When it comes to smartphones, you’re typically a member of one of two camps: team iPhone or team Android. While I don’t personally believe that either side is 100 percent better than the other, both phone services have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. As someone who is a dedicated Android user, and has a history with various Apple products, I feel fairly qualified to compare and contrast the two brands.
The biggest benefit of being an iPhone user is being able to indulge in Apple’s shared ecosystem. In addition to the iPhone, Apple has the iPad and MacBook as parts of their suite of products, and jumping back and forth between them is a really cool experience. To use a personal example, I have three different Sony PlayStation devices, and there are certain games that I’ve only had to buy once, but can play on all three of them. In addition, my friends, messages and account information are synced across all of my registered products. This is also the case with Apple products, only on a much larger scale. All of Apple’s products use similar software, making it really easy for the company to provide timely updates to each of them.
Speaking of software updates, this is easily the biggest knock against Android. Every version of the iPhone is manufactured and sold by Apple, but this is not the case for Android. I see people all the time that think the only Android phones are the ones made by Samsung. In reality, there are tons of companies that make Android phones. Motorola, HTC, OnePlus, Huawei, and Nexus, each have a history of making really well received Android devices.
While there may be a ton of hardware manufacturers for Android, all of the major software updates come from the same place, similar to Apple’s iOS versions. This is where things get tricky. iOS is delivered to only a handful of versions of the iPhone, and Apple seems to be pretty good about optimizing them for each iteration. Android updates are expected to be delivered to dozens and dozens of different phones, and the developers have to tailor the updates to each different model of phone. This means that some phones won’t get certain updates for months or maybe even a year.
For example, I currently use an HTC 10, one of the more notable and powerful Android phones released this year. The newest version of Android is Android Nougat, (also known as Android 7 or Android N). At the time of this writing, the only phone to carry Nougat out of the box is the recently released Google Pixel. My HTC 10, along with many other 2016 flagships, won’t be receiving the update until sometime in early 2017. This is my biggest complaint with Android; lack of timely updates.
My favorite thing about Android has to be the ability to freely customize my experience. Apple doesn’t allow for much flexibility in the software of their iPhones, as they are pretty serious about having a seamless and connected user ecosystem. Outside of your Google account, Android devices don’t really care too much about that. Android allows you to do pretty much whatever you want with your device. Different launchers, messaging apps, icon packs, widgets, and the look of your phone is only limited by your imagination and technical know how.I love Android, so much so that I’d never consider switching to iPhone. But I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little jealous of iPhone users. They have access to a really well maintained ecosystem, a company that cares a great deal about their products and a super cool messaging service in the form of iMessage. Android and iPhone both make for fantastic services, and it is simply up to the customer to decide what unique features are most important to them.