iPhone 4 vs. Android: And the Winner is...

Then there's the other important stuff the new iPhone is still lacking:

· The existence of full multitasking, outside of carefully defined and limited circumstances.
• Any significant customization options (and no, the ability to set your own wallpaper doesn't count as significant, even if Steve Jobs says it's "amazing" and "really wonderful"). Don't like Android's interface? No problem: You can change almost every facet of the user experience, should the urge strike.

· System-wide voice-to-text input.
• Live, functioning home screen widgets.

• The ability to swap out the phone's battery.

• High-quality navigation software that isn't a separate purchase.

• Anything that matches the numerous innovations coming from Android 2.2 -- things like over-the-air music syncing and streaming, cloud-to-device messaging, and mobile hotspot functionality.

• The choice to use a carrier that isn't AT&T (I don't think I have to spell out the numerous reasons why).

· Tethering that doesn't cost you $20 a month.
• The ability to install any app you want, even if it's something morally objectionable -- you know, like porn. Or political satire.

• The ability to use an app that Apple sees as competition, like Google Voice.

· The ability to view Flash-based content on your phone.
• The ability to use your device the way you want -- not the way Steve Jobs thinks you should.

(Side note: I read somewhere that the new iPhone has a handful of hidden features most people don't know about. If anyone ever sees the "Soul Scanner" in action, let me know and we'll re-evaluate.)

Apple's iPhone 4 vs. Android: Final Thoughts

In the end, there's little question that Apple's new iPhone will be a commercial success. And hey, if you're the kind of person who buys into Apple's world, you'll probably love it (in fact, I think that might be a contractual requirement).

The tides are turning, though, and more and more people are starting to realize that there is a more powerful and open alternative. Yes, the old "but what about the apps?" argument is still out there -- but it's becoming less relevant with each passing month. And, let's be honest, does anyone really need more than 50,000 apps to find what they want? The vast majority of Apple's selection sits unused.

Here's the truth: Steve Jobs is many things, but stupid is not one of them. He's undoubtedly aware of the strides his competition is making in mobile technology, and he's undoubtedly made a conscious decision to do things his way, with his control, instead of trying to keep up with the paces. It's a decision that should feel awfully familiar to Steve and the Apple empire; they've been in this boat before, and we all know how it ended.

So mark my words: This won't be remembered as the year the iPhone got folders, a faster chip, or a gyroscope. This will be remembered as the year the iPhone stopped paving the way and started transitioning into the third-place platform -- albeit, the very pretty third-place platform -- it's destined to become.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Author JR Raphael writes the new Android Power blog at Computerworld. You can find him on Facebook: facebook.com/The.JR.Raphael

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