Your daily dose of technology

Android versus iPhone

While most articles on the Internet are biased towards one platform or the other, I shall try & provide an unbiased view (being an Android user myself. 😉 )

The Android OS deploys on excellent hardware manufactured by different companies like HTC, Samsung, Google(Nexus One & Nexus S), Motorola etc. iOS(the latest being iOS 4.3), on the other hand is property of Apple. The hardware, too is manufactured by Apple. In short, it’s a typical Apple product.
We can criticize Android & iPhones from innumerable angles. But, what most tech websites do, is give you an average user’s view-point of using the phone. What I am going to do is give y’all an in-depth analysis into both phones(or at least, try to) –

EASE OF USE– Android has performed spectacularly well in a short amount of time. But, from the ease-of-use aspect, the iPhone wins hands-down. An Average Joe can pick up an iPhone & learn how to use it within a few minutes. Everything is consisted of tapping application icons from the main screen. Android devices, on the other hand, have lots of buttons on the device which perform an array of functions. As soon as the screen is unlocked, you are given a plethora of home-screens. ONE point to the iPhone.

Gaming- With the iPhone, Apple introduced a whole new genre of gaming. Android simply tread upon that. So, SECOND point to the iPhone.

Battery Life– Most iPhone(3GS and 4) users I know constantly whine about battery life.  Though Apple has taken battery life extremely seriously for the iPhone’s development, they have failed miserably. Leaving cellular data on reduces battery life a lot. Most iPhone users get about 8-10 hours of usage out of their precious iPhones. A simple Google search for ‘how to increase my iPhone’s battery’ will tell you to switch off most of the features which make an iPhone a smartphone. Android batteries(mine, at least) last for about a day & a half, which is quite surprising considering the amount of features that are packed into Androids. ONE point for Android.

Platform Openness- Since the Android platform is based on a modified version of the Linux kernel, it is completely open-source. The operating system is important, but one thing is absolutely crystal clear, it’s the applications which make the phone. Apple doesn’t allow installation of third-party developers i.e.- developers who aren’t on the App Store. By allowing third-party developers to develop for the Android Market, Google has created a whole new empire for themselves. TWO-all.

Multitasking- Apple has received a lot of flak for their ‘multitasking’. In Apple’s method of multitasking, all system resources are available to all applications(thus, consuming more resources). The Operating System acts like Big Brother to show favoritism to some tasks and less preference to others, as needed. And, Apple has just recently introduced multitasking in iOS 4. Previously, Androids & BBs were the few phones to have multitasking. On Android, apps are suspended when they are no longer visible to the user. Suspended means the app is still in memory, but it is frozen. No processing or event handling happens. If the system needs additional memory, the least-frequently used apps that are suspended (in the background) have their state saved to persistent storage and are then killed, freeing up their memory. To the user though, those apps still appear to be in the background. When they are brought to the foreground to be used again, they are restarted and passed an object containing their last state so they can be restored to look exactly as the user left them. Both are ingenious methods so, let’s just declare it a TIE. 🙂

Software Keyboard- An iPhone user will swear by the iPhone’s keyboard. The keys are well-spaced. The punctuations commonly used are easily available. The Android keyboard, on the other hand, is slightly squashed. To get to the punctuation, you have to press a few keys. Changing languages is a bit of a pain. Yes, you can install custom keyboards but, hey, can an Average Joe do that? Out-of-the-box usage is what matters most. FOURTH point to the iPhone.

Search– Apple’s Spotlight feature has been integrated into every Apple product. It scans every nook & corner of the product for the required search term & brings the search results to you within seconds. Android does the same. The Android OS supports application plug-ins for the Search feature. So, the more supported apps you install, the more boisterous your search becomes. The basic functionality is the same for both Operating Systems, so, it’s a TIE yet again.

Notification– Android bags the prize for this category effortlessly. The iPhone’s notification system is surprisingly annoying. Only one notification can be seen at a time via a pop-up window. Multiple notifications are shown one after another, which can get quite tedious for the user. To view a notification in the Android OS, a simple drag-down menu is implemented which shows you all the notifications. This is a beautiful feature, which would make any iPhone user go green with envy. FIVE-all.

Syncing– Apple has failed to implement cloud-syncing. An iPhone user has to plug in his iPhone & sync to iTunes to get the work done. Android phones, on the other hand support OTA(Over-The-Air) syncing with your Google account..which means, if you were to lose your Android(God forbid), you could just enter your Google account ID & password onto your new phone & all your data would be synced back onto your shiny, new phone. SIXTH point to Android.

Voice-to-text– iOS doesn’t have inbuilt voice-to-text. Sure, you could download an app to do that, but, it won’t be as cool as Android’s voice-to-text. E-mails, text messages, memos and anything else you can think about can be done by ‘talking’ to your phone.  SEVENTH point to Android.

Tethering– Tethering is a feature by which you can use your phone’s data connection to connect to the Internet on your computer. In the USA, AT&T has a $20 plan by which you acquire the privilege of connecting your beloved iPhone to your computer & using its data connection- despite the fact that you’ll already be paying for the data plan. It gets worse. AT&T imposes a 2 GB limit to iPhone users. Android edges ahead with the ability to turn your handheld into a Wi-Fi hotspot for you & your friends. EIGHT point to Android.

Software Updates– Since Apple controls both the hardware and the software of the iPhone, it knows what updates it can and cannot handle. Apple provides timely updates to all its iPhone users(not the ancient ones, of course). In this way, every iPhone user receives the update at the same time.
Android is currently spread across many companies. So, when Google announces an OS update, there’s no saying when your phone manufacturer might tweak it to suit your device. SIXTH point to iPhone.

Applications– Every Apple user would’ve  jumped in their seats on reading the name of the category. Yes, the App Store has around four times the number of applications the Android Market has. But, let me tell you, the App Store also has a lot of crap. For example, the ‘I Am Rich’ application which costs $999. This application consisted of just a glowing, red gem and an icon which when pressed would show the following mantra- “I am rich
I deserve it, I am good, healthy & successful”. 😐
So, let’s just declare a tie again. Android- NINE. iPhone- SEVEN.

Web Browsing– Even though Apple’s Safari has quite a few niggles which need to be ironed out, it is pretty good. The same can be said for Android web browsers. So, it’s a tie again. Android- TEN. iPhone- EIGHT.

Music Player- By making the iPod, Apple created a new revolution in music listening. And, introducing this winning strategy in the iPhone is something they’d obviously do. Android users have to look at third-party applications to acquire a similar experience. So, NINTH point to the iPhone.

GPS– Google’s free turn-by-turn GPS application will never make it to the iPhone(thanks to Apple’s application approval). The iPhone does have its share of GPS applications but, none of them are as cool as Android’s built in GPS application..Oh, and btw, did I mention that Google Maps Navigation on the Android is pre-installed? ELEVENTH point to Android. 

Google Integration– If you’re a heavy user of Google’s services(Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calender etc), then an Android just does it better than an iPhone. TWELFTH point to Android.

Google Voice– Most Indians wouldn’t know about his cool feature by Google(since it’s an only US feature). Google Voice is a service which currently provides free PC-to-PC voice and video calling worldwide between users of the Google Voice and Video Chat browser plugin (available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux). Apple had a chance to approve Google Voice for its App Store but Apple made a huge blunder by not approving. With Google Voice integrated into Android, it makes Android look a whole lot cooler. THIRTEENTH point to Android.

Customizability- You may be able to add cool wallpapers to your iPhone’s home-screen but, after that, you can’t really do much(without jail-breaking it). In comparison, Android devices are the baaps (father in Hindi) of customization. FOURTEENTH point to Android.

So, here’s the comparison in a tabular format(for the lazy ones who don’t want to read my post)-

The current state-of-affairs of Android devices is somewhat confusing. Even though it is, it’s a bright new future.The current battle of mobile Operating Systems can be compared to that of PC versus Mac. Google is being Microsoft and distributing it’s Operating System to different companies while Apple is staying the same. And as we all know, PCs are 95% of the world’s computers. So, look out, Apple. 😉


2 responses

  1. One word:Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Dude,this is,by far,THE BEST comparison I’ve read,and you aren’t being partial,unlike the many fanboys out there. Dude,you mentioned third party apps that make android’s music player as awesome as iphone’s.can you tell me their names?and dude,”baap”,that’s awesome usage 😀 😀
    You deserve a lot more readership dude,imma help you get it 😀

    March 11, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    • Haha,thanks. 🙂
      umm, i don’t listen to music too much on my phone(i’m more of an iPod fan)..but, from what i’ve heard, MixZing & Meridian are pretty good. 🙂

      March 11, 2011 at 9:35 PM

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