June 3, 2010 | by Ed Clark
OK, we’ve all seen those iPhone commercials that seemingly pop up during every commercial break on every TV show. And if an iPhone user is around, watch out! You will be called on to demonstrate that the amazing capabilities shown on the TV set are not so unique to Apple’s #1 moneymaker after all. If you’re like me, you have also had to deal with friends with iPhones at nearly every social event trying to prove that your Android phone can’t: 1) be a lightsaber (Android equivalent: The Schwartz Unsheathed), 2) be a lighter (Android equivalent: iLightr – Virtual Lighter, many others) or 3) tell you the components of the drink you’re holding (Android equivalent: Bartender, many others).
The Apple marketing machine is truly amazing, and Steve Jobs and Co. deserve huge props for convincing half of the world that their phone is the only one that can do all of those things. However, I’ve had enough. Today, I’m starting a new column to do the marketing work that Android carriers and manufacturers haven’t done (with the exception of Verizon’s Droid). My plan is to go through each iPhone commercial, name the apps displayed, and identify corresponding Android apps with the same functionality. If I get it wrong, let us all know. If there is a better version or a cheaper app, tell us.
iPhone Ad #1: “Family Man”
Today’s iPhone Commercial is titled “Family Man,” released just a few weeks ago. (“Apps from App Store. Sequences shortened.”) Cue the cutesy music:
Doing it the Android Way
OK, first we have the guy looking at pictures and a video from his collection. Hmm, how about the built-in Gallery app? Use the built-in Camera app to make a movie of your daughter eating watermelon.
Next, the guy clicks “App Store” (Try Android Market), and looks through cooking apps, settling on “20 Minute Meals – Jamie Oliver”. The price isn’t shown, but this app costs a hefty $7.99 on Apple’s App Store. For the Android equivalent, I am going with Favorite Recipes, which has 4 stars, over 250,000 downloads, and is free. Not to mention there’s Epicurious.
The next app shown is “Elmo’s Monster Maker” ($3.99) which is good for young children on family trips (at least, so says the guy in the commercial). I found the Sesame Street Puzzle: Jigsaw app (1000-5000 downloads, 5 stars, free) on the Market, but it’s not as cool. Add on Barcode Beasties (50,000-250,000 downloads, 4 stars, free) for some epic fighting action between random items with barcodes in your minivan, and I call this one even. My kids love Barcode Beasties.
The last app, “Viper Smartstart,” looks pretty cool at first glance. It locks/unlocks your car, opens your trunk, and can remote start your vehicle. And the app is free. Wow!
But wait…if you don’t have a “compatible Viper system,” you have to pay $499+ (“$499 and up”) to get one installed. If you do have an existing system, you still have to pay $299 to add Smartstart capability. After the first year, you get to pay $29.99 for each year of service ($49.99 in Canada). Whew. I’ve got a better idea. Get a remote starter installed at Best Buy and use your key fob instead. This will cost you a lot less ($150 and no annual contract), and you’ll probably need actual keys to drive your vehicle anyway.
There you have it: Android’s “Family Man.”