What Android has over iOS

June 10, 2013
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Apple’s WWDC will be upon us in a few hours, and Apple hopes to reignite a stale iOS, after it has fallen behind Android in recent times. Join us as we take a look at all the reasons why Android is king of the mobile operating system world.

Disclaimer: I do not absolutely, positively hate iOS. I think it’s a decent operating system, but I believe Android has surpassed iOS in terms of functionality and user experience. I own a 4th gen iPod Touch and a third generation iPad, and both devices are running the latest version of iOS 6.

Sharing and Near Field Communications

No matter how revolutionary iOS 7 can be, it can’t add technology which just isn’t there. A noticeable omission from the iPhone 5 was NFC, and while the technology hasn’t reached its full potential yet, it is still a valuable piece of technology.

NFC has many uses, it can be used as a portable wallet, allowing you to pay with a single tap of your smartphone. There are also stickers which you can buy that can toggle settings or complete a number of actions. Another feature is sharing with a single tap. This feature allows you to quickly share files between devices, it can allow businessmen to share their business cards from phone to phone and also allows friends to quickly share their favorite pics.

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Android also defeats iOS when it comes to sharing between other apps on the phone. For example, sharing a photo from the gallery application on iOS gives you the meager options to share to Facebook, Twitter or send it as an email. Android on the other hand allows you to share to a multitude of applications like Google Drive, Dropbox, any social network app you have, and many other applications.

Default applications – I’m looking at you Apple Maps

When you are sent a link for directions, iOS will direct you straight to Apple Maps even if you prefer Google Maps or another maps application. Android on the other hand, allows you to choose your favourite app to open a link.

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Another feature where Android has the upper hand is keyboards. There are many keyboards in the Play Store, including favorites like Swiftkey and Swype, whereas Apple’s iOS only offers the standard iOS keyboard. These keyboards offer personalized auto-correct and adapt to your typing, giving you a much improved typing experience on a touch screen.

Multitasking and multi-user support

We aren’t going to get into too much depth on multitasking here, but it is a well known fact that Android has far superior multitasking capabilities than iOS. To put it in the most simplest terms Android offers multitasking which is akin to a desktop operating system, while iOS simply pauses an application when you leave it, putting it in a sort of suspended state.

While Android allows you to have more than one applications open at a time (Samsung’s Multiview feature comes to mind), Apple is a firm believer in the one task at a time approach.

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In Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, Google offered the ability to create multiple users on a tablet, perfect for sharing a tablet between partners, splitting work and play, and giving children a place for them to play games without them stumbling their way into your email. Apple currently offers no option to create multiple users on iOS.

Hardware and software diversity

Android offers multiple devices at multiple price points. Whether you are looking for a budget smartphone, a large-screen smartphone, a 7-inch tablet, even a connected camera, Android offers devices that span almost every part of the mobile market.

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Tablet, smartphone or a connected camera, Android has them all.

On the software front you have options for a feature packed OS in TouchWiz, a clean looking OS in Sense, as well all the other skins and custom ROMs. That’s without mentioning pure unadulterated stock Android, which offers timely updates and a pure Google experience. Apple still maintains its one size fits all mantra, even as the mobile market moves on and evolves.

Launchers

Another feature that Android has over iOS is launchers.

Launchers allow you to change the look of your device without rooting your phone.

Launchers allow you to change the look of your device without rooting your phone, allowing you to explore the world of Android without the risks that custom ROMs sometimes come with. Currently, there is no way to change the complete look of an iOS running device without jailbreaking.

We recently took a look at all of the best launchers on Android, so to check out that article, click here.

Custom ROMs and the developer community

No doubt one of the biggest features of Android is the choice of custom ROMs that allow you to tweak and personalize your device to suit your exact needs. The fact that the Android developer community can create custom ROMs within weeks of the release of a new device is incredible, and is unrivalled in the mobile space.

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Apple on the other hand, is always trying to lock its mobile operating system. It took 136 days for a jailbreak to appear for iOS 6 and the time it takes to jailbreak a new version of iOS always increases meaning iOS users could be in for an even longer wait for an iOS 7 jailbreak.

Custom ROMs provide a lot of stimulus for innovation, for example Paranoid Android has been gaining plenty of recognition for its HALO feature.

Widgets and Live Wallpapers

Widgets and live wallpapers add a little bit of personal touch to your mobile user experience. Compared to iOS’s static rows of apps, Android allows you to delve into your information without opening any apps.

Widgets can also toggle your settings, let you check the weather, your email and other bits and pieces of information. Then there are lock screen widgets, which give you access to all your favorite bits of information without needing to unlock your phone. We recently covered the best Android widgets and you can check them out in the video below.

Notifications and toggles

It’s safe to say Android is the best operating system when it comes to notifications.

It’s safe to say Android is the best operating system when it comes to notifications.

 Android 4.1 Jelly Bean added expandable notifications, allowing you to see more information from an email or text message, and even reply to the email straight from the notifications bar. In fact Android’s notifications system is so good that Apple chose to use the notification bar in iOS 5, and will most likely take cues for notifications in iOS 7 as well.

Toggles are also an invaluable element of Android, allowing you to toggle settings like Wi-Fi and data without opening up the settings app.

Wrap up

iOS 7 will no doubt improve and expand upon the currently limited operating system, but Apple is in quite a predicament. Change too much and it could risk losing its diehard users, change too little and those on the fence may choose to abandon ship to Android. Whatever Apple comes up with at WWDC, I for one hope that it can seriously challenge Android, because competition sparks innovation. However, at this current point in time, Android offers too much for iOS to be considered a superior mobile operating system.

Can iOS catch up to Android? What do you think iOS 7 needs to surpass Android? Let us know in the comments below.

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