Without a doubt, Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS are the most dominant operating systems in the world of smartphones today. These operating systems are often used as major benchmarks in ongoing heated debates over which smartphone is better than the other. Without batting an eyelash, almost everybody agrees that both platforms are solid, well-designed, functional, and feature-loaded.
However, there are certain areas where one platform simply has an edge over the other. Android’s being an opensource platform is one major upper hand over iOS. The open platform strategy of Google has made many manufacturers prefer Android to iOS or any other platform. As a consequence of the open-doors policy, smartphone manufacturers do not feel any shackle at all as far as customizing the OS to the specific needs of the smartphones they produce is concerned.
That being said, here are some Android features that give it a very big edge over iOS.
Custom Read-Only Memory (ROM)
The ROM (read-only memory) is the smartphone’s operating system. A custom ROM can provide various enhancements to an Android smartphone. For instance, you can opt to install your own version rather than utilizing the one that comes with the smartphone. Also, custom ROMs can support features that you can’t find on official firmware. For instance, your phone may have the hardware for FM radio and WiFi tethering but your phone’s manufacturer may have disabled that functionality on your handset. With a custom ROM, you can easily listen to FM radio and tether your WiFi so you can host your own wireless hotspot.
Your life when using SMS, phone features, and voicemail on an Android smartphone would be hassle-free with real app integration. Such integration is hard to come by on an iPhone.
Take the case of Google Voice. Such a very brilliant piece of technology. It’s been ported to the iPhone, yes, but it just wouldn’t work as smoothly as in an Android phone. The usual behavior of iPhone apps is to direct the user to the default dialer or voicemail apps whenever the user has to call or listen to voicemail. An iPhone user wanting to use Google Voice full-time on an iPhone will have to take extra steps just to reach the Google Voice app. Android-phone users spend a very small fraction of the time it takes an iPhone user to make Google Voice calls.
The reason is that apps such as Google Voice on Android smartphones integrate right away with the operating system. Thus, calls you want to make through Google Voice will always be made via Google Voice. Contacts that you click on your browser or in Google Maps will always go through Google Voice rather than be redirected to a different dialer app.
Flash support is another touchy topic in the debate between Android and iOS. Android embraces Flash; iOS doesn’t, preferring HTML5 for delivery of media-rich content. Apple holds on to the strong belief that Flash is the major culprit for fast battery drains on smartphones.
Yet, today’s media-rich Web seems to have made Flash somewhat indispensable. A lot of multimedia sites run entirely on Flash. By embracing Flash, Android gives its users the joy of experiencing Flash-based sites.
PC Control of Phone
Several Android apps give users the ability to control their Android smartphones from a desktop. iOS users can also VNC their smartphones, but the experience would never be similar to using an entirely separate app.
Installation of Apps
Apps installation is a breeze on Android. Using your smartphone, search for the app on Android Market (or on a third-party site such as AppBrain), click the Install button, and that’s it. Installation complete.
For the iPhone, the usual and more commonly used method for installing an app is to hook up your phone to iTunes (which needs to be installed to your computer), look for apps, and download the app from App Store to your computer. Truth of the matter is, the iPhone or iPad don’t function without chaining them to iTunes, and you still need to sync your iOS device to get things functioning.
The other way is similar to Android’s over-the-air installation of apps. But, for this method to work, you will need either an iPhone 3G, a first-generation iPhone, or an iPod Touch. Your device must be running at least iPhone 2.0.
iPhone has some problems with its notifications. Since pop-up notifications are limited, the iPhone can only take one at a time, and because of the absence of multitasking functions, apps must be open in order for them to display notifications.
On the other hand, Android has a convenient notification bar which shows an icon for each notification waiting to be viewed. Also, the notification bar can be dragged downward to show more details about the notifications. Android also enables app developers to make notification details accessible from the lock screen; this ability available even to non-native Android apps is something that the iPhone provides only to its native apps.
The way that iOS deals with multiple push notifications is, in fact, a very common complaint from iPhone users and developers alike. Imagine a pile of notifications and not being able to know which app each one came from. Android deals with this waaaaaaaaaay much better.
So, there. Six major reasons that tip the scale in favor of Android. I’m sure there are more. Think of some and share them in the comments section.
Reference: International Business Times