Smartphone face-off: iOS 5 vs. Android 4 vs. Windows Phone 7.5 vs. BlackBerry OS 7
Now that every major mobile platform has gained a substantial update, which smartphone is the best for business?Follow @MobileGalen
Support for 4G networks will be increasingly important as the coverage spreads across greater swaths of the country. Look to Verizon Wireless first for such availability, followed by Sprint. Beware AT&T's and T-Mobile's 4G claims; they misuse the label for marketing reasons to refer to their fast-3G networks, though AT&T is finally deploying real 4G (meaning LTE networks). I expect 2012's "iPhone 5" to support LTE, and Android devices such as the Galaxy Nexus already do so.
We may also see near-field communication (NFC) technology widely deployed, though right now there's not much you can do with this short-range wireless technology. A few of RIM's BlackBerry OS 7 devices support it, but only a few carriers have enabled it and most payment operators are still deciding whether to support it; the Galaxy Nexus and other Android devices ship with it, and Android 4 lets you use it to share URLs, contact information, and the like if you "bump" with another NFC-equipped Android 4 device. NFC can also be used to pay parking meters and interact with other payment terminals. The big questions are whether NFC will remain an "only within the platform" technology and whether Apple will join the NFC party or use low-power Bluetooth (already in the iPhone 4S) instead.
Android 4 made a good start to improving the interface, but it's still inconsistent. It has even introduced some new metaphors and inconsistently implemented them, so it has a ways to go to be a polished OS. Windows Phone 7 is proficient but can do little beyond social networking, and it's unclear whether Microsoft will try to make it a full-on platform like iOS or Android. Then there's BlackBerry OS, which is being replaced later this year with a new OS -- assuming RIM can finish the job, given its many delays and declining revenues.
I suspect through all this, the iPhone 4S and the forthcoming "iPhone 5" will remain the best smartphone.
Also on InfoWorld.com:
- Deathmatch: Apple iPad 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
- Deathmatch: Apple iOS 5 vs. Google Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" and 3.2 "Honeycomb"
- Beauty and the geek: Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" vs. Android 2.3 "Gingerbread"
This article, "Smartphone face-off: iOS 5 vs. Android 4 vs. Windows Phone 7.5 vs. BlackBerry OS 7," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in mobile computing, read Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog at InfoWorld.com, follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter, and follow InfoWorld on Twitter.
InfoWorld executive editor Galen Gruman analyzes the latest issues in mobile technology.
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Galen is author of iOS 7: The "Just What You Need" Book, OS X Mavericks: The "Just What You Need" Book, MacBook Pro Portable Genius, and iBooks Author For Dummies, as well as lead author of Exploring Windows 8 For Dummies. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen and at Google+.