The whole mobile industry is abuzz with excitement over Apple’s latest update to iOS. Some industry pundits are opining that, just like past iPhone updates, iOS 5 is simply playing catchup to what Android already offers. Even Engadget has put Apple on the offensive, declaring the Samsung Galaxy S II “the best Android smartphone yet, but more importantly, [potentially] the best smartphone, period.” That can’t make Apple evangelists too happy.
Competition between the world’s two most popular OSes will go on and get fiercer by the day. Over time and with each update, head-to-head comparisons between these two mammoths will reveal striking similarities, many of which will try to catch the attention and swoon millions of fanatics who have sworn loyalty to their smartphone of choice. Is Apple ripe enough with “unique features” to compete with what Android brings to the table (screen)?
Below, you will find the top five aspects of Android that still blow the socks off of Apple’s latest build of iOS.
System Wide Voice Functionality
iOS’ voice command options are, well, limited – especially if you’ve gotten used to being a mobile connoisseur – barking commands at your Android smartphone. Actually touching your phone or tablet is so 2010, and Android does voice commands fabulously. Everything from searching to executing commands within the OS itself is already built into Android. Driving and want to jot down a few ideas or send a few texts? No problem. Android users can dictate text messages and e-mail, as well as get directions by simply speaking to the phone. The same flexibility exists for media too, and users can also load third-party music apps like Pandora with the “listen to” command, whereas the iPhone’s music-by-voice feature is only linked to the iPod app.
Check out our guide on the Best Android Apps for Music Lovers and Avid Listeners
Android phones have offered free, voice-guided GPS for a long, long time. It’s actually been offered as a standard component of Android since October 2009, whereas iOS’ Maps app demands the user look at their iPhone or iPad as they drive – no good.
Still, the iPhone has a few decent third-party apps that offer turn-by-turn voice guidance, but Android’s built-in functionality allows users to jump seamlessly into navigation from other apps. This kind of functionality simply doesn’t exist on iOS, as users have to manually copy and paste the address into the app of choice. Not efficient, and certainly not seamless.
Setting Default Apps
On Android, you get to decide what apps do what. Like a particular browser? Make it the default one. Is there a particular music player that suits your needs best? You get the picture. On Android, if you want to use alternative apps for virtually anything from mail, to Web browsing or even navigation, you can set them to be the default for all the related functions. It’s a small thing, but in reality, it’s a life saver, and one more reason why you are the boss of your Android device. Nice, isn’t it?
Android widgets are wonderful gems that can display whatever you want, at any time, anywhere you want to put them. Placed directly on the home screen(s), they can provide access to quick updates on the things that matter most to you. Widgets for breaking news, updates on sporting events, messages, emails, media playback controls, toggling screen brightness, or WiFi – it’s all up to you. The point is – it’s all up to you. That’s the beauty of Android – you are the boss of it, and it can really be customized to turn your smartphone or tablet into a device perfect for your needs.
Also, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide on the Best Android Widgets available.
The customer is always right – right? With Android, you have literally tons of choice. Aside from the actual OS itself, Android is on more hardware than any other mobile OS in the world. You want a physical QWERTY keyboard? No problem. How about 3D video recording? Yep, got that covered too. Ok – how about an amazing display that makes everything look incredible, with 1080p video recording, and wireless streaming to your TV? The Samsung Galaxy S II has it all – for those with a healthy wallet, and a desire to have the most powerful, most amazing superphone in the world. Android’s got everyone covered – big screen lovers, media junkies, text-addicts, and mobile multitasking power users. Let’s not forget removable batteries either. Really – everything from dual core, to dual screen to dual cameras can be had – and it’s all Android!
Check out our list of the best Android Superphones of 2011 – it’s got every phone worth thinking about.
Anything we missed? Is there any functionality that iOS has that bests Android? Let us know in the comments – the big G’s robots are always watching. Who knows – maybe your dream will come true!