Apple iPhone 4 vs. Motorola Droid X: The Aftermath

in Digital Marketing Strategy & Trends | by Guest Author

Previous head-to-head comparisons*,2817,2365639,00.asp,review-1558.html

*I’ll save you 10 minutes of your life: after playing around with the phones, the reviewers state the winner comes down to personal preferences. The technical specs and pricing comparisons of the iPhone 4 and Droid X are simply too close to call. However, now that both phones are in the hands of consumers, has a clear winner appeared?

iPhone 4
Developments since its June 7th, 2010 debut:

– June 24. Apple officially recognizes a major antenna issue.
“Apple has finally acknowledged that the way you hold the iPhone 4 can hinder the device’s cellular reception. Complaints about weakening or disappearing signals when the iPhone 4 is gripped in a particular way–usually by touching two seams of the antenna band on the exterior of the phone simultaneously–began popping up late Wednesday night, and continued to appear Thursday.” [Via CNET]

– July 12. Consumer Reports refuses to recommend the iPhone 4 to consumers.
“The iPhone scored high, in part because it sports the sharpest display and best video camera we’ve seen on any phone, and even outshines its high-scoring predecessors with improved battery life and such new features as a front-facing camera for video chats and a built-in gyroscope that turns the phone into a super-responsive game controller. But Apple needs to come up with a permanent—and free—fix for the antenna problem before we can recommend the iPhone 4.” [Via Consumer Reports]

– July 16. Steve Jobs offers a free “bumper” to iPhone 4 owners to resolve the antenna grip issue.
“Jobs announced during the iPhone 4 press conference Friday that every iPhone 4 user will get a free Apple Bumper to help mitigate antenna problems. This will apply to every user worldwide who buys an iPhone through September 30. iPhone 4 owners who have already purchased one of the $30 bumpers will get a full refund. Users who don’t like the bumper solution and are still unhappy with the iPhone can bring it back for a full refund instead.” [Via Ars Technica]

Droid X
Developments since its July 15th, 2010 debut:

– July 15. Updating to the latest Android OS cripples the phone.
“So maybe you want to buy the Droid X and load Android 2.2 yourself. Because Google, another bastion of American tech innovation, has this fantastic, newer, faster, better version of its operating system…not crummy old Android 2.1, the OS preloaded on the Droid X. Motorola is telling you—maybe its most ardent customer base—don’t even think about loading Android 2.2. Don’t even think about messing with the phone’s drivers or firmware. If you do this, we will break your phone.” [Via Gizmodo]

– July 16. Motorola releases a statement in response to the OS issue.
“In reference specifically to eFuse, the technology is not loaded with the purpose of preventing a consumer device from functioning, but rather ensuring for the user that the device only  runs on updated and tested versions of software. If a device attempts to boot with unapproved software, it will go into recovery mode, and can re-boot once approved software is re-installed.” [Via MOTODev]

– July 19. Motorola releases an OTA software update.
“That over-the-air firmware update that rolled out to early Droid X units in the field prior to the launch seems to be trickling out to retail units now, and along with that news comes a surprisingly long changelog.” [Via Engadget]

It’s been a rough month for Apple’s PR team, but not necessarily iPhone 4 users. While everyone focuses on Steve Jobs’ next move, it’s unclear how many users are actually experiencing these iPhone 4 issues. Some users are skeptical of the big hubbub, while others are stumped. At the end of the day, many of the antenna issues can be traced back to AT&T network issues, which further complicates the situation.

It’s been less than a week since the Droid X came out and we’ve seen inherent software issues that inhibit phone performance. While Engadget states installing the Froyo (version 2.2) update of Android onto the Droid X would leave you with “perhaps the best Android phone ever made”, attempting to follow through on that version 2.2 simply locks out the phone until 2.1 is reinstalled. Even though Verizon’s July 19th update makes a series of improvements, it’s still not the same as a Froyo install – you’ll have to wait until August for that.

So, ladies and gentlemen, we have yet another undecided verdict. While it’s unclear which phone is outshining its competitor in the real world, it’s clear that both Motorola and Apple are battling tooth and nail to win the hearts of consumers. Both phones are beautifully designed and technical marvels. While issues arise, the manufacturers are scrambling to provide fixes. At the end of the day, either one of these phones will beat the one you have in your pocket.

Have you got an iPhone 4 or Droid X? Let’s hear about your experience so far.

  • It’s interesting how momentum eventually stalls for the most successful companies. Microsoft’s momentum stalled over 5 years ago. Yahoo stalled at about the same time. Wonder if this might market a top in Apple’s popularity. The droid x is a great product on Verizon. That combined with some technical glitches by Apple might signal a peak of popularity for Apple.