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Android handsets a poor man's iPhone, research claims


By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 9 Nov 2010 at 11:40

Android phones are really just a poor man's iPhone, according to research from mobile comparison site

Although sales of handsets using Google's Android operating system have soared over the past year, almost a third of Android owners still lust after Apple's iconic handset, with the main barrier to purchase likely to be price, the company said.

I think it’s telling that so many Android owners desire, yet don’t own an iPhone

“I think it’s telling that so many Android owners desire, yet don’t own an iPhone, which I believe points to price being the prohibitive factor,” said a spokesperson for MyPhoneDeals.

Only 7% of iPhone owners would consider switching to an Android handset, the research found.

Android lacked the desirability of its Apple rival, the research found, because the general public didn't understand Android as a brand and perceived that rival smartphone manufacturers were constantly playing catch-up with Apple.

A mere 16% of respondents said they'd like to own an Android phone, which is in sharp contrast to figures that suggest 40% of smartphones sold this quarter run the open operating system.

"Android still faces a lack of recognition among consumers, especially women," the spokesperson said. "For example, many consumers may want a HTC Desire HD, yet are unaware that it’s running Android software.

“I think the biggest problem Android-based smartphones face is that they’re constantly playing catch-up to the iPhone. Every time Apple does something new the competition follows which makes the iPhone always seem the most innovative product.”

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User comments

Why is this news...?

So unless I'm mis-reading the story, what you're saying is that people desire a phone (iPhone) over an operating system (Android).

I think if you'd asked people whether they would like an iPhone or an IOS phone, most people would say the former and wouldn't realise iPhone run IOS

Non-techy people don't really care what OS runs on their phone. If it looks and feels cool, then its desirable (look at the Motorola Razor success!)

By Chatan on 9 Nov 2010


The lack of recognition rather more points to most users not knowing - and caring even less - what the underlying software is called.

Apple has become well known due more to the iPod, followed by the iPhone hardware and the marketing campaigns that came with them, not because people thought "It's got iOS. Wow!".

By greemble on 9 Nov 2010

Samsung Galaxy S

Android has been running for a couple of years, did this survey include only those who bought an Android phone since iphone4s release? It's not really fair to ask a first generation Android user if they would like a newer phone with a newer OS. What a stupid survey! I would be intersted to know how many Samsung Galaxy S users would prefer an iphone...NOT ME!

By anthonysjones on 9 Nov 2010

Research eh?

I'm a bit worried that PCPro should label this as "research". Where is the source (couldn't find it on the cited site)? How many people were queried? When and how were they queried, at point of sale or something else? Come on guys - this is basic stuff. By all means label is as a survey but to call this activity "research" just makes you look like you don't have the first clue what you are talking about.

By Nodule on 9 Nov 2010


Until Apple allow Flash on the iPhone again I will sit happliy with my Desire and watch iPlayer

By EddyOS_2K9 on 9 Nov 2010


I totally concur, my desire is one of the best phones I have had since the nokia n95 (which also had flash applications on it).

I think the desire looks as good as the iPhone and it's open source!

Of course, it would be hard for Android as an OS to run a marketing campaign as they support hundreds of devices rather than a single device which is where apple and it's marketing campaign can work as it's one and the same!

By mjb3000 on 9 Nov 2010


Anyone who has ever used iTunes will know how vastly superior the Android OS is.
For instance, copying a movie on Android-plug in phone, drag and drop file.
On iTunes-plug in phone, wait for itunes to sync/backup, convert movie to correct format, use iTunes to find movie, then use itunes to transfer movie...but it doesn't just copy the syncs everything again.
iTunes= worst app in the world..tbh, I wouldn't mind getting an iphone if it didn't involve having to use iTunes.

By coljr on 9 Nov 2010

Poor man's iPhone?

According to the MyPhoneDeals website, their four highest-rated handsets are all incarnations of the HTC Desire. The next four most popular handsets are incarnations of the iPhone. This leads me to think that the Android-based Desire is a more popular, better value phone according to their own rating system. Which makes the iPhone over-priced? And not as popular?

By MikeTheRelic on 9 Nov 2010

Android is my CHOICE

I will admit that I was looking at the iphone when 3gs was looming... as I had an ipod 2gen ... however the restrictive dominance of itunes the way that it wants to tell you how to interface with your phone I find asphyxiating....(like my spelling)...Android is not a poor mans iphone - I consciously chose my desire and now await the HD version...due any day now, for one I am female we are not all technophobes... gave us options...whereas before it was you either used an iPhone or you suffered a Nokia... or used a blackberry for work..

By Pumper on 9 Nov 2010


Seeing as HTC Sync 3 now supports syncing with iTunes it does mean that should you want to use it you can...there's not a lot my Desire can't do, and all for free on contract.

Was an absolute no brainer, and HTC are really starting to come into their own. Adverts in bus stops and on TV...

Wonder if the Nexus Two will be as good now it's being built by Samsung*??

* Rumored

By EddyOS_2K9 on 9 Nov 2010

Real Research?

This is the type of 'research' that gets circulated through the press just to get publicity and webhits. Its totally pointless and lacks any merit.

By Duggie on 9 Nov 2010

PC Pro runs a story about an Apple PHONE being wonderful.

I take it the cheque from Cupertino cleared OK?

Am I the only one who thinks that PC Pro (if it can still be called that with a straight face) has lost its way?

I look forward to the magazine's relaunch as Apple'sPetBitches Pro.

By Lacrobat on 9 Nov 2010

Skoda is poor man's Merc!

Big Mac is poor man's fillet steak, &c, ad nauseum

By milliganp on 9 Nov 2010

What an utter pile of steaming......

As has been mentioned....where is the evidence behind all of this? A survey 'taken' by an unknown online phone retailer. Utter rubbish.

By everton2004 on 9 Nov 2010

Sorry, but my money is helping to pay for this nonsense

Why on earth do I still subscribe to this ever declining, on the border of complete and utter rubbish publication?

Lacrobat try Apple'sPetBiatches Pro instead.

By vikarmo on 9 Nov 2010


Got rung up this week to see if I wanted 3 issues for a £1 as my sub had expired, 'stories' like this make me glad I said no. Many of those who 'desire' an iPhone is because of hype and 'status', what a load of crap. They often have no knowledge about the os etc. Shame on PCPRO for sinking so low on even reporting this!

By softfun on 9 Nov 2010

Android phones playing catch up?

Maybe in terms of number of apps but the iPhone is the one that consistently has to catch up in terms of screen, camera, copy and paste. Even the first iPhone had to catch up on mobile broadband speed.

iPhone 4 was the first iPhone to have a flash ffs. Absolute crap to say that Android phones play catch up.

By windywoo on 10 Nov 2010


I too have let my pcpro subs elapse, this type of thing being the main reason.

By Sarcen on 10 Nov 2010

I am going

I too have finally decided not to renew my subscription to PCPro. I will subscribe to a one of the more professional computer magazines (If I can find one)

By BidAuto on 10 Nov 2010


Saying about until Flash is on the iPhone you'll continue watching iPlayer on your desire.

I decided to try out iPlayer on my iPhone and it works perfectly without Flash. Now what are you waiting for? you can go get one!!

By TimoGunt on 10 Nov 2010


Still use a Razr V3.It's old and battered but still the coolest phone out there.

By Jaberwocky on 10 Nov 2010

Thanks for the feedback

Thanks for all the feedback on this article - we do read all the comments posted on stories, good and bad.

For those of you attacking the standard of journalism, it's only fair to point out that I asked Stewart Mitchell to write this story.

I agree it's not the most copper-bottomed piece of research that's ever been conducted, but the site in question sells both Apple and Android handset deals, so there was no immediate reason to question its impartiality and I thought the conclusions of the survey (sample size of 524 for those who asked) were interesting and would kick off a healthy debate.

On reflection, perhaps the research wasn't of sufficient quality to justify a news story and I apologise to anyone who felt it dipped below the required standards.

Those of you who think we've taken a bribe from Apple to run the story should get together with the folks who claim we've taken a bung off Microsoft every time we run a story that's critical of Apple. You'll have one hell of a time.


Barry Collins
Deputy Editor

By Barry_Collins on 10 Nov 2010

If you want to excuse the article, there is no excuse for the headline. It conveys something which is utter tosh. This is one of the same purile debates that has ruined many people reading experiences over a long period of time - commodore vs Spectrum; Apple vs Microsoft now Aple vs Google.

Just report on things fairly rather than using sensationalist reporting for no reason other than to get peoples backs up. I read PCpro for alleged impartial reporting so that I can give good advice. This article just gives people false impressions and makes my advice look stupid, whereas it is the article that is stupid.

By Manuel on 10 Nov 2010

I just want a phone to make calls and send text messages

who really gives a stuff? phones are way too elaborate these days anyhow and eat battery power. I prefer my trusty old samsung E900 which still lasts a full week on a single charge and does what I need of it. People waste so much money over trivial material things it is insane.

By mr_chips on 10 Nov 2010

Android Marketing

@mjb3000, Microsoft don't make PCs but they still market Windows and they've just put a lot of effort into the launch of Windows Phone 7. Google is still a trusted brand so some vendor neutral promotion of Android would be a good thing. However the proliferation of Android versions and features still makes buying an Android phone (other than the top models) a little bit uneasy.

By milliganp on 10 Nov 2010


Despite occasionally getting wound up by articles on the website (where news is only new for a couple of hours), I still enjoy the mag as it provides longer articles and side by side reviews etc.

By milliganp on 10 Nov 2010


LOL @ the entirely predictable anti-apple hysteria.

By teecee90 on 10 Nov 2010

Totally agree

I regret selling my iPhone and getting a HTC Desire. Android is not quite polished enough for a user who just wants to use their phone. It is still very much geek territory I am afraid. Good but not quite there.

By SAF67 on 10 Nov 2010

Predictable trolling

@teecee90 - do you always label sentiments that prefer a non apple product as "anti-apple hysteria"? If I chose to go a restaurant other than McDonalds because I prefer it then would you call that "anti-McD hysteria"? Take your trolling elsewhere mate.

By Nodule on 10 Nov 2010

I just find it insulting, 'poor mans iphone', my butt. The 'Desire' is not even that cheap, but iTunes is awful. So why do you even go there, you know how much it winds readers up?

By softfun on 11 Nov 2010

Handsets overpriced

It is a fact that the majority of products are overpriced, something about the product name?

Look at the cost of Android products compared to many older OS such as Symbian phone, then look at the cost of Apple products and realise that these are again significantly more expensive than even Android phones.

No it isn't quality or innovation!

Steve Jobs once said of his products that as far as he was concerned, his customers should by his products and toss them in the bin after a year and then buy another!

Perhaps some of his deluded customers are actually following his philosophy.

That then might account for the fact that Apple has now accrued a Cash Reserve of - Pause for effect - $51 Billion (yes thats Billion not Million) over the last 10 years.

Now customers of other companies such as Banks and Oil companies are Outraged that these companies are making excessive profits and mistreating their customers, how then should Apple be treated when it is not only making excessive profits and returning handsome dividends but sitting on a bountyful sum of money.

I think Apple should be forced to drop it's prices and so to should every company that behaves in such a manner. They should only be allowed to survive the competative jungle if they produce products that are worthy of customers attention, and so far a lot of Apple's products fall well below the par for technologically advanced products!

By j_woolliscroft on 11 Nov 2010

Apple made a lot of money from the iPhone because it's well made, beautifully designed and functional. They were the first to make the touchscreen work truly intuitively, and they deserve to take credit for that.

However, iOS does enforce a huge number of limitations which just aren't an issuebfor those with

By Sushifiend on 11 Nov 2010

Apple made a lot of money from the iPhone because it's well made, beautifully designed and functional. They were the first to make the touchscreen work truly intuitively, and they deserve to take credit for that.

However, iOS does enforce a huge number of limitations which just aren't an issue for those with Android handsets. Android-based phones have had camera flashes and high resolution screens long before the iPhone had them.

The iPhone is now as much a fashion accessory as anything else, while Android is fast becoming the thinking man's smartphone.

By Sushifiend on 11 Nov 2010


Just a couple of minor corrections, not sure if you meant to say it, but Apple don't pay dividends.

Also, Apple along with almost every commercial enterprise HAS to produce 'products that are worthy of customers attention', otherwise people will not buy them.

Whether you consider their offerings to be worth the money is a matter of opinion (which, by the way I agree with you.
However, it seems that millions of others have a different opinion, thus Apple make lots of money.
It's simply not a question of 'allowing' them to survive. The price is set to an amount people are willing to pay, no-one is forced to buy from them.

By greemble on 11 Nov 2010

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