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Android vs Apple: The Mobile War

Posted on Friday, February 3rd, 2012 in Uncategorized by Felica Grenda

 

Does anyone remember when the iPhone first came out years ago and became the Blackberry killer? Since release the iPhone was credited as a marvelously crafted piece of tech, and a force to be reckoned with. It was easily the top dog in the market, further securing Apple’s hold on the digital world starting with the original iPod. It was the first phone where you could get your fix of Angry Birds while surfing the web, and watch that hilariously stupid video on YouTube for the 10000th time.

At the time even Microsoft couldn’t compete with that. No one could think of anything that could challenge the iPhone’s easy usability and how it was more than just a tool used to call your business associates or parents. It was more than a phone, it the start of a revolution. Apple had a huge advantage, and they knew it. Nothing could threaten them.

At least, that’s what they thought.

Motorola came out with the first true Android phone (sure there was the HTC Dream, but it got shafted to the side almost immediately after release) that could challenge the iPhone and what it does, but in it’s own way, (and in some ways, better).

In fact, the original Droid by Motorola saved the company from a certain slow and agonizing death. At the time Motorola’s outlook was grim as feature phones (anyone remember the Razor?) were being phased out by the consumer. Due to a massive advertising campaign, a deal with Verizon (and the fact that Verizon did not have the iPhone (at the time)), and a great, sturdy phone, Motorola saved themselves and jump started Android.

Apple’s hold on the industry was shaken with the success of the Droid. It was so similar, yet the differences in the two products were enough that made each their own. Once Steve Jobs saw Android, he felt betrayed. In his now famous quote, he said that

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

Ironic that he’s now gone (too soon?), and Android still exists, even with the barrage of lawsuits from Apple.

The only perceived weak parts in Android were fragmentation and hardware. In comes the little known HTC with their Sense UI and Hero device. HTC bridged the gap between usability and Android by creating a iPhone-like interface and releasing innovative features on their phones. Take the Hero for example. When released, it was the first Android phone that featured a 3.5 mm audio jack, multi-touch ability, the HTC Sense UI, and Adobe Flash Player.

Apple since has has gotten a few ideas from Android, whether they want to admit it or not. In the latest iOS 5 update, they made an option where if you swipe down from the top of the screen, all your notifications pop up, along with things like the weather and stocks. Something that was purely Android up until that point.

The disadvantages of the iPhone, though, are more physical than electronic. There’s no ability to use an SD card. Whatever you just shot a picture or captured video of, it’s locked into your iWhatever. It could only be taken out of the phone via (wait for it)  iTunes. And it’s default file type? Only something that plays in Quicktime Player first, and any other video player second.  Which makes it difficult to unlock your data for anything not Apple. Besides that, the only real issue with Apple that’s not physical that I have is Apple’s refusal to make Flash compatible with it’s products.

Android isn’t without its problems. Only 58.6% of Android devices run Gingerbread and it has been more than a year since it has been released. HTC hasn’t innovated the next ‘wow’ feature and malware has been a scare on the marketplace. Samsung is notorious for not supporting their phones with updates and there is a lack of UI continuity.

What separates iOS and Android is Apple’s tight, restrictive control, and the simple fact that there is one iPhone and many Android phones to choose from. It is almost a mirror image of the PC industry, where you have the many and dominate Windows-running computers and the small market Macs.

For now, I prefer Apple’s sturdy-but-limited software to the Android’s crazy-but-customizable ware. It’s mostly from personal experiences, but any Android phone I’ve ever owned didn’t work. At all. Any time I tried to do something, it crashed. Apple, now, I’ve never had that issue with. However, when my contract expires, I’ll probably be testing out a new Android phone, so maybe my opinion will change.

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