It’s open thread time once again, folks. And with this edition, we take a look into app ecosystems. In particular, we compare apps from two of the biggest mobile ecosystems today: iOS and Android. While the iTunes App Store and Google Play are almost at par in terms of app availability and quality, there are still some gaps, notably in how companies choose to launch their apps on one platform, but not on the other.
For example, some companies have chosen to release apps on one platform, but not on the other. Take Facebook, for instance. The social networking company has been taking a modularized approach to its mobile apps. The main Facebook app is still there, but others, like messaging and page management have been unbundled. Facebook has also acquired other companies and startups that run their own apps, like Instagram.
Most of these are available on multiple platforms. However, one of its newer apps, Paper, is only available on iOS and only from the US app store.
This has left Android users wondering whether Facebook will release a version for other platforms of its dedicated News Feed reader, as well.
Then, there’s the “anonymish” app, Secret, which lets users share all sorts of secrets while hidden behind anonymity. The app has recently been made available to international markets. However, it’s still iOS-only at this point, with the developers hinting that an Android release could be in the works.
Sometimes, it’s not even the availability that’s the issue, but rather the differences in features and functionality. For example, in my experience, the PayPal app for iOS is drastically different from the Android app in terms of functionality. Sure, PayPal has updated its app with support for fingerprint scanning (on supported models), plus the ability to search for nearby establishments that accept PayPal payments. However, with my iPhone app, I can send personal payments (meaning zero fees), whilst I could only send regular payments from my Android app.
I was told this was region-dependent, but it has left me wondering why I could access the feature on iOS, but not on Android.
Update: I forgot to add Hangouts on iOS. While Google recently updated its Hangouts Android app to integrate chats and SMS, the iOS app offers one thing that the Android app does not: voice calling. With the iOS Hangouts app, you can call US numbers for free, and you can also receive Google Voice calls right within the app itself. On Android, only video calls are supported, and you cannot call or receive calls from regular phone numbers.
Which apps do you think are better on iOS than on Android? And which iOS-only apps do you wish are also available for Android? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.