People are speaking with their money. It is Android versus iPhone except for a few specialised uses.
Yes, there are people who use smart phones for telephone calls. Those horrible flat phones have such awful microphone placement that calls are almost impossible when there is a the slightest background noise. Good flip phones curve around your face so the earphone is near your ear and the microphone near your mouth. iPhone has nothing like it. Can you use any of the flat phones for telephone calls?
Some of the HTC phones have a slight curve at the end to improve microphone placement. The HTC Google Nexus One has an excellent double microphone system to pick up background noise and cancel out the background noise. I hear great reports from experienced users. I will keep my flip phone until the Google Nexus One is sold in Australia without the evil of locking, or until I cave in and buy a HTC Desire.
The new iPhone 4 has a double microphone to cancel background noise, one small catchup to the Nexus One, but none of the reviewers noticed a difference. The reviewers seem to focus on the poorly designed exposed aerial that makes phone calls so difficult. I guess you cannot test the microphone if you cannot make a telephone call. Wrap the iPhone 4 in some sort of insulating cover to fix the microphone problem. Any cloth or leather or plastic cover should work.
After you fix the iPhone 4 exposed aerial problem by slipping the iPhone 4 into an iPhone 3 cover, you probably have a blocked second microphone and will not notice any noise cancelling. Find the second microphone and cut a hole in the cover so the second microphone can find background noise to cancel.
When you have the right cover for the iPhone 4 and have a Nexus One in the other hand, please test them in a noisy environment. While on the phone, ask the person at the other end to choose the best result then please add a comment here.
Some people like physical keyboards. The Treo has a good solid physical keyboard. Some Blackberrys have good keyboards while others fall apart during the first few days of use. One Blackberry Pearl lost three key tops while the salesperson demonstrated the Pearl to me and and the Pearl was a brand new unit opened that morning.
I prefer computers with full size keyboards because I can type two or three times as fast. About half of all iPhone users say they will quickly switch to an iPad or anything else with a larger keyboard for anything longer than typing a telephone number.
Andriod based phones have a virtual keyboard and there are a lot of alternative keyboard applications to help you get the best virtual keyboard. While the Treo and one Blackberry wins for those who want physical keyboards on their phones, the new netbooks beat the Treo and a lot of physical keyboard advocates say they are now happy with one of the Android choices.
iPhones are still crippled by LCD screens. No colour. No black. Unreadable in the sun. Unusable with sunglasses. Many of latest HTC telephones, branded Google, HTC, O2, and a whole lot of other names, plus some Samsung phones, have AMOLED displays to provide real colour, rich blacks, and bright whites you can read in sunlight and with sunglasses on. Some models have slightly larger screens than the iPhone. Many have higher resolution displays. The latest iPhone 4 is an attempt to catch up but people using both types of screens side by side prefer one of the phones with the AMOLED display. Apple store sales people will have to lock prospective customers inside to stop people testing the iPhone in sunlight.
Battery life is a big consideration. People watching movies while commuting prefer AMOLED displays and AMOLED displays use less electricity than the ancient LCDs used in iPhones. The same people prefer large high resolution screens and both aspects, size and high resolution, use more power. All the major phone contenders survive a day of use on one charge. None of the large screen devices can last a full weekend away, where you travel direct from work on the Friday and return home Sunday night, on one charge. Travellers are still better off with a small conventional phone for telephone calls and a netbook or notebook for viewing photos, moves, etc.
The big thing to hate about the first iPhone was the lock in to one telephone company. Apple eventually gave up on that rort. The HTC and Google phones are talked about as being open but in Australia the Google Nexus One is currently sold exclusively through Optus and the HTC Desire is sold exclusively through Telstra. Optus lock their Google Nexus Ones. Telstra sell the HTC Desire unlocked. Google's claim to openness does not stop greedy shops locking the Google phone.
iPhone has more applications. Outside of games, there is little to make a difference because Android has lots of non games and some are better than the closest equivalent on the iPhone. Some of the people using iPhone version 3 along side Android 2.1 prefer the Android selection because they are faster and have better displays. That difference could be from the best Android phones having faster processors and better displays. I do not know of anyone using a version 4 iPhone, with the improved display, along side a Nexus One. To be fair, the comparison would have to use applications updated for the better display in the iPhone 4.
Things missing from the Android
Users make comments about things you cannot do on the Android phones then other users say you can. Overall there seems to be a wider choice of how you do something on the Android. If something is missing, there is a free downloadable application to do it. Currently to get an Android equivalent of an iPhone 3, you have to download a few applications. After a few downloads, you have a better result than an iPhone 3.
I do not know of a good application shootout between Android and iPhone 4. The iPhone 4 has a screen that catches up with the top Android phones for resolution but the screen is still only LCD and the processor is still slower. Perhaps there is an iPhone 5 scheduled for the Christmas sales season.
Given that the shortfall in Android phones is only software and there are regular updates, expect the Android to surge ahead. One difference is storage. The iPhone is stuck with fixed storage but it is big enough for a lot of applications. The Android phones all use a small block of fixed storage for applications and unlimited removable storage for music, videos, everything. The Android phones will need to bump the application storage area up from the current 0.5 GB to 2 GB to store all the available applications and some decent games. Then they will need 2 GB of GPS maps for the world traveller.
Android needs to store games and some less frequently used applications on the removable micro SD cards so that the built in storage is not flooded.
The Nexus One has a superb noise cancelling dual microphone system that stands out among all phones. The Android on the Nexus One, coupled with the better microphone, makes voice input successful for people who have never had consistent success with any other device.
Android uses Java. Java crashes. People report really weird and stupid Java failures on Android devices. Good developers complain about the crashes happening. Bad developers think the crashes are normal, acceptable, and complain about the error messages from the crashes appearing on the screen. You should never have a crash on a Nexus One because Google control both the hardware and software. Google have no excuse and it is the biggest roadblock to Android success.
Apple have always limited your storage on their devices so you will have to upgrade. The competition offer unlimited storage through a card slot. The current generation uses the micro version of the SDHC card with a limit of 32 gigabytes. The next generation should use SDXC to allow terabytes of storage.
The truly insane people in telephone companies choose to use micro SD cards instead of normal SD cards. Your camera uses SD. All your computers use SD. You cannot insert the SD card from your camera into your phone for uploading to your server or Web site which means you have to lug your notebook computer around for your camera. The phone companies killed one of the most important uses for a smart phone.
This is strange because years before Apple decided to copy HTC, HTC included an SD slot in one of their tablet phones. Apple copied the HTC then left out the SD slot to force people to buy a new phone every time they ran out of storage. HTC were leading Apple by years then HTC decided to stab themselves in their own throat by replacing the SD slot with a stupid little micro slot not compatible with anything else in the world. All the phone companies collectively jumped off the same cliff.
Google will not help cure this disease because Google sells online storage in direct competition to all the SD card manufacturers. Google wants to put Android and a Google phone account in every camera to replace the SD and Compact Flash cards. Only Google online storage will be allowed when Google is in control.
The Blackberry and other specialised phones will disappear to be replaced by applications on Androids and iPhones. Next year when Android phones are so common that no vendor will be able to afford to lock an Android phone, the Android and AMOLED combination will win because it is better and will be cheaper. With Google so closely tied to HTC, Apple could dump the FTC phones and stick the iPhone logo on Samsung AMOLED phones.