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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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Yes, these stereotypes were true in the past, but will be out of date very shortly. Because there is an important factor that is being missed in this article -- the well groomed, normal-sized-head, successful men, the ones not on iPhone and not on Android.

They were all on BlackBerry until now, using phones supplied by their office for law, business, engineering, etc. All of these former BB users are as of this year moving over to Android as companies give up on RIM and Google picks up the slack -- Apple is far more hostile to things like corporate email and customizing the UI compared to Android, plus some business users still feel they need the physical keypad, something that you can get on certain Android models but not on iPhones.

My own firm was BB from the very beginning but just put every employee onto one of four Android models. Believe me, these stereotypes about users are very quickly going to move from Facebook-Myspace (i.e. classy vs trashy) to Apple-Microsoft (hip vs business).

True the cycle is getting much, much faster! You sound like you know a lot about this stuff. Not to ask the obvious but why are you ditching blackberry? 

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