Official: Lifehacker Readers Love Android

Official: Lifehacker Readers Love Android

The iPhone gets a lot of attention from the media, Lifehacker included. But when it comes to phones that really get our readers excited, it’s clear that Apple doesn’t hold a candle to Android.

When I ran a post last week asking people to discuss which mobile phone they had chosen and why, I expected the discussion to essentially revolve around Apple’s iPhone and various Android models. Nokia and BlackBerry both outsell those platforms, but don’t (for the most part) seem to inspire the same level of reader enthusiasm.

What I didn’t expect was such a groundswell of support for Android. Of the 50+ comments that are on that story as I write this, only half-a-dozen or so put up their hands as iPhone owners. Of those, many said they’d be shifting to an Android model next time around.

The sample size here isn’t enough to be statistically valid, and it might well be that iPhone owners simply didn’t bother to respond. Nonetheless, it’s clear that Android offers much more potential to the dedicated Lifehacker reader that the iPhone.

Our sibling title Gizmodo recently ran a good summary of the 10 reasons why Android is better than iPhone, and many of those reasons were mentioned by readers. The key arguments? The choice of form factors, the ability to customise, and the commitment to an open-source environment.

Every one of those are areas where Apple clearly won’t be trying to compete: its shtick is design, user interface, a handful of models and a tightly-locked down apps domain. And that’s fine — I don’t think any category of devices benefits from having a single, dominant player. A range of choices should mean better options for everyone, whatever their tastes.


    • I didn’t comment here during the discussion — I get plenty of other opportunties around here to talk about my tech usage. As regular readers know, my main day-to-day phone is a BlackBerry Bold — in productivity terms, I still think (like some other commenters) that a physical keyboard has big advantages over a touch screen.

  • My question is (and maybe this should be a topic here). . .

    I want an Android phone. Which one should I get?

    I try to avoid Gizmodo because they post too much crap that I want. I get depressed or broke from being over there.
    So I stick to Lifehacker where I can find out about things to suit things I already have.

    • You should probably list what features you want in a phone and then find the Android phone that matches that list.

      Do you want a physical keyboard? Large screen? Cheap price?

    • I just picked up an HTC desire a few days ago. So far I am enjoying it a lot. I never owned an iPhone but I did have an ipod touch so I was familiar with that. This feels snappy but if you are a heavy user it might not be great with regards to battery life. There is also many reviews of it which Telstra forked over devices to people to test with in Australia. These should help you get an idea of the OS and the phone. Also just in case this is sounding like an ad, I wasn’t part of this. It’s a pretty similar device to the nexus one. No froyo yet but apparently it should turn up late this month.

    • I picked up a Desire as my new Android phone. I need a phone that is compatible with NextG as I am in a country location that has no other reception. I toyed between the Sony Xperia X10 and the HTC Desire, but in the end the HTC won due to their support for the latest OS version (from – they were a lot cheaper than Telstra). The Xperia hardware-wise is basically the same phone but with a much better screen. However, they ship with a much older version of Android and are slower to port to the newest version. In this respect I am very impatient to the point of wanting to hack my phone to the latest even if its not officially supported. HTC are upgrading their Desire to the new Android 2.2 OS this month, where-as the Xperia was still on 1.6 last time I looked.

      Battery life is not great depending on your use. It wasn’t great for me on the iphone either. The phone has replaced my laptop for a lot of tasks, and as such is in constant use, from network discovery, website tasks, document editing etc. During constant heavy 3G and wifi use, lots of photos for record keeping, videos of the kids during the day, and of course phone calls, my iPhone would last me about 2/3rds of the day. The Desire does the same. During light periods of use where the phone operates just as a phone with occasional wifi web browsing, the phone easily lasts two days without a charge.

      I was worried that I would regret not getting the Xperia with its higher res screen, but to be honest the Desire’s screen is worlds better than the iPhone screen already, so I can’t say I’m disappointed in any way. My wife now owns the iPhone and when I go to use it, it seems like an old clunky gadget. I used to own a JasJam before the iPhone, and the Desire now feels like an equivalent step from the iPhone as the iPhone was from the JasJam.

      Thanks Google!

  • should this poll not be postponed until the iphone 4G and official iOS4 are actually available?

    of course android phones are all the rage at the moment, but certainly this poll would be VERY different when we stop comparing a 12month old device to the current bleeding edge android devices?

    • Pretty much all the comments predated the iPhone 4 announcement, so I don’t see that as a major influence. In any event, the reasons for liking Android over iPhone don’t change much with 4 — the only slight difference it makes is multi-tasking, but that’s still more limited on iPhone than on Android.

      • Agreed. I don’t see why the iphone 4 should have all that much of an effect on this discussion. It’s ultimately down to the different experiences and features with each phone, and from what i see with the iphone 4, not much has changed in the iphone ecosystem.

      • I disagree with the comment on multi-tasking being more limited than on Android. To the user the functionality is the same and that is what primarily counts.

        Both Android and iOS 4 have cut down or modified versions of the full multi-tasking environments we’re used to experiencing in the main stream operating systems such as Unix. And this can not be avoided on a memory constrained environment such as a phone/mobile device.

        • Apps need to be rewritten though to take advantage of the Apple approach, which AFAIK isn’t the case with Android. So the user the functionality won’t _necessarily_ be the same — it will depend on the apps they use.

          • Ok, in simple terms. for an Android app to ensure it can perform in the background, it has to specify a “Broadcast Reciever” or “Service” in its manifest. The broadcast receiver must complete its work within 10 seconds or the app will be terminated. A Service is better is like a background process that is separate from the front end; it is allowed to continually operate in the background. However, if there are any memory constraints, the service can be termintated by the OS, so background operation is not guaranteed. When any (switched out) foreground app is terminated, its state is preserved, which means if you switch back to it, the app will be re-loaded and resume where it left off giving the user the impression it was always there.

  • I made the decision to get a nexus one after seeing the videos on youtube, i ebay’d one for like 720 bucks but oh was it worth every dollar

  • I just got my first Android phone because my last phone drowned in the washing machine. I got a Huawei U8051 because I was still on contract and it was $199 unlocked (though you can get them cheaper if you look around). Excellent little phone! Runs the latest Android, has all the bells and whistles (GPS, tethering etc). Cant beat it for the price.

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