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Comparing the iPhone 4G and Droid Incredible

In the media frenzy surrounding the leak of the iPhone 4G, several voices have put forth the theory that Apple intentionally leaked the upcoming iPhone, months before it was scheduled to debut, in order to kill buzz about the recently announced Droid Incredible.

Apple and Google, maker of the Android operating system on the Droid Incredible, have had a precarious relationship lately. Was this Apple's attempt to steal attention from what some are calling the best Android phone on the market?

While the evidence points to the leak being a genuine accident, the story brings up an important question: "Will the iPhone 4G and the Droid Incredible be competitors?"

The Droid Incredible, coming out next week, will have a few months headstart on sales before the iPhone 4G comes out. If Apple follows its traditional iPhone update schedule, the iPhone 4G won't even be announced officially until June or July. The Incredible will appeal to those who like the Android OS, and anyone who has ever been tempted to buy any of the previous iPhones will be enamored with the 4G.

But for those who haven't made up their mind, here is a comparison of the iPhone 4G and the Droid Incredible, based upon what is currently known about the two phones.

The Android and iPhone operating systems will be more similar than ever due to the updates coming in iPhone OS 4 this summer. The iPhone's new interface will allow the creation of folders on the home screen and app multitasking, two advantages Android previously had over the iPhone. The Incredible will be running a special skin over the Android OS called HTC Sense that makes it easier to access features and information than the standard Android user interface.

The iPhone 4G will have full access to around 185,000 apps in the App Store. The Android system currently has less than 50,000 apps, though the number is increasing exponentially.

When it comes to actual hardware, the comparisons get a little bit shakier. The specs for the Droid Incredible are plainly displayed on the product announcement; however, the iPhone 4G specs are mostly educated guesses by Gizmodo, the tech news site that purchased the lost device for $5,000 and took a look inside.

For instance, the Droid Incredible has a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, one of the most powerful in mobile computing and much faster than the iPhone 3GS processor. However, some have speculated that the 1GHz A4 processor in the new iPad could have made its way into the iPhone 4G, offering much better competition to the Incredible. Gizmodo was unable to even view the processor during its inspection.

Some things are clear though. The iPhone 4G screen is "slightly smaller" than the 3GS screen, which definitely makes it smaller than the Droid Incredible screen (3GS screen is 3.5 inches, Incredible screen is 3.7 inches).

Yet the iPhone 4G screen might prove to be more impressive. Gizmodo said the iPhone 4G screen had a "much higher resolution than on a 3GS," speculating it could even have a 960x640 resolution. The Droid Incredible uses the same display as the Nexus One, which was universally praised by consumers for its spectacular screen. Still, the Incredible's resolution is 480x800, which could mean the iPhone 4G trumps it.

The Droid Incredible has an 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash, certainly impressive for a phone. However, the iPhone 4G has a trick up its sleeve that may appeal to many people: a front facing camera. The iPhone 4G still has a regular camera on the back (no word on megapixels), but the one on the front is a long-awaited feature for many iPhone users that will allow video calls, Skype over Wi-Fi for instance, and new app functionality.

The iPhone 4G battery is also nearly 20 percent larger than previous models. That means more battery life, though it's hard to tell how much. The iPhone 3GS is rated to last 5 hours of talk or Internet use over a 3G connection; the Droid Incredible also rates in at just over 5 hours of use. That means the iPhone 4G could have an advantage in battery life.

But the real kicker when comparing the Droid Incredible and the iPhone 4G is the carrier network. The iPhone 4G has a micro-SIM card slot, which means it cannot run on Verizon (the Incredible's carrier) and will likely run on the traditional iPhone carrier, AT&T. This is an important consideration for those who want Internet access via 3G because Verizon is widely recognized as having more 3G coverage and better 3G capacity than AT&T, especially in metropolitan areas.

Of course, other factors will play into the comparison when Apple reveals the full details for the iPhone 4G, price being one of the biggest factors potential iPhone buyers will be anxious to know. Stay tuned.