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Android vs iOS: What You Need To Know

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012 by | Filed Under: Android, iOS
 
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Neil from England writes:

I am coming up to the end of my mobile phone contract and will soon be upgrading. I currently use the iPhone, and while happy with it, but I am thinking along the Android line also. Would it be possible to do a article of the pro’s and con’s of both iOS and Android?

The Android vs. iOS debate has blossomed into quite the war among sides. So, what’s the deal? Is Android really the blissful open enviroment that lets people truly customize the device – or is it a virus-ridden monster which has more junk then quality? Is iOS the simple beautiful, functional device that just does what you expect – or is it horrible, crippled and limited by “big brother” at Apple? The answer to everything above is Yes.

But which points really matter?

Let’s compare Android to iOS in 5 popular ways for smartphones:

Use the phone as a… phone:

Android offers a fantastic set of contacts and call management features which automatically sync to your google account. Voicemails on many popular carriers are visual voicemail (meaning you see them as individual messages to play instead of the old dial 1, type your pin code, press * etc etc) and offers clear big controls.

iOS offers a fantastic set of contacts and call management features which sync to your iCloud account. Voicemails are delivered by visual voicemail and the controls are big and simple to use.

Winner: Tie

Customization:

Android lets both the device manufacturer and the end user customize their device… a lot. Everything from different user interface designs to widgets and screen effects. You can also do all the basic customization like wallpaper, ringtone and notification alarm sounds.

iOS lets you customize your wallpaper and ringtones, but the basic interface is the same from phone to phone.

Winner: Android

Applications:

Android has hundreds of thousands of applications, and the limits to what can be installed on an Android phone are almost non-existent. The catch is there is no general interface design rules or compatibility requirements, so many applications can be copies of other applications, simple software (ringtone app) or just not run on a specific device. Virus and spyware is also a concern, and the fact that Android has anti-virus software available in its app store is a bit of a worry.

iOS has just as many applications in the store, but limits users to specific design rules and an approval process. Applications are limited in what they can do to your phone and how they can interact, but due to piracy safeguards higher quality paid applications seem to come to iOS more often then Android. iOS apps are checked for viruses and spyware, and the design of the operating system makes writing viruses nearly impossible.

Winner: iOS

Web Browsing and E-mail/Messaging:

Android has a built-in version of Chrome web browser and offers other web browsers via the Android market. Adobe has given up on mobile Flash, but it is still available for Android where it is not for iOS – so websites that use Flash will display correctly under Android, but not iOS. The Gmail client works very well, and the variety of e-mail clients support most of the popular message functions. The notification area of Android lets users know when there are new messages and replying to text messages is very easy.

iOS has a built-in version of the Safari web browser and has other skins for web browsers (like Atomic Web Browser), but does not support apps which replace the core applications – so you’re stuck with the integrated e-mail and web browser for system-wide functions. There are downloadable applications, such as Gmail for iOS, but they will not integrate with other applications when you click an e-mail link in a game or web browser. Notifications are now handled in a very similar way to Android and replying to a text message is very easy. A huge bonus is iMessage, which allows you to message any other iOS device free of charge – and with tens of millions of them out there that’s a huge bonus.

Winner: Tie

Device Quality:

Android has dozens upon dozens of devices, with quite a few different versions of Android on them. The same version of Android can look and preform drastically different from device to device due to CPU speed, memory and customizations made by the manufacturer. On the plus side, if you want a small pocket phone or a giant 5″ screen you can find what you want.

iOS has only 2 current versions of the device, but both with nearly identical design and built to very high quality demands. The look of the software and way the phone works is so similar, that if you’ve used an iPod touch you can probably operate an iPhone without any difficulties. The downside of this standardization is that screen size is locked at 3.5″ and device choice is limited to 2 models with minor performance/specification differences between them.

Winner: Tie

So what’s the answer? Do you go with iOS and love the beautiful “it just works” design? Do you go with Android and make your phone yours? Do you worry about the possibility of a virus from that “free ringtones” app you got off a webpage on Android, or complain when Apple decides not to allow a certain application to be sold because it might compete with iTunes? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say –  and which phone is better may be, too.

 ~Tim

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8 Responses to “Android vs iOS: What You Need To Know”

  1. K.Vee.Shanker. says:

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for your basic information about both. Which one is better is a million dolor question, and its answer is dependent on the individual whose needs and habits color the judgement.Yet, it appears that both are convenient in their own ways. Android is inexpensive, and so, it is for the mass.

  2. Kevin Davidson says:

    It sounds like flexibility and liberty and freedom are on the side of Android. But is it worth the risk for that freedom and flexibility when so many terrorists or just malicious people (about 5 percent are nuts) want to destroy other people’s property? Perhaps there is greater value in confinement to a closed cult like, but safe group that limits what I may want to do?

    Where is windows 8 in this debate? Is windows too late for the market? Or will the cross platform compatibility be worth the wait and still provide a safer but open environment? Will the windows be able to run the old programs I am use too from the past.

    Google’s Android has proven to be a quick loading, flexible operating system. Perhaps MS windows died while trying to bring a market alternative that promised more than what Android or IOS could ever offer. Would the apps and programs be cheaper than the current costly windows apps?

  3. darlene jones says:

    Thank u soo much 4 this easy 2 read & understand comparison of iOS & Android! While it seems the answer still leaves wonder abt which is better, it explains the differences & concludes the “best” depends on taste of user, which is all the info I needed as a greenhorn electronic user! Thanks, again, from us totally unaware ppl!

  4. Robyn Harper says:

    You forgot one point…price. iPhones are very pricey even for just basics. Android phones are 0-hundreds. Winner:Android. Another point is the cameras. iPhones win that one although Android is getting better. My son had Android, then tried an iPhone for 2 months. Bought Android again was frustrated with iPhone.

  5. preapidwise.com says:

    Although I currently use Windows phone. So far iPhone is the best and cant wait to go back to iPhone. Android has performance issue. Not all the set can handle same OS. iPhone has zero performance issue. Windows phone is great, only thing I miss is all the apps. I do need some apps which I dont have in WP.
    Link:www.prepaidwise.com

  6. Billy says:

    Great review. Currently use iphone. Its been adequate. However, your info is useful in my decision to go android. I have long been offended by Apple’s arrogance and strategy to milk the consumer with minor upgrades bringing out new models of same product, i.e., the ipad, iphone. Capitalism? Or Greed? I applaud their technology and look forward to their new and unique discoveries. But it is with some glee that other creators are close to pulling the tech rug from beneath their…whatever.

  7. Betty Lou says:

    Thanks Tim and those that have replied! Your review was most timely and informational for me. My ancient cell phone is about to bite the dust. I was dithering on which direction to go with a new phone. Now I have a clearer picture. Much appreciated.

  8. jeff Segar says:

    I have several macs which serve me fine. I bought a Sumsung NX300 and a was thinking of the Galaxy Camrea 2. I which features options. Can I get the android in IOS? I am confused. I wish to store my images on my computer.

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