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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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And then there are those of us who actually *like* the new Nokia 900 Windows phone. It's a shame that Nokia is hitting the skids, because they've really come up with a nice product. (Wish they had come out with it a year ago.) I've long been a geek, but as a true geek, will never buy into any stereotypes. When they first came out, I loved the Palm phones. Does this mean I just pick losers? Maybe. Or maybe I just choose phones that work best for me. I want a phone that I can use to pull up my grocery list or to use as a mobile hotspot! I was disappointed in this particular Marketplace piece because it assumes that there is this either/or world of phones out there. And one of Marketplace's hallmarks is in not 'assuming' things! (Well, generally they don't.)

My blackberry battery lasts for days and it's always on. OS 7 can use both android and iphone apps as well as blackberry apps.

I've had BlackBerry (first work issued phone), iPhone (personal) and now an Android (new work issued phone). I have to say I much prefer the Android - it's an HTC EVO.

My BB never kept charge and it had a licensing fee for Outlook which was what sealed it's fate for my employer. Horrible browsing and apps. I am glad to be rid of it.

My iPhone was one of those - hey that looks cool - purchases. I've gone through 3 in less than 6 months due to hardware issues. I'm not keeping this phone.

I love my Android. I have the same apps as I do on my iPhone, some for free that were pay for the iPhone and the apps are faster & require fewer swipes/clicks to get the same job done. My Android also holds a charge much longer than my iPhone and BB.

An iPhone may be hip and cool but I'll take my easier to use, faster with better voice Android any day. Only issue for me will be picking an unlocked version to use so I don't have to chain myself to a carrier.

I am an Android user (HTC Evo 4G LTE from Sprint) however I can totally see the appeal of the iPhone. If I'm being totally honest, the primary reason I choose to stay with Android is simply because most people I know and work with use iPhone and I don't like to follow the crowd.

iPhone is a great device that "just works" and works perfectly for most users. However, the iPhone feels more like an appliance to me. This is analogous to automobiles, yes the Toyota Camry is a great, affordable, reliable car, but it's boring as hell. Any automotive enthusiast wouldn't mind their wife driving a Camry but probably has something a lot more "fun" that he drives to work.

I must admit, when I do find someone else with an Android I feel like "Yes! Someone else is brave enough to be different!"

I've heard the same thing from other Android users, it's like the must have accessory is so ubiquitous it's not special anymore. Now it's not having it that's special!

Hi Kai-
I'm perfectly happy with both my LANDLINE (POTS) and my DESKTOP (non-apple) computer, both do what I want and not what some marketer or publicist (and this can include anyone) tells me I need ...oh BTW, FYI my hat size is 71/4.

Well, of COURSE iPhone users have bigger heads. Du-uh!

Much as I LOVE marketplace, this story kind of p"d me off
I mean, forget the cool -
of course the iphone is cool but how about the politics?
The reason I didn't get an iphone when it came out?
at & t PAC donated more $ to re electing Bush than any other wireless company besides verizon
The reason I didn't get an iphone when verizon offered?
verizon & at & t PACs donated more to McCain over Obama, than any other wireless companies.
Just didn't seem cool to fork over my $200 - $300 a month in cell phone fees to have the cool phone,
knowing where the $ goes, that's all.

@sunnydays:

There are so many things to worry about when you buy stuff these days! Oh, the moral dilemmas! Can we buy into Facebook if we think that one of their big guys left the country to avoid taxes? Can we buy things from Google, knowing that they read our email and that Carrier IQ is watching our phones? Can we buy a Compaq product if we believe that the main reason Carly bought them was to pad her own pockets? Can we buy Apple products knowing that they have shipped their manufacturing overseas, and, like a fundamentalist religion, tell us there is only one path and all others are evil? Can we buy from Pizza Patron knowing that they allow customers to use pesos and to ask for free pizza in something other than (gasp!) English?

Personally, I know I can rest easy at night, having purchased many products from Microsoft, knowing that my purchases have, in some small way, contributed to the good that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is doing.

Maybe somebody will come up with an app that will let you do a background check on everybody associated with a product before you buy. Companies sure collect a lot of information about customers these days, so it only seems fair...

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