iPhone 4 or Android? Shoppers Face Hassles Either Way

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As Apple steps up its game against Android with iPhone 4, right now is a great time to buy a high-end smartphone on either platform -- if only you could.

Supply shortages are expected to mar the iPhone 4's launch on Thursday. AT&T stores won't have the phone on hand, and partnering retailers such as Best Buy and Radio Shack will have an extremely limited stock, if they have any iPhones at all. According to Computerworld, Radio Shack may not even be able to fulfill its pre-orders. Online orders through Apple's Web site won't ship until July 14, which leaves you battling the crowds at an Apple Store as a last resort.

But let's say you want nothing to do with Apple. Android phones are the logical alternative, but buying one isn't a stress-free experience either.

Right now, Verizon Wireless' flagship Android phone is the Droid Incredible. The phone launched in late April, but due to supply shortages, you still can't walk into a Verizon store and get one. Online orders won't ship until July 12. Beyond supply shortages, the Droid Incredible risks being upstaged by the Droid X.

Then there's the Nexus One, available for T-Mobile or AT&T. For the foreseeable future, it's the only phone that runs Android 2.2, and therefore the only one that runs Adobe Flash. Want to see how that works? Too bad, because the Nexus One is only available online.

With patience, all these problems will go away. iPhone 4 supply will catch up with demand, and same goes for the Droid Incredible. A better Android phone is always around the bend, but there should be a lull after Motorola launches its latest. And Google's online store is preparing to shut down, so you may soon see the Nexus One in stores after all.

Take a deep breath, and give it a few weeks.

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