Long now has there been a rivalry between the Apple iPhone and the slew of phones running Google Android.
And long have I belonged to the former camp.
However, from time to time I wonder if the iPhone (and really, iOS) are still the best option for me.
So even when I find things I love I still find/make myself learn about the competition and the other options available to me.
While I seem to (almost) always find my way back to Apple products and ecosystems, I do so in a way that validates those choices and teaches me the truth of the market and competition.
I find what I love with not only the confidence of choice for my needs and desires, but also the knowledge of the competition and true state of the market.
Recently I decided to give Android another shot.
Some context: For quite some time now I have been using Google Voice for my only phone service, using only WiFi on my iPhone 4S – no cellular data or voice. Key advantage? Unlimited minutes and messaging = $0/mo. More on that experience and the decision to get a cell plan again later this month…
This will not be an in depth comparison review of the two operating systems or individual handsets. Instead, I will simply touch (briefly) on the main issues I encountered and why I decided to stay with my iPhone.
While both operating systems offer intuitive interfaces including gesture controls (very important nowadays), in my opinion, iOS offers both more stability and speed for both novice and power users.
The main exception to this is out of the box customization, which I will address below.
Ease of Use
Again, both systems offer similar but differing interfaces for interacting with the user’s apps and information. However, for me, iOS wins hands down for overall ease of use.
Note that a lot of the features and usability perks (but certainly not all) I love and depend on in iOS are actually available only through jailbreak. Apps and tweaks such as SBSettings, Activator, F.lux, Swipe Selection, Swipe Safari, and Zephyr have become second nature and not only allow me to be more productive but to establish better flow.
In a few days I’ll expand upon and offer more on the process, perspective, and stigma of jailbreaking…
The application ecosystem is something that many don’t think of as important but which really is. Sure, people realize that certain apps are only available on certain platforms, but there is more to it than that. The very nature of the community of users and developers in each camp helps dictate which and what kind of apps find their way to fruition and success.
Two points here. One: take away the software and operating systems and you actually have very similar phones. Similar specs when it comes to size, weight, processor, memory, battery, camera(s), screen, etc.
Two: Android is available on many, many different models offering options of varying sophistication and price. Whereas with iOS you are essentially stuck with the one.
Without jailbreaking an iOS device, the options for customization are drastically fewer, with Apple only allowing a small amount of control in altering their default settings.
With Android however, there are many more options to customize out of the box. There are two reasons for this: less restrictive app permissions and widgets.
Widgets are available to add directly to the homescreen(s) and can display information from specific widgets or other sources without needing to open the app itself.
More broadly, Android allows developers (and therefore end users) many more liberties for inter -app and -OS compatibility. This means that you are able to alter the default look and use of the system itself and interactions of information between apps.
In the End…
I will no doubt return and go into more detail on this comparison at a later date (or break it up into sections, such as search for phone service, task manager, text editor, etc). But for now suffice it to say I gave Android another chance, discovered some things I liked, but ultimately found iOS to still be my best choice for phone operating system.