For people like me this is a choice of which first, because I know that I would definitely use more than one type. And currently I own three of the four types: iPhone, Android and Windows.
My first smartphone was android: HTC Dream. It was also the first android phone made. I bought it in 2009 or 2010, can't clearly remember. It was like owning a pocket PC. It had a full QWERTY physical keyboard and I used it like a computer. I filled job application forms on it, blogged from it and geo-tagged everywhere I went (using Foursquare and Gowalla). I bought it purely for it's PC-like functionality. I don't think there is any other phone I have used as intensely as it.
My second smartphone was a Blackberry. In 2011/2012. Now it sounds funny, but I bought it only because of the BBM. I was made an Executive at the Toastmasters Club I'm a member of and our executive meetings were often done via BBM group chat. So I had to buy a Blackberry phone. It was the most troublesome phone I have used. That damned hourglass and the constant freezing. It got hot real quick, in a few minutes of intensive use. There was nothing genuinely smart about the phone. But nowadays, things have greatly changed. Blackberry phones are now sleek and fast, no more hourglass and constant freezing. The only problem is that they are just not as popular as before. But if you need a smartphone your mum and dad can use, you should pick Blackberry over Android and iPhone, especially the Blackberry with physical keys.
My third smartphone was another android. The Samsung Galaxy S2. In 2012. It was very expensive, even after waiting for the price to crash I still bought it for N66,000. And that was a big chunk of my salary. I thought I could use it like the HTC Dream but it disappointed me. I soon found out that android phones are not upgrade friendly and become much less useable real fast. If you are not a fan of getting a new phone every 2 years or less, and you want a phone that you can be sure will retain all its smartness for over 2 years then forget about android phones.
My fourth smartphone was an iPhone. My most expensive phone. In 2014. Even though I bought it used online, it still caused me about N90,000 and that was before Naira took up it's skiing hobby. But it has been most useable smartphone. Everything it does, it does well. Not a single thing to complain about. iPhone is more about giving you a great experience than just hardware specs and functionality. My android phone can do all that my iPhone does but not in the smooth enjoyable way the iPhone does them. So if you really want a smartphone you'll be extremely happy with and money is not a big issue, iPhone is what you should go for.
And my last smartphone was a Windows phone. I bought it mainly for testing the Windows phone apps I develop. But I did use it a little. It is not as popular as the other types and have not many apps you can install on it. It is, however, very easy to use. Does all it does well too. I see older people use it. They look great, both outside and inside. If you give your tech savvy dad a high-end one you can be sure he'll be very happy with it.
So my conclusion is this:
- Buy an iPhone if you want the best smartphone experience and willing to spend big bucks (but don't buy an 8GB iPhone, it's like buying a Ferrari tricycle -- if it exists-- that space limitation will make you not enjoy it).
- Buy an android phone if you want functionality and hardware specs. And are geeky enough to max them out.
- Buy Blackberry if you want sleekness and ease of use. And now that it can run android apps, you are not limited app-wise. (Only make sure you buy the new models).
- Buy Windows phone if you want a good looking phone, value for money and ease of use; but don't mind the app limitation.