from Google's. What Apple has focused on is making the iPhone feel and look better. It's about how it feels in your hand, about how amazing the new Retina Display looks. It's about even better battery life.

People who prefer Android over the iPhone value different things. I'll bet Android users were more likely to expect that Apple would announce a new UI for notifications, for example.

This reminded me of a conversation that Steve Bryant and I had through the comments on another one of my blog posts regarding "open" mobile platforms (like Android, where you can load any app you want) versus closed mobile platforms (like iPhone/iPad, where you can load only Apple-approved apps). Steve thought that users on each platform consciously wanted a different experience from the other platform, but I wasn't so sure. Steve, maybe I'll have to rethink my position. It's a lot easier to read the public intents of competing companies than it is the mobile masses.

Comments (2)

I would say the majority of people could care less about all the tech debates that are going on within the blogosphere and tech mags (e.g. Flash support, app store approval process). Consumers are mainly concerned with getting value for their money, and not having to spend a ton to get a great product. Apps, features, and pricing points are what most will focus on. There's also the "cool" factor that Apple has so masterfully employed via its tried-and-true marketing strategy. Android's doing a decent job catching up in that respect, but both have a way to go before they unseat the current #1 and #2 seat holders, Nokia and RIM.

It's true that techies will want different things than most consumers, but this is only a fraction of the overall market. Google wants to dominate just as much as any other, so they'll do whatever it takes to make sure theirs is the prominent mobile OS. Inherently, Google can't do much about hardware because that's not their forte. It's quite natural that Apple will have to focus more on the user experience related to the device itself. There's a reason they went the vertical integration route and threw in the A4 chip to iPhone 4 and the iPad.

I am very interested in what Android has in store for the future. I do not own a Mac product and do not see myself changing anytime soon.