Are you an iPhone or an Android?

A manager holds an Apple iPhone (L) and Motorola's Droid smartphone (R). Are you an iPhone or an Android?

Kai Ryssdal: First things first as we turn to the technology news of the day and the big Apple conference that got going in San Francisco this morning: No iPhone 5 yet. There are gonna be new some MacBooks. And, as rumors had it, new software that kicks Google Maps to the curb.

That might actually be the most interesting story in mobile technology right now, the Hatfield and McCoy feud between Apple and Google. Which is to say between the iPhone and smartphones using Google's Android operating system.

Marketplace's Queena Kim reports it's as much culture as it is technology.

Queena Kim: Remember those old TV commercials about Mac and PC. Mac’s the easygoing, cool guy in the T-shirt, jeans and sneakers.

Mac Commercial: Hello, I’m a Mac.

And PC’s the pudgy, pasty guy in the ill-fitting sports coat, khakis and loafers.

Mac Commercial: And I’m a PC.

Well this tech boom, there’s a similar culture war emerging in big cities across America, only this one is about smartphones. And Apple has a new rival, Google’s Android. In the U.S., Android has about 50 percent of the market while iPhone has around 30.

I went out to observe the warring tribes in their urban habitat in Berkeley.

Sonia Balcazar: I almost assume that everyone has an iPhone and then when they don’t, I’m surprised.

Kim: And what’s runs through your mind when they don’t have an iPhone?

Balcazar: That they’re not cool or they can’t afford it.

Sonia Balcazar is an adminstrative assistant and actress. She’s with her boyfriend Alex Garcia, who’s an Android user. And this is causing a little tension. Garcia says iPhone users, they sorta act like they’re in a cult.

Alex Garcia: It’s a little too much I don’t want to develop a friendship with my phone where my phone is like my new girlfriend.

Kim: And what do you think of Android users?

Garcia: What, who? There are still Android users?

You can’t blame her for falling for Garcia. He’s 30, storybook-tall, dark and handsome and in a stylish designer-looking suit -- which according to one marketing study, doesn’t fit the profile of your typical Android user. Android users are huge among teens and and the guys live in T-shirts, jeans and sneakers.

While ethnographers have yet to publish the definitive study on the Android and iPhone users, anecdotally, I’ve observed that iPhone users are more partisan.

For more insight into the Android user, I turned to John Gargiulo, the head of marketing for Blue Stacks. It’s a start up that caters to Android users and so part of his job is to understand them.

John Gargiulo: If you’re standing in Muncie, Ind., you’re more likely to be surrounded by people using Android devices.

Gargiulo says that the average Android users lives in the heartland, isn’t as affluent as the iPhone user and that more men use Androids than women.

Gargiulo: Politically more conservative -- certainly more than iPhone users. with a slighty larger than average head, according to what they’ve reported.

Kim: Can you spot an iPhone user?

Gargiulo: Ugh, you can try but...

Kim: No, but can you?

Gargiulo: Oh can I? If here’s a 27 -year-old, beautiful, super-stylish girl sitting by the pool in Palm Springs, chances are she has an iPhone.

And looking at Gargiulo’s head, which was pretty normal, I figured out he’s an iPhone user.

In San Francisco, I’m Queena Kim for Marketplace.

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.
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I heard this piece tonight on my way home from work and a little shopping. I have to admit, at first I expected a totally different type of story. What I expected to hear was a piece reflecting on the amazing boom in use the Android OS has experienced, or maybe why both iOS and Android are more popular than Windows or BlackBerry these days. What I did not expect was to hear a young woman talking about how people without iPhones aren't cool or are too broke to afford one. I found the story to be ignorant and one-sided, and my opinion of Marketplace was negatively impacted. I am one of many Android users who prefer my phone without training wheels and find the whole i-lifestyle to be a bit much. Maybe next time, you should try seeing things from another perspective (and put down your iPhone).

Hey J'Marie - Thanks for writing in and sorry you feel that way. Not to make excuses but due to technical difficulties there was a sound element left out that signaled that the piece was supposed to be jokey but maybe the joke just wasn't funny? But more to the point, how do you know I have an iPhone? 

Yes, I've heard there are still some of you around.... (haha) Seriously, thanks for writing and just curious, are you in tech? 

I own an android and love the ease of usability of the android os and the fact that I don't have to log into androidtunes to change or add an app. I have an isheep phone 4 from work because I have to support users iphones. In a side by side comparison I much prefer android for the following reasons.
1. when you pinch or stretch text in web pages android resizes to fit the screen iphone makes me move the page back and forth.

2.the one button on iphone just isn't versatile enough, android gives me home, back, and property buttons.

however the iphone does a couple things well the keyboard works a little better than the one on my android, SIRI on the 4s works a little better than the android alternatives, but these are but slight things in the big sceme of things. Besides a lot of iphone users (iSheep) seem kinda snobbish and douchie.

Which brings me to my last point BTW Marketplace when are your lazy developers going to get off their butts and create an Android app I've been waiting for TEN MONTHS, it's just javascript not some obscure programming language like objectiveC. Come on really?

bah... i mean thanks for commenting! 

I'm a Symbian user. So where does this leave me? I might describe Symbian people as a bit old school, perhaps a little geeky, likely utilitarian, and not swayed by whatever popular culture tells them they should own. And I'm totally cool with that.

That sounds like what I was going to say about the subset of Jailbroken iPhone users. I'll take the prettiness and ease of use of iPhone, but I will not submit to their "walled-graden." I would not own an iPhone if I couldn't hack it and use absinthe and Cydia. I guess that's very geeky, not just a little.

Me too. Soooo much better than any iphone.


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