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Android for boys; iOS for girls

Are Androids from Mars and iPhones from Venus? We find out the truth behind smartphones

Image Credit: Agency
GN Focus

There are several unanswered questions when it comes to deciding on what makes for the perfect smartphone.

If you are the resident tech-whiz in your circles, then you have had your fair share of questions: Android or iOS? Windows or BlackBerry? Qwerty or touch screen?

These are questions that have kept the tech world buzzing and we try to answer them as best as we can. We take a look at the three major players in the field, and ask smartphone fanatics what attributes make them appeal to each team.

For Him

What men want from an iPhone

Nothing much actually, considering that true men, I hear, should be seen with Androids and not iPhones. The iPhones were more of a "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" scenario — everyone has them so why shouldn't I? Sure, there are exceptions. There are a bunch of us who expressed our shock at the new iPhone 4's price, swearing that we would never buy it, while secretly waiting for the price to fall. Adrian Brown, a 25-year-old salesman who picked up an iPhone 4 when prices dropped says, "There was no doubt that I wanted it. It's an amazing platform to use and is perfect for work and play."

Buy this phone if you are app-obsessed.

What men want from a BlackBerry

The BlackBerry is a briefcase-carrying phone in a business suit from nine to five. How many of us tinker around with the phone outside business hours? Teenagers are glued to their BBs thanks to its messenger, and adults are glued to them thanks to their emails. RIM has tried to take the fight to its rivals with its foray into the full touch screen phone market with their 9860, which was met with mixed reactions as many people opted for their Qwerty handsets instead. Simplicity and efficiency is the key. As long as the battery lasts and the costs for data packages remain low, BlackBerrys will always have a very special place in our pockets. Logistics professional Sebastian Skariah, 26, loves his little Blackberry. "My phone keeps me connected all the time — the data plans are not as expensive compared to the other smartphones, and you easily stay within your bandwidth limit. I can constantly keep up to date with the latest football scores as well."

Buy this phone if you are work-obsessed.

What men want from an Android

Now an Android is the coolest portable gadget to own. Several informative (and hilarious) YouTube videos on Androids V iPhones support my claim. The phone is surprisingly masculine, and studies and surveys have proven that men prefer Androids and women prefer iPhones. I guess understanding the technicalities and the functioning of Android phones are similar to driving a car with a manual transmission — a few women do it, however not many prefer it.

"Androids are awesome!" proclaims media professional Rohit Bedekar, 27, a die-hard Android fanatic. "Nothing can compare, you can truly explore your phone and make it your own. Androids are limitless — you can customise your themes and the Android market is quite impressive with several free apps."

Well the best way to a man's heart is through his stomach and with OS names such as Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich, how can we not love it?

Buy this phone if you are technology-obsessed.

For her

What women want from an iPhone

Want to comparison-shop? Or make your life clutter-free? And count calories while at it? ‘Appy' days are here again. After all, there's no such thing as too many apps. And though Siri cannot tell you the directions to any location here in the UAE, other features such as smooth browsing through Safari, an easy-to-use interface, addictive and fun games such as Angry Birds and capabilities for multitasking mean that this is one phone that's definitely worth your hard-earned cash.

Twenty-something sales specialist Sidra Afzal is completely in love with hers. "It's sophisticated, and it's beautiful. It's just so easy to get to the essentials. I also have access to some amazing accessories — such as the recent Swarovski cover I bought for my phone. And social networking is just made so easy.

"One problem I have with the iPhone is that there is no app for Google Talk, something the BlackBerry has, which means I cannot run the chat in the background and receive push notifications. Also, the battery life really annoys me a lot of the times. And I can definitely do with more colour options! But I am going to ignore these glitches till the next phone is released."

Buy this phone if you are accessory-obsessed.

What women want from a BlackBerry

RIM's BlackBerry has dominated the corporate world until now. And no product in the market can yet compare to the BlackBerry messenger. Apple promised a revolutionary service with the iMessage, but this feature has failed to excite many users due to its integration with SMS. BlackBerrys excel at communication, and their non-complicated interface has increased personal productivity. Besides, the high level of security and dependability means that this phone is a winner all the way.

Sales professional and BlackBerry-obsessed student Karren Sarah Simon, 23, vouches for the phone. "I own a BlackBerry for both professional and personal usage. I use it for work, as it has mastered the most important part — email. Almost everyone in my office, from the CEO to the sales executive, uses a BlackBerry. It's just so easy to do business with, compared to other phones. I feel BlackBerry is the best for communication activities and I love the fact that it keeps me connected with my loved ones whenever I want. The BlackBerry is the only device that has a dedicated messenger portal i.e. the BBM. Moreover they're more rugged in nature, which means that they can sustain the abuse I inflict upon them. I have an old Bold held together with sticky tape. Try doing that with an iPhone."

Buy this phone if you are messaging-obsessed.

What women want from an Android

Price-driven? Tick. Aspiration-driven? Not so much. Google's Android operating system hasn't been around for that long, but has pushed away a lot of women users due to its focus on hardware over software. A survey published by Nielsen revealed that women were more interested in the iPhone and its iOS operating system (31 per cent to 23 per cent) while men preferred Android phones over the iPhone (33 per cent for versus 29 per cent). The customisable features make Android-based phones more attractive. Android is open source, which creates flexibility. Besides, the operating system can be found on a variety of phones, creating more choice. But Android has definitely struggled due to the emphasis on technical specifications versus daily operation ease.

Mobile phone manufacturer INQ's CEO Frank Meehan recently said that a girl today "doesn't have an Android phone. She has no emotional attachment to an Android phone. It's too complicated. It's a geek device, it's all wrong." His sentiments seem to be echoed by a lot of women in the UAE.

Purchase administrator Nandini T.S., 28, agrees. "I want a phone that does not require me to pore over a manual for days before I can switch it on. At least, that's the impression I get when I hear about Android devices. At the end of the day, if a phone tries to target me with their ‘dual-core processor' I'm not going to be impressed. I'm looking for the experience, not for geeky fancy algorithms. But Android is Google — and we all know that Google can do anything. All the Google apps are easily available with Android phones. I'm pretty sure that in a few more years Android will have upped their game."

Buy this phone if you are Google-obsessed.