In the past 10 or so years smartphones have become cheaper, faster, powerful, and well ...smarter. If you're still using a dumb phone (oh and, a qwerty keyboard doesn't make a phone smart.It's just one of the best marketing buzzwords to get people to overpay for nearly useless devices in the past decade). I'm going to make a pretty bold statement here and claim that the first smart phone with powerful utility was blackberry. The problem for blackberry is that they didn't quite make it onto the touchscreen bandwagon. It seems blackberry hopped on for a moment and then fell off scraped it's knee, weeped for a moment and kept going with that same old small screen difficult-to-navigate-menu-bar-style-interface and brickylooking qwerty square.
Another and probably more recent contender is the windows 7 phone.. which actually having windows 7 in my pocket sounds cool but, I know next to nothing about these phones, haven't seen them in any near by stores, and I don't trust windows in this market, yet.
So this comes brings us down to android phones and well, the iPhone. Now before I go any further, I'm going to make nearly the same comment that I made about the PC Mac crapfest. Both iOS and Android (just like both OSX and Windows) can technically both do the same things. How you'd go about doing it, is what the difference is. One of the major points of confusion for a lot of people is what an android phone is. If I said "hey bro check out my sweet new iPhone." You'd know exactly what I was talking about. The only customization or variation in iPhones is the 'storage size', which I will tell you right now apple charges out the ass for on upgrades. On the other hand if I said "Hey check out my new Android Phone (which sounds really awkwardly worded and no one would ever say it like that) Most people wouldn't know what the shit you're talking about. Theres the same confusion a lot of people have with computers. A Mac is a mac is an apple is an apple, but a pc could be anything. In fact, schmucks probably roll over in their mind (HP, Dell, Windows, linux what's its, bestbuy, compuserv)
Since Android is an open source OS, nearly anyone and everyone has been loading it onto devices ranging from super awesome phones and tablets to (my personal favorite), the e-pad:
|The biggest joke going.|
Nice try Metro/Cricket.
This, coupled with a large amount of confusion that carriers generate with 3G and 4G* and dataplans and pay out the ass for unlimited everything plans... a schmuck upgrading from a dumbphone may wonder what's the point, or may try to just keep things simple and walk into a store and say "here is a blank check. Shitbox my bank account on a monthly basis and give me the best thing you have" or walk into an apple store and say "here is a blank check. Shitbox my bank account on a monthly basis and give me an iphone."
Here is what I would recommend doing. Ask yourself, and more importantly the customer service or sales rep at whatever carrier is screwing you over monthly's store, a few questions.
What do I want my phone to do?
-text a lot
-quick and easy web browsing
-sync calendars, contacts, and everything else
-facebook all day everyday
-listen to music
What is your current carrier, what phones do they have, how much are their dataplans, are you willing to switch carriers?
What exactly does unlimited mean to your carrier?
What matters to you:
Size of the screen
Camera and Video
Syncing with your computer
"Hey bro, this is all great and stuff but what about the iPhone"
When you stack an iPhone side by side with any other top comparable android powered phone (Droid, Evo, htc, ect) You aren't going to se major differences in video quality, performance, or call quality. Apps will run just as smooth as both, and any app on android market will either exist on the app store, or a decent alternative will exist. They'll cost about the same, and can pick one up for around $200 with a contract. The problem that I have with the iPhone is it's limitations. It still uses its unique apple style charger, where most android phones are using a generic usb. iOS is a very locked down system, and android, although not as free as promised is still a far cry more open than iOS. But, your typical user isn't going to care about how easy it is to unlock, root, jailbreak ect. a phone without bricking it.
What it comes down to is preference. If you want something simple that performs well and you probably wont brick unless you drop it in water. You know, so long as you don't buy it from an apple store.
If you feel like actually shopping, go with android. If you shop around you'll find something that fits your needs and you can end up saving a lot of money.