iPhone vs. Droid

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Motorola Droid is the latest smartphone to hit the market. Is it an 'iPhone killer'? To settle the issue, two WNYC producers, On the Media's Mark Phillips, an Android enthusiast, and The Takeaway's Jim Colgan, an iPhone aficionado, bring their water-cooler debates on the air for a showdown.


Jim Colgan and Mark Phillips

Comments [64]

bett from houston

Anyone else have a problem with call quality with the motorola droid? Calls sound muffled and words drop out. We're constantly saying, what did you say? Motorola Droid is a great gadget -- the coolest stuff -- but they forgot it's supposed to be a phone. When you want to actually talk to someone it's frustrating!

Jan. 13 2010 03:33 PM
Euro Poof

ATT and Verizon are both terrible compared to land line.

Nov. 24 2009 07:35 PM

People, the droid has serious flaws, for one it has weak voice signal strength and does not use 3g for voice. At&t is not as bad as people think. In my area Verizon is the one that stinks.

Nov. 24 2009 03:36 PM
Josh Heydemann from Oceanside, NY

Interesting opening feature... true multi-taking... to me a HUGE Apple fan, the key features are:
1. VERIZON phone network. AT&T STINKS!!!
2. removable battery.
the rest is eye candy, if it appeals to you - great! otherwise its not important.

I have been holding my breath for the past 2 years waiting for the iPhone to become available on Verizon... I guess I have to hold on a bit longer!

Nov. 24 2009 12:12 PM
Connor Walsh from London

This was fascinating! The Droid sounds fab (and I'm a Mac & iPhone user).
But anyway, I was really reminded of Jim's silent appearance in a Radiolab from years ago, where he was the amazing guy who was able to send SMS text messages :-)

Nov. 24 2009 05:07 AM
Matt from NJ

Just got the Droid, am a long time mac user and loyalist but never wanted to switch to AT&T from Verizon. Biggest advantages noticed so far (besides VZW) include the keyboard, turn by turn navigation, widgets and integrated google services (gmail,google voice,gchat, etc.). On the downside, battery does get eaten up by the constantly running apps, not as well designed as the iphone, not compatible with itunes .... much harder to upload music, though once in the device the music player works well.

Nov. 24 2009 12:39 AM
A from NJ


We never got to hear the 5 point the Droid guy had over the iPhone. May you please POST them?


Nov. 23 2009 06:46 PM

I switched from Verizon Wireless to an iphone a few months ago. The iphone has been working solidly in my hands. The Verizon network was the main reason I didn't switch sooner. What pushed me over the edge was the awful customer service I had to deal with with Verizon over the past year, mainly while trying to receive credit for charges that appeared on my account for things that I never requested. They lost a longtime customer. Still, I wish cel. phones were not tied to specific networks. That has to change.

Nov. 23 2009 04:10 PM
J Rapp from Billings, MT

AT&T network relies on partners in states like MT, WY, etc. Get natsy texts from them if i spend too much time there in a single billing period. As a truck driver i hate the ltd 3G coverage. But the biggest beef i have is that they took away the ability to tether my laptop (also an apple). I have no games on my iPhone. It is a tool for me. If no ability to tether by jan 1 you will be able to reach me on my old razor on the verizon network!

Nov. 23 2009 01:24 PM
H. M. McGowan from Manhattan

God, that Jim Colgan came off like the stereotypical Apple SNOB that gives all Apple lovers a bad rap. Please keep him off the air until he can limit the condescension.

Nov. 23 2009 01:07 PM
Jim from New York

To Nina from NYC: I didn't mean to imply that all computer-savvy people use Macs -- or even that I don't trust anyone who doesn't use a mac (close PC-user friends of mine texted me accusatory statements during the show!).

I meant that anyone I know who is in the range of what you might call a typical consumer, and who is what I would consider tech savvy, uses a mac. Of course there are people far tech-savvier than me or my friends who use all manner of non-Mac (and non-Windows for that matter) operating systems.

Also, my Apple loyalties only go so far (e.g. I don't pay for a "Mobile Me" account).


Nov. 23 2009 11:47 AM

In agreement with Amanda's comment #19 I think it would be worthwhile to do a segment on why wireless devices tend to be tied to wireless services unlike land line phones that you can use with any land line service.

Nov. 23 2009 11:17 AM
Kenny from Brooklyn

How do we leave the Palm Pre out of the equation. It has a beautiful open source OS, multitasks, a user replaceable battery so that you can carry a spare with you, runs on a Sprint with FREE roaming on Verizon, works perfectly with Yahoo, Hotmail, Exchange, and GMail, and has a fantastic voice navigation system that's included for free. If only Palm had a nickel to spend on advertising, this would be the phone that everybody's talking about. Try it out -- you won't be sorry.

Nov. 23 2009 11:17 AM
hjs from 11211

corporations have no conscience! profit is their only mistress.

Nov. 23 2009 11:08 AM
Steve from Morris Township

@ David from Bklyn:

David: All my family (brothers, in-laws, cousins, etc) use iPhones, I let them play with my DROID over the weekend and everyone was "wowed". The DROID may not be "cooler looking", but it is "seamless" and doesnt neceissarily have to "be more expensive" to be considered a "lux" item - though I know what you mean.

Nov. 23 2009 11:08 AM

what's missing from this discussion (and others like it) is the fundamental notion that running local apps on a web-enabled phone undercuts one of the basic advantages of a web enabled phone, namely, that the applications don't need to run locally using system resouces, they can run remotely where they don't.

what we really need are some vendor-neutral conventions for designing web apps for small screen devices and a standard widget set for the web.

Nov. 23 2009 11:03 AM
Tracy from East Harlem

Hilarious! I just heard Brian read Nadia's comment on-air (see comment #4). That was me with my boyfriend at the Apple store yesterday. Nadia was wonderful - great customer service - and we are making it work with the dueling phones.

Nov. 23 2009 11:03 AM
Nina from NYC

The iPhone advocate doesn't sound like quite a computer expert himself. I don't know how anyone can believe that all computer-savvy people use Macs. The point of a Mac is that it does everything for you. It's exactly the opposite-- it's for lazy people who know nothing about computers and just use Macs for its brand status. Anyone who knows about computers is using a PC with Linux running on it, and a phone with Android since it's open source. I can't believe Mac is the advocate for the hippie creative type when it's so elitist and exclusive. Everything is under such a tight lid. I owned two Macs in the past that I had so many problems with. And of course the cost to fix them each time always ran at least $300.

Nov. 23 2009 11:03 AM
cwebba from Astoria

And when we talk about evil empire – Adobe is the MOST evil empire.

Nov. 23 2009 11:03 AM
cwebba from Astoria


the design capabilities of these two companies are WAY over rated.

Apple design has lots to wish for. Those blue bubbles in Email that keep users from accessing the name data from messages, for example, sucks.

And I can't find the SEND or COMPOSE button on GMail to save my life!

Nov. 23 2009 11:00 AM
Tom Graves from Stamford, CT

Love my iphone - have AT&T!!!! Hate not being able to interface with MS Outlook!!!!

Can't use my MS Outlook with out spending an additional $99 and using Moblie me.

The Android - does it play well with "things MicroSoft"?

Nov. 23 2009 10:58 AM
jh from manhattan

What about the Cliq? The forgotten Motorola Android phone.

Nov. 23 2009 10:58 AM
dubya from soho

I'm an iphone user, but glad the Droid came out. It won't kill the iphone, but keep Apple on their toes.

iTunes makes all the difference in the iphone experience.

Nov. 23 2009 10:58 AM
Mike from Manhattan

Again, I have to say I am a "Mac " guy but the cult like attitudes of other "mac" guys makes me ashamed... and wanting to distance myself from this weirdness.

Nov. 23 2009 10:57 AM
Betty Anne from UES

You should also speak about CDMA vs. GSM.

Nov. 23 2009 10:57 AM

Verizon is evil incarnate! EVIL, I say!

Nov. 23 2009 10:57 AM


Did I just hear the Apple advocate suggest that users of other UNIX-like operating systems are not tech savvy?

Nov. 23 2009 10:56 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Apple should've signed it's own death warrant with the restrictions it places on the IPhone (which is just a glorified mini computer anyway) by not allowing streaming radio, other podcasts apps etc.

Other companies should've taken advantage years ago if it weren't for their clumsiness, hopefully droid will be the first real challenge.

Nov. 23 2009 10:55 AM

Did the Droid guy just say its easier to use the pull out keyboard while walking or in your CAR!? I hope he means when somebody else is doing the driving.

Nov. 23 2009 10:55 AM
Gerald from Queens

The Iphone guy is really sounding like he drinks the cool aid. "I dont care" is the defensive argument made by those that are brainwashed. I run OS 10 on 4 of my 6 computers. But Apple is almost evil. I wish the Fan boys would wake up. The Apple Fan boy is almost scary in his fanatical attitude.

Nov. 23 2009 10:55 AM
cwebba from Astoria

What I want to know is how easy is it to write programs for these phones and will the work be cross-app compatible?

Do we need a for phones?

Nov. 23 2009 10:55 AM
hjs from 11211

Dvorak Keyboard ?

Nov. 23 2009 10:55 AM
amanda from Bed Stuy

Seriously: it is killing me. I know people have reasons to love and hate AT&T but I'm locked in to my contract *and* travel enough that I can't deal with Verizon's (many, many) dead spots.

Nov. 23 2009 10:54 AM
Kenny from Brooklyn

How are we leaving the Palm Pre out of this conversation? It's got a beautiful OS and also multitasks.

Nov. 23 2009 10:54 AM
Bill from Manhattan

This is a silly argument. Like teenage boys arguing Ford vs. Chevy.

Technology marches forward, whatever features the iPhone has that Droid doesn't have, Droid will have soon and vice-versa.

Its a free country!!! Use the tool that feels best in your hand. If you are not comfortable with it, don't buy it!

Full-disclosure: I'm a totally satisfied iPhone user for 2 years.

BTW - Apple's vetting of apps is not a bad thing - I need to rely on my phone, I don't want any unapproved apps causing problems.

Nov. 23 2009 10:54 AM
Steve from Morris Township

I purchased the DROID last week after researching both the DROID and iPhone. Your pro-iPhone guy made a telling comment - the iPhone is "stripped down".

The DROID has totally reimbursed me into the multi-media-web-social-networking-connectivity of the virtual world. I feel plugged in and the DROID has prompted me to create a YouTube account as well as sign up for a Google voice phone number. Google seems to be unstoppable!

Nov. 23 2009 10:53 AM
Sue from Manhattan

Can Mark Phillips tell me if it is true that AT&T's unique carrier status is up in January? Will Apple will switch to/or add Verizon in January?

Nov. 23 2009 10:53 AM
Edward from NJ

Having had bad experiences with AT&T, I was excited about the Droid release. Then I looked at the prices for service and just couldn't bring myself to pay the extra data charges. The thing I really like about the Droid is that it might force some competition on data pricing. That would be good for everyone.

Nov. 23 2009 10:53 AM
Isaac Schmidt from Brooklyn

It's disingenuous to imply that an iPhone "can't" multitask. As with most things, it works as Apple wants it to work in their implementation

You can for example, listen to music and send e-mail at once. That's two apps, count 'em.

Also, it takes about 3 seconds to load my weather app. No battery loss all day!

Nov. 23 2009 10:52 AM
Frank Rose from Park Slope

I got the Droid first day. My wife has iPhone. (No, I'm not gonna go all Car Talk on you) I'm a techie and I can make the Droid do what I want, but on all fronts the iPhone is more smooth and solid. My priority was sticking to the Verizon network for reliability - when my wife switched to AT&T it was our first experience with dropped calls.

Droid physical keyboard - it's rough going - I'm practicing. The Android virtual keyboard is awesome - word suggestions are great.

Nov. 23 2009 10:52 AM
justen from tampa

Dear Apple Fan Boy,

If the apple designers told you that you were better off not wearing pants, you'd probably do that too. Blind allegiance to this growing evil empire is ignorance.

And why would you want any piece of this:

Nov. 23 2009 10:52 AM
uos from queens

mac guy sounds like a stereotypical mac guy. smug. ;D

Nov. 23 2009 10:52 AM

No matter who wins this discussion, the listeners lose. I'll turn the station back on later I suppose.

Nov. 23 2009 10:51 AM
Ben from NYC

I have the HTC hero which also runs on android. It is nice to run things in the background but it can be a battery eater for me and also drags down my memory. I still wouldn't trade it for an iphone, I like the fact that it is open source

Nov. 23 2009 10:51 AM

there's an example of lack of true vision...where's the phone company that improves the power system of the phone so it becomes more useful.

Nov. 23 2009 10:51 AM
amanda from Bed Stuy

I'd really like you to get into the politics of *why* I cannot buy an android phone for AT&T. Personally.

Nov. 23 2009 10:50 AM
Paul from Brooklyn

Is there anything sadder than a middle-aged, milquetoast white guy repeatedly using the word "smackdown"?

No, I didn't think so.

Nov. 23 2009 10:50 AM
Matt from UWS


Yo! THE IPHONE ALSO RUNS APPS IN THE BACKGROUND... but you have to jailbreak it in order to run non-native apps.

Nov. 23 2009 10:50 AM
Lance from Miami

I'd have bought an iPhone long ago if it weren't chained to ATT. I hate Verizon, but I DETEST ATT even more.

Think I'll just subsist on 20th century technology until there are alternative service providers for these gadgets.

Nov. 23 2009 10:50 AM
Alistair Wallace from midtown

You're both losers for caring so much about your phone- way to both be label whores.

Nov. 23 2009 10:49 AM
kai from NJ-NYC

The Droid does NOT compare to the HTC Hero and is probably equivalent to the Palm Pilot Pre.

The reliability of the wireless network is key to support the functions of any smart phone. So until iPhone gets off AT&T, they don't have a chance.

The multiple function capability of all non-iPhones will push iPhone will do the same.

Nov. 23 2009 10:49 AM
Alex from Brooklyn

There is a price for having application run all the time.

battery life

Nov. 23 2009 10:49 AM
dubya from soho

Droid is not going to have the same market niche unless the it markets to woman also. Droid is heavily marketed towards men and lacks personality. The iPhone is like James Cameron's Titanic, there are better movies, but he made a movie that appealed to all, even the most hardened men.

Nov. 23 2009 10:48 AM

hate to be predictably contrarian but the main good thing about both the iphone AND droid is that they've raised the relatively LOW BAR for all phone companies a little...bit...higher. What I'm really looking forward to a real competitor to both GOOGLE and APPLE.

Nov. 23 2009 10:48 AM
Kevin from Brooklyn

The Droid? What about the Palm Pre. It arguably has better functionality (out of the box) than the Iphone or the Droid. It lacks Apps but their app store is in Beta and looks to be getting pretty competitive.

Nov. 23 2009 10:46 AM
NeitherHereNorThere from Manahattan

I read that the iphone will be coming to Verizon next summer.

I would love my iphone if it were not for AT&T. I never seem to have reception when I really need to make a phone call or google something. And I could never use it as a business device because it drops calls so often.

Nov. 23 2009 10:42 AM
David from Bklyn

Since the main reason for buying an iphone is signalling status, I don't really see how the android phones can compete. Apple has spent decades building a reputation as a luxury brand. For the Android phones to take this market, they would have to be cooler looking, work as "seamlessly" and be more expensive.

Nov. 23 2009 10:42 AM
Steve Maya from NYC

I phone is overrated. It's a great phone on a much to be desired carrier. My main reason for not getting an iphone was AT&T. I instead made the switch to Verizon and the Droid and so far so good. The droid is an iphone and more!

Nov. 23 2009 10:24 AM
antonio from park slope

Apple should just pay the duckets to get verizon to carry the iphone..(technology issues etc..) Lets face it, that's what everyone is waiting for.. If they do that, apple could have a campaign that says "these aren't the droids were looking for!"

Nov. 23 2009 10:17 AM

Jailbreaking and optionally unlocking (to use on Tmobile or other gsm carrier) make the iphone a solid performer, it's ATT's network that is inferior to VZW. That said the operating systems might be close but the iPhone is a seamless experience, most of the time, and has changed the cell phone industry. Go Darwin!

Nov. 23 2009 10:05 AM
Nadia from Manhattan

I work in the Apple Store in Manhattan. A couple came in yesterday. The guy wanted to buy an iPhone. The girl said: "I have an Android. We're going to make it work."

Nov. 23 2009 10:01 AM
OMG! Ponies! from Brooklyn

Without having tried the Droid, I have to say that, since Jailbreaking my iPhone, it's become a somewhat more robust and customizable device. Of course, it doesn't fix overcrowding on AT&T's 3G network in NYC.

The iPhone, especially with the Jailbreak community, has a wide application base that is pretty compelling.

Nov. 23 2009 10:00 AM

i'm assuming that before too long (finally it's starting to happen) that all the phones will have similar features, and then it's a matter of which have strong signals and well built phones.

does anybody know the number and annual growth rate of cell towers now up for att, and for verizon? Having just switched from att to verizon i am both enjoying much improved service but also annoyed and surprised at the relatively large number of dead zones I hit outside the NY area.

Nov. 23 2009 08:57 AM
Denise H. from Kinnelon, NJ

Looking forward to this segment. My 12 year, nicknamed Gadget, has long wanted an i-phone. Living in Verizon country, it is not happening. He now has a Droid on his Christmas wish list. Not sure if it will be a temporary fix for his i-phone lust or if it will put the i-phone (why can't we switch to ATT) whine to bed.

Nov. 21 2009 11:45 AM

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