Every time a new version of the iPhone hits the market we get a slew of articles from tech writers explaining why they are switching to Apple’s latest wonderphone and leaving the fractured hell that is Android behind. Obviously this kind of article is classic clickbait and fair enough, writers want people to read their articles and it’s their job to deliver eyeballs. The fact that most of them are full of fatuous reasoning and lack any real substance is what tends to aggravate the reading public.
Expressing an opinion in either direction, especially as a tech writer, leaves you open to claims of fanboyism. The trouble is, whatever reasons you present, it all comes down to personal opinion. Saying that you’re choosing the new iPhone because you prefer it is fine, explaining what it is that you like about Apple’s products or services helps to justify your choice, but don’t roll out the same old tired, and sometimes invalid, criticisms of the Android platform, it just gets boring.
Let’s take a look at the top Android complaints and exaggerations and see if they hold water.
Early on in the Android platform’s life it developed an irritating condition. Fragmentation has been the most consistent complaint thrown at Android. It is a valid concern if you’re a developer. Anyone creating apps or games for Android has to cater for a variety of screen sizes, resolutions, processors, and a lack of optimization for a specific set of specs can result in bugs and/or poor performance, including serious battery drain. That’s hardware fragmentation and it exists, to some extent, on every platform (even iOS).
Software fragmentation is perceived as a bigger problem for Android. There are various different varieties of the platform out there. To make matters worse manufacturers and carriers can build on the existing platform to include their own extras. The result is that you get a new version of Android rolling out and the carrier sometimes takes forever to actually push it on to customers.
The small proportion of users, who are aware of new Android versions being released and knowledgeable about the features, may get fed up about the lack of an update, but it is invariably the fault of the manufacturer or the carrier rather than the platform itself. Android is open, companies are allowed to build on it; if they do then it can cause delays in new Android versions hitting those devices.
For developers the fragmentation can be off-putting. Developers coming from an iOS background might find it unusual, but anyone who has developed for the Web or produced a PC game will be no stranger to fragmentation. That’s one of the main reasons that patches are so common.
This could be an article all its own but in the interests of moving on from fragmentation let’s concede that it is a problem, but it is seriously overblown by detractors and has little real impact on most end user’s experiences with the platform. Put it this way – it’s not a very believable reason for someone to switch from Android to iOS.
One of the secrets to Android’s success is the huge variety in terms of handsets. You can get Android smartphones with all kinds of different spec sheets. Some of the budget devices don’t run as well as an iPhone does. You know what else they don’t do? They don’t require you to take out a second mortgage. If you’re going to compare the platforms then you have to do it with similarly priced hardware to get a fair representation. You cannot complain that a budget Android smartphone costing less than 25 percent of an iPhone’s price tag doesn’t work as well. If it was up to Apple then poor people wouldn’t have phones.
Manufacturers and carriers have to take the blame for flooding the market with a confusing array of devices, but let’s face it, if you can read a spec sheet and hold a phone in your hand then how difficult is it to find one you like?
Who can forget Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer’s Android criticism? Back in October 2011 he said:
“You don’t need to be a computer scientist to use a Windows phone, but I think you do to use an Android phone.”
The idea that Android is difficult to use and conversely that the iPhone “just works” is pure nonsense. Android is very easy to use. It’s perfectly accessible. You know what’s even more ridiculous? The idea that Windows Phone is better than either platform, Ballmer went on to say:
“Both [the iPhone and a Windows Phone handset] are going to feel very good in your hand and both going to look very beautiful physically … but when you grab a Windows phone and use it … your information is front and center … and you don’t have to scroll through seas of icons and blah blah blah. A Windows Phone gets things done.”
I guess that will be why they outsold Android and iOS….oh wait a minute.
No it doesn’t.
You can’t get away from this when you compare the Android and iOS platforms. The same things are positive and negatives on both sides.
Android is open so you get the ability to customize and you get a huge range of different devices at different price points. Apple’s iOS is closed so you get one line of phones with no customization at fixed prices and they all work exactly the same way.
It’s tougher to update Android software because of manufacturer and carrier customizations and it’s tougher to develop for a wide range of devices and software versions. There are no customizations to cater for and only one line of devices so it’s easier to develop for iOS.
The mass market that makes up the vast majority of the statistics on smartphone penetration does not care about the same things as tech fans. The real reasons people switch are price, advertising, and advice from people they actually know. In broad terms Android and iOS are really similar.
Got any good reasons for switching from Android to the iPhone 5? How about reasons to switch from iOS to Android? Let’s hear them.