Technology
January 25, 2013 • 04:09:14 p.m.

The biggest differences between iPhone and Android

By Zach Walters - zwalters@shawmedia.com

Until May of last year, my only experience with smart phones was with my iPhone.

I picked up a 3GS model when they launched, and never looked back. I contemplated upgrading to the 4 or 4s, but never felt like the upgrades were worth the price. Then, suddenly, my iPhone wouldn’t charge anymore. So, faced with the choice of upgrading to a newer iPhone or trying something new, I decided to take the plunge and pick up an Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy SIII.

Having spent an extensive amount of time with both operating systems, I thought it would be a good idea to explain the biggest, most important differences to prospective buyers.

User Interface

In terms of ease of use, the quality gap between Android and iPhone used to be a yawning chasm. Thankfully, Google has worked hard to make their OS a viable option for anybody willing to ditch iOS. While Apple’s system still sports a slightly tighter and easier to use interface, Android offers a nearly identical experience, along with unparalleled customization. For example, say you’re not happy with the keyboard on your smartphone. While iPhone users are out of luck in this situation, Android owners can download a third party keyboard app (I suggest Swiftkey, it’s incredible), and use that instead.

What it basically comes down to is that iOS is a closed operating system, while the Android system is much more open. If you’re not a tech savvy individual, and would rather have your phone work without having to worry about it, an iPhone is probably your best bet. If you want to be able to customize to your heart's content, an Android phone is probably the way to go.

Apps

While the Google Play store is constantly striving to offer as many apps as possible, they still haven't quite been able to catch up to Apple's App Store. Android can generally keep up with essential apps like Facebook and Twitter, but gaming is where the Play store tends to fall behind. That's not to say Google Play is a barren wasteland when it comes to keeping your kid busy, as they tend to have all of the most popular titles. Nevertheless, the iPhone remains the best choice for the gamer on the go. The App Store features the most games, and also tends to get them quicker than Google Play. Lucky for me, I've never been a huge fan of smartphone gaming in the first place, so I can get by with my Android... but I'd be lying if I said I never got jealous over the occasional awesome game that I couldn't get my hands on.

Models

It's worth noting that when you choose to go with an iPhone, you'll most likely just pick up the latest iteration and not have to think about it. With Android, you've got a plethora of options to choose from. This can be great in that you can find the phone that's perfect for you and your needs, but it can also be a pain to do the research and make sure you don't pick a dud. In it's early days, Android's phones could be hit or miss. But thanks to companies like Samsung and HTC, the quality of the platform can now stand toe to toe with an iPhone most of the time.

Connectivity

While neither operating system has much trouble hooking up to your home computer, whether it be a pc or a mac, there's no question that different people have different experiences and opinions. I myself come down with the Android camp on this argument though. Apple's iTunes tends to make what should be a simple task (say, adding your own ringtone) excruciatingly difficult, whereas with Android the solution is usually to just drag and drop whatever you want to be on your phone into a folder. I would say the only leg up Apple has in this category is that it has a dedicated program to manage your content in iTunes. But when Android makes the process so simple, do you really need one?

As long as you're informed on the differences, the choice will probably just come down to personal preference. What's your phone of choice? Email me at zwalters@shawmedia.com or find me on Twitter @geekfeednews.


Planit Northwest is operated by Shaw Media and the Northwest Herald.
Content copyright 2014, Planit Northwest.
See how easy building a mobile-friendly website can be with Shaw Media Digital