Apple iPhone Will Take Market Share from Android
Android's share rises as new phones are introduced, and over time it continues to gain share, because its phones cost less. But when the product introduction front is quiet, Apple quietly takes some share back.
The reason, I think, comes down to two words: battery life. Apple cares about it.
The folks at iFixit have done teardowns on both the iPhone 5 , which many friends already own, and the Google Nexus 4 , which I own. Both have specialized Qualcomm power management chips. Most iPhone chips are on two sides of a single logic board, while those on the Nexus cover a larger, L-shaped board.
Last year's iPhone 5 uses a solid Lithium-ion battery that runs at 3.8 volts and has 1440 milli-amperes/hour (mAh) of charge. The more mAh in a battery, the longer it will usually take to discharge. The power drain is listed on the iPhone battery at 5.45 watt-hours (wH).
The Nexus 4 has a battery pack sealed in aluminum, made by LG, but its watt-hour drain is not listed. It too has 3.8 volts and a charge of 2100 mAh. So the Nexus 4 battery should last longer between charges.
But it doesn't.
There are three main causes for a phone's data battery drain the Global Positioning System module, which knows where you are; the WiFi module, whose radio rains data when you're near a hotspot; and software, especially multi-tasking, keeping several programs running at once.
The GPS is the biggest energy hog. My first Android, a Galaxy 2, would drain the battery on GPS even when plugged-in to my 6 Volt car battery, making it useless. The Nexus 4 is a little better, but you still need to plug it in when you're seeking directions unplugged mine runs for under two hours on GPS.
The WiFi chip is the second-biggest energy hog. A Qualcomm app called BatteryGuru limits this drain on my Nexus, turning the WiFi finder off when not in active use. But this means you have to turn WiFi back on each time you want to use a hotspot, even at home. My daughter's iPhone can run all day on WiFi.
None of this is discussed much in the mainstream media, because battery life is measured in terms of "talk hours," a phone's use as a phone, rather than in how it does with data communications. But how these applications drain a phone, and how a phone handles applications, makes a big difference in its usefulness as a computer which is what a smartphone is.
Apple's iOS came to multi-tasking later than Android, but does it more elegantly. When a task isn't in active use, iOS will back off it, reducing its drain on the battery.