Google Android vs. Apple iPhone iOS

Aug 14, 2012  Print Story

An image showing war between Android and Apple iOS
It’s a big task to compare the two leading mobile operating systems. Android and Apple iPhone iOS have been around for some time, and they are definitely neck to neck about functions and features.

The latest release of Android (Jelly Bean) and iOS 6 are here. Let me give it a shot to compare these mobile operating systems in this post.

App Statistics


Both iOS and Android have thousands of apps available in their respective markets. Apple iOS boasts over half a million apps available at the Apple App Store. Android is close behind with nearly 450,000 apps (as of February 2012). On the top of that, number of free apps in Android market is more than that in the iPhone App Store. Android has recently crossed 10 billion total app downloads, while Apple App store has celebrated over 30 billion downloads. (The rest of the mobile operating systems don’t come anywhere close—Windows Phone has only about 100,000 apps, Nokia Symbian also has just as many, and BlackBerry App World has around 70,000 apps.)

number of apps for iOS, Windows, Android, Symbian, and BlackBerry

Besides this, the price of apps available in iPhone store is higher making them slightly less affordable as compared to apps on the Android market. Unlike App Store, Android Market allows users to browse apps on the computer and install them on the phone.

Winner: iOS


Device Diversity


Android is the clear winner here. Sheer number of devices available with Android OS is huge with a lot of different hardware features, while you can get only one iPhone. Hundreds of different Android handsets are available from manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, Motorola, LG, Acer, Sony Ericsson, etc. Android devices also have innovative hardware features, such as AMOLED display technology from Samsung, 3D displays as seen in LG Optimus, high-speed multi-core processors, cameras with better features, better hardware support for 4G and LTE (Long Term Evolution), and NFC (Near Field Communication).

Winner: Android


Calling and Messaging Features


As these are mobile operating systems, one of the first things you should ask is about the calling features available. Apple iOS boasts almost all the features that you need—caller ID, call forwarding, waiting, conferencing, hold, etc. You can also send call reject SMS which can be configured.

an image of apple ipad vs iphoneHowever, Android, being an open source product, boasts a lot more development in calling features. There are companies developing advanced calling functions to integrate with Android operating system.

Google Chat is fully integrated to Android, and hence in the realm of instant messaging, Android is already a hit. Apple hasn’t yet got a really powerful messaging platform. The native instant messenger for iOS is iMessage, which has yet to get better.

Winner: Android


OS Tweaking and Availability of Custom Firmware


Android is open-source. This means, the operating system can be tweaked and modified in whatever way you want. The apps make the iOS a very powerful platform, but it’s still proprietary. Android owners can keep their devices updated with new firmware.

Winner: Android


Integration to Google


Since Android is Google’s baby, no other mobile OS can win over it in this. Google’s integration to Android is seamless. The all-inclusive Gmail app, Google Talk, YouTube, Calendar, Google Search, Google Goggles, Google Finance, Blogger, Google Earth, etc., are all available in Android with full functionality. iOS also gets most of the Google apps.

Winner: Android


Siri


This is one area that Apple iOS defeats other operating systems hands down. Siri is in a league of its own—intelligent personal assistant. It is the only IPA available today that can understand what you speak and reply back with some level of machine intelligence. Although other platforms have similar applications, they are far from smart. Android has Google Voice Actions, Iris (read it backwards), and upcoming Google Majel, which will have functionality similar to Siri.

However, Siri is miles ahead of any other application now. It understands what you speak pretty well, and is capable of doing a lot of stuff—setting reminders, sending text messages and emails, checking weather, searching online for information, scheduling meetings, setting alarms and timers, finding contacts, tracking stocks, and getting directions.

Here’s a comparison between Siri and S Voice on Samsung Galaxy S3:


Courtesy: 2phat2tech

Here’s a video comparing Siri and Microsoft’s Tellme voice command system… (found it to be funny):


Courtesy: TechAu.tv

Winner: Apple iOS


Traffic & Maps

An image showing Apple iOS Maps feature

Apple iOS 6 and Google Android come with full-fledged maps. Apple has gone one step further and has created its own mapping platform. The Apple Maps feature will form the backbone of traffic updates for iOS version 6 onwards. It has all the necessary features you need—turn-by-turn navigation, digital narration by Siri app, traffic updates, 3D panoramic views of your city. [Update: Apple Maps has tremendous flaws]

Google provides most of these features through its own Maps already; hence Android has great maps too. Based on the latest fiasco of Apple Maps, Google is the clear winner here.

Winner: Google Android


Social Media Integration


On your smartphone, one of the things that you do frequently is social media interaction. Facebook and Twitter are essential to you, aren’t they? Good news is the latest version of iOS integrates to Facebook like never before. Just sign into your account on the largest social network, and off you go! You can post and share stuff from Maps, Game Center, the camera app, and just about any app on iOS. You can also tell Siri to share stuff if you are too lazy to tap. Also, one of the best features is that your Facebook friends’ profile information are in sync with Contacts on iOS, so you remain up to date on all contact information; in essence, your friends update your contact list. In short, this Facebook integration makes iOS the best operating system to use on the social network.

Android already has great Facebook integration, and you can post and share information from several apps in the OS. For both iOS and Android, you will find myriad apps to interact with other social media sites as well.

Winner: Apple iOS


Phone as a Credit Card

google wallet feature

As NFC (Near Field Communication) technology is out there, payments with mobile phones will be a trend. Android already has a few devices that have NFC built-in, such as Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X, Google Galaxy Nexus, the latest Nexus 4, LG Optimus, etc. Most of these devices run on Android. And as you have noticed, Apple iPhone 4S doesn’t come with NFC.

In terms of mobile payments systems go, Google Wallet has already made its mark, and Apple follows quietly with its new Passbook application. However, lack of NFC will hurt the iPhone sales. Passbook is an app similar to Google Wallet, and it helps you check into cinemas, hotels, etc.

Winner: Android


Entertainment Features


Apple iPod is a very high-quality music and video player, and the same iPod app is integrated to iOS found in iPhone and iPad. Hence, music and videos on iPhone work brilliantly. Android users, however, have always complained about the performance of its native media player. Only third party media players and impressive hardware support will make Android excel in this.

Games (free and paid) available on the App Store excel over those found in Android market. With great hardware and great display, games perform amazing well within iPhone. However, Android is close behind with several game apps coming up.

Winner: iOS


Conclusion


Android is a wholly customizable operating system, and it may be more or less a developer’s product than a layman’s. If you are a gadget freak and want your device to look different and well customized, you should go for Android. On the other hand, if you are a regular user wanting the best out of a phone, Apple iPhone is the way to go (although you might have to shell out a tad more money to own one).

 
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