These days we have the Android vs. iPhone wars. Which is better? It depends upon the metric applied to the war. Earth is filled with more Android smartphones than iPhones, yet it is Apple that reigns with revenue and profits. Does Android have an advantage over iPhone?
Coming to citizens of planet earth, sometime next year, is what should be called the highly disruptive 5G cellular service. 5G. Think 100 times faster than your iPhone or Android phone with 4G LTE. 100 times.
5G will be a game changer, right? Perhaps. Sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men do fail, and while I don’t expect 5G to be a failure, I do expect it will not become the successor to 4G LTE for many years.
One – the internet itself is not as fast, on average, as 4G LTE, so how will 5G speed up that which is already slower than my iPhone’s ability to download?
Two – 5G towers will not populate all of planet earth on day one. The roll out across the geography of the land will take years. Years.
Three – what about the price difference between 5G and 4G LTE? Cellphone companies charge for the bandwidth we use and 5G promises we can gobble up more bandwidth than ever. How will 5G access be priced?
Four – not every smartphone toting human on earth will buy a 5G capable smartphone right away. Many of us here in the U.S. have cellphone company plans and we upgrade every two to four years. If 5G could deliver the internet 100 times faster, that might be an incentive to upgrade. Since it will not deliver all of the internet 100 times faster (servers can only crank out webpages so fast) then what’s the point?
Five – it is unlikely that all smartphone makers will have 5G capability in their phones when 5G launches. Some think differently and assume that Android will beat iPhone to the market. Luke Dormehl:
Android will have a big advantage over iPhone in 2019
Some Android smartphone makers will launch 5G phones in 2019. Some will not. Word on the streets is that iPhone will not.
Does it matter? Let’s read the fine print.
Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon says that by this time next year, the market will be flooded with 5G Android phones.
Every Android vendor is working on 5G right now.
So is Apple.
When we get to exactly this time of year one year from now… we will see every [handset maker] on the Android ecosystem, their flagship across all U.S. carriers will be a 5G device
Did you catch the fine print? “Flagship.” And, “one year from now” which is to say probably in 2020. Amon’s statement would seem to indicate that 5G will arrive on flagship models first, then the rest of the product line at some point later; ostensibly, 2020. I’m thinking Samsung Galaxy-whatever models sometime next year.
So what? Galaxy customers with 5G access still have the same issues enumerated above and it’s likely that coverage will be anemic for most of 2019 and for a few years afterwards. Apple, notoriously conservative about such technology jumps, may wait for 5G until 2020.
By holding off for a while, Apple avoids the early problems with adopting these networks — most notable spotty coverage.
However, it loses out on being able to offer the latest exciting innovation.
Yes, the latest exciting innovation that will be available only on the most expensive iPhone competitors, running on a network with spotty coverage, pulling down the internet at speeds where 5G won’t make a difference because 4G LTE already doesn’t make a difference.
Android smartphone makers might have some early bragging rights for early adopters, but this is a story we’ve heard before, so I do not expect Apple to worry much about it. After all, Microsoft, while touting its lame Surface Go tablet hybrid, says iPads are for children even when they benchmark faster than any Microsoft Surface device, and even while Apple sells about 10 times as many iPads.
Sometimes what you read is not a reflection of reality. 5G will be fast. But it won’t be any faster than a website’s ability to deliver content, and won’t have nationwide coverage for a few years. So, how is it that Android has an advantage over iPhone?