Why I prefer Android over iOS

There are a lot of discussions around which mobile devices are the best and a lot of reasoning why either side is better, Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS. Personally I really prefer Android, continue reading to learn why.

The one argument that I will not discuss here is the price of different devices, iPhone is much more expensive compared to Android devices with the same specifications and I for one want value for my money.

So what do you prefer? The customization and selection of Android devices or the straight forward iOS devices?

HTC One X and iPhone 5 side by side (Source: TechnoBuffalo)

Design & usability

One of the common myths about Android is that it is ugly and hard to use. In the beginning of Android, this was completely correct. iOS that was introduced in 2007 looked much better and was more of a complete product than the HTC Dream when it came in 2008. So what has changed since then?

Android have focused much more on design and feel the later years as a response to the critique, this led to Android introducing design principles for Android applications and even publishing it all on their developer site: Android Design. This has led to the applications, the base Android user interface and the manufacturer skins looking a lot better and following the same design principles.

What has happened with iOS since 2007? Have a look for yourself:

iPhone 1-5

See any notable difference? Me neither, Android wins.

So what about the difficulty of using the devices? Well, iPhone is simple, very simple. One might argue that because of its few options, few depth layers of options and having all applications gathered on the start up screen it is easier to use than Android, but I disagree.

Android has panels when you open the lock screen, these are basically fully customizable desktops where you can have any combination of widgets, folders or programs. When you press the menu button, you get to see all the applications and you even have the option to hide the ones you like (but you don’t have to), but more on that later in the customization section.

In terms of ease of use, both iOS and Android are pretty much the same.

Performance

Responsiveness, the first and most important thing that normal users notice when using mobile devices. No one wants to sit around waiting for their actions to happen, we want to see it immediately.

iPhone has been highly optimized for it’s hardware and there is very little eye candy so it is very responsive through the menus. Android had issues with this earlier, but this has been fixed a long time ago.

In terms of raw processing power, there is no dispute: Android devices comes with more processing power at a lower cost. The iPhone 5 comes with a A6 1.3GHz Dual Core processor, while one of the most powerful Android device today, the HTC One X+ come with a Tegra 3 1.7GHz Quad Core processor.

This basically means (not counting optimizations etc) that the One X+ is 30% faster than the iPhone 5 when running linear processes (only running one application with one thread) and a whopping 260% faster when running parallel processes (more applications, more threads). You might think that what is the great difference, I am only running one application at once anyways?
Actually, you are not. The system itself and the applications uses multiple threads the whole time, nothing you can do about it (the screen would actually freeze of you were downloading a file on one thread (not counting scheduling for you fellow nerds)).

What is a thread?
Applications have tasks. A thread is like a worker which actually do the task and the more workers doing the task at the same time, the faster the task will be done. With two cores (Dual) you can have two simultaneous workers and with four cores (Quad) you get four.

Customization & Applications

Widgets, widgets everywhere! If you have ever tried Android, you should know what I am talking about, you get the ability to customize pretty much everything on you desktop(s). Want a nice clock together with you calendar entries and favorite contacts? Sure!

Don’t like the color theme and skin the device came with? Android can help you get your own that feels better as well. Custom keyboards, added security features, fonts, colors, looks, you name it.

There is no way on Earth that iPhone can slightly resemble the level of customization on Android, it is just is not possible.

Gadgets

This is pretty much the only thing that the iPhone/iPad gets over Android devices. While there has been added a lot of different gadgets to Android devices lately, it has not been able to compete with the gadgets for iPhone. Mini vacuum cleaners, fans and docking stations, you can get pretty much anything.

Android does however support most Bluetooth interfaces, so that you can use heartbeat monitors, BT headsets or any other device that uses the Bluetooth interface.

Conclusion

Whether you prefer Android or iOS, they are both good platforms. I really enjoy the customization and freedom of Android. While Samsung’s TouchWiz is good, I prefer HTC’s Sense UI due to the look and feel of it. If you are considering moving to the Android platform, hopefully this gave you a little insight.

Do you agree or believe that I am utterly wrong? Please leave a comment below.

 

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