iPhone vs Android vs WinMobile: 2-1-1

October 17th, 2008 by jeremychone

Now that Google is in, the game is on. As I mentioned in my previous post, software is now ruling the mobile industry. As in the PC world, the big contenders are Apple with iPhone, Google with Android, and Microsoft with Windows Mobile.

But the big questions are: which one is better and which one is going to ultimately win?

While it is hard to objectively answer this question, here is my first attempt to create a simple score card. I have created a “4 Ss Scorecard” that I think is quite representative of the mobile market need.


The first property is openness, which represents how easy it is for developers to build and deploy applications and users to download and install them.

From a user point of view all three phones allow users to easily install applications over the air (aka OTA) or via cradle. From a developer angle, Microsoft and Apple have a similar approach that requires developers to buy their development tool (e.g., Visual Studio for Windows Mobile) or their OS (Mac for iPhone application).

Google has a much more open approach; their phone is based on an open platform and language (Linux and Java) and provides free tooling on top of an open development IDE (Eclipse)

Openness winner: Android


This characteristic is about the capacity of creating a strong marketplace around a specific platform.

iPhone has definitely the edge on this one, as they have created a single store which promotes application monetization. However, this is not entirely beneficial for users, as Apple is deciding what application goes in or stays out, and most applications will not be free.

I think that Microsoft was not aggressive enough in creating its own store; and, while Google created one (with $25 developer fee), it might not have the same monetization appeal of the Apple one (at least at the beginning).

In other words, if you want to make money out of your mobile application, choose iPhone.

Marketplace winner: iPhone


This one is easy; Apple iPhone is and probably will stay the winner of this category. Steve Jobs has a gift for making things cool; and, while Google might come close, they will always be trailing behind. Google is actually writing themselves out of this category.

As for Microsoft, well, they have work to do.

Coolness winner: iPhone


This is where the controversial part comes in.

iPhone is definitely cool and has a lot of good applications; however, Apple is still Apple and their controlling approach limits the full potential of the device. For example, tethering is not available and not even allowed as a third party application. Nevertheless, I was pretty impressed by the iPhone’s native support for Microsoft Exchange.

Google, interestingly, has similar issues as it forces users to utilize Google services (at the end, nothing is free). So, business users wanting to use Exchange are out of luck and should somehow migrate to Google apps.

Consequently, from a functionality point of view Windows Mobile is still the best choice available, at least for business users. Most of the new applications such as Skype, Qik, Google Maps, and obviously Mobile Office and Outlook are readily available on Windows Mobile. So, if you do not care about flying pixels, virtual lighters, and virtual beers, then Windows Mobile is still a smart bet. (disclaimer: I am a happy Treo/WM6 user).

Usefulness winner: Windows Mobile


So, I am pleased to announce that the winner is iPhone with a score of 2 against Android with 1 and Windows Mobile with 1.

However, personally, as a business user, usefulness comes first, and tethering and exchange integration are basic requirements. So, for now, I am sticking with Windows Mobile and my Treo 750. I might upgrade to Treo Pro when and if they support Windows Mobile 7.

What phone are you using? And why?


11 Responses to “iPhone vs Android vs WinMobile: 2-1-1”

  1. Flüge Miami Says:

    as a normal user glad to know that the winner is i-phone. The reason is that i have bought an i-phone for a week and satisfied with its funntions and design. :)

  2. 3g unlock Says:

    I have used all three types of phones and handsdown I feel that the Iphone is the clear winner..

    Not only functionality wise, but cmon it looks soo much cooler as well


  3. Pierre Says:

    You have not changed Jeremy – not a big fan of Apple !
    At the end of the day, isn’t there an other factor which I call ease of use… And Apple is again the big winner, although I have not put my hands on an Android device… all I know is that using an HTC device with WM on it for work is real painful…

  4. Jeremy Chone Says:

    @Pierre, Yes, I am not [yet] a big Apple fan. I admire Apple and Steve Jobs though, but I do not like their wall garden approach. I prefer a lesser product and a greater ecosystem than the opposite.

    I am actually amazed by the lack of revolt about Apple total control over what can or cannot be installed on the iPhone. (I must be missing something). I think that Apple was the only company capable to lure the industry toward this kind of practice.

    Nevertheless, I confess, they know how to make good [closed] products!

  5. Edwin Khodabakchian Says:

    I can tell from the pie charts and table comparison that you are a windows person :-) The numbers talk by themselves: the iphone is the only real solution if you want a phone that is well integrated with the internet. That is in my experience why people love their iphone. You are right about walled garden (it sux that you can not have your own javascript interpreter running on the iphone) but I think that they opened it enough for 99% of people not to care. Even developers seems to be OK with walled garden because there is a well thought out distribution and monetization strategy in place). Time to go back a macbook pro and an iphone!

  6. Vivian Li Says:


    Long time no see. Just want to correct there is a market place for Android:

  7. Jeremy Chone Says:


    Thank for the link, I will add the link to the post.

  8. Jeremy Chone Says:


    Yes, I am a windows person but I try to be as objective and pragmatic as possible(i.e. I am an iPod/iTunes user and not a Zune one ;). But the closeness of the iPhone market creates some unfortunate side effects such as the lack of tethering for almost a year now. I have tethering with ATTW for over two years now (so nice to not have to hunt for hotspot anymore). Not sure if it was ATTW or iPhone limitation, but it was interesting to see Apple removing an useful tethering application from their store. In a way, iPhone users are double-locked now, first by the service provider (nothing new there) and second by their new device/OS/Application vendor (i.e. Apple). iPhone users can only access what Apple and their service provider want them to (kind of scary)

    On the developer side, I am still stunt that developers are OK to have Apple dictating what can or cannot go in the iPhone. Controlling the iStore is ok, but requiring an application to be in the iStore to be installable goes against the law of free computing (to say the least ;). Granted iStore is a good and lucrative market place (hence the above score), but at what cost… to have your application judged useless or not good enough by some Apple gods? You spend couple months developing your application, and 6 fighting to get it on iStore?

    I think that Apple has successfully created a distortion field around itself that prevent its users to see natural light (because Apple’s lightning is so much better) and the market to objectively criticize them ;).

    Product quality should not be a substitute to user’s freedom… in my opinion ;)

    But again, I am not disagreeing that the iPhone is a reasoning success and this was probably a result of these strategic decisions. As a user, I will try to resist as long as the competitors provide some value added (i.e. Tethering, Open Platform), but I do not to exclude that one day, I might be jumping to the “light-side” as well.

    Note to myself: Now, I think that I really blew my chances to get an iPhone application on iStore… might be another reason why developers do not criticize Apple too much.

  9. Giochi iPhone Says:

    I’m a proud iPhone 3GS owner and I love it.
    Anyway, I had the opportunity to try out Android last week, and I was impressed. I hadn’t previously even used the thing, but a coworker has the G1 and I thought that overall it was an impressive system.

  10. zeitarbeit Says:

    I own 2 of them.

  11. zaztzz Says:

    For me, usefulness is still the most important. I’ll buy an iPhone to play, but I’ll still go back to win-mobile for serious use.

    Besides, I have already paid for a few dozens app bought over the last 6 years on win-mobile, I’m not going to spend money to get new ones since they still work well for me!