I have been an IOS user since 2007 and have loved every new device and every new IOS release. Each new version (hardware or software) brought incredible innovation and was a pleasure to explore. Then we saw IOS 6 and it was boring. IOS 6 was very boring and was the first time I felt Apple was falling behind its main competitor, Google’s Android.
Integration with Google Services
Although I knew Android was gaining ground, I hadn’t realized how much it had advanced until I bought my Google Nexus 7. As an avid user of Google services (Maps, GMAIL, Calendar, Youtube, etc.) a Google device integrates very cleanly and easily with my beloved Google Services.
Application Integration with the OS
Apple’s walled garden means it decides what you should use and how you should use it. On an iPhone, the default maps app is the Apple Maps app and there is no way (without jailbreaking) to make Google Maps the default app. On Android, I can choose any app as the default as defined by file type.
In IOS, sharing from within an app is depending on the developer of each app. Some developers take the time to create links to the most popular services while others only link to the top 3-4 services. In Android, every app can register itself as a sharing provider and therefore any Android app can share with any service for which you have an app installed.
Customizing the look and feel
In Apple’s world, it is the best person to determine how your device should look and you have no visual or functional customization options. Android takes a completely different approach. Everything can be customized, changed or optimized. Check out the MyColorScreen gallery showing the homescreens of thousands of Android devices. These are actual homescreens and not designer renderings.
I love the Android Widgets. Widgets are small live apps you add to your homescreen which is a great way to get important information quickly without having to open an app. I have widgets for weather, my top stocks and Any.DO (my main to do app).
What IOS Still does better
As much as I like Android, there are still some characteristics I prefer on IOS.
- IOS has more and better tablet apps. Android is coming along nicely but too many apps are still not tablet optimized.
- iMessage is a great instant messaging service. Many of my friends and family have IOS devices which make iMessage the ideal way to communicate via quick short text messages. Sure Whatsapp is great but it doesn’t have an Android tablet version and not everyone has Whatsapp.
- PhotoStream is fantastic for sharing photos. Many of my friends and family have IOS devices which make phtostream a great way to share photos with family and friends. Photostream isn’t perfect and there are lots of issues but it is easy and built into IOS devices.
- I miss some apps. As much as I love the apps on Android, there are some IOS apps that I really love for which I haven’t found perfect Android replacements. This isn’t an OS problem but it is an important considering when evaluating Android. The Android market is growing but…
IOS 7 is an opportunity and Android 5 is coming
Apple is now under new leadership and I am hoping IOS 7 takes into account customer feedback. If Apple wants to continue dominating the mobile device market, IOS 7 will need to be clearly superior to Android. It will need to bring original thought and innovative concepts.
Google’s isn’t sitting still waiting for Apple to innovate. Tech pundits expect Google to release Android 5 (Key lime Pie) to be release during Google I/O May 15-17 2013.
Google is keeping the details of Key Lime Pie secret but here is my wish list:
- Performance profile – Google has to find a way to create and switch between performance profiles. A profile is a series of configurations related to a particular task. As an example, they can have a gaming profile mode that would ensure all of the devices capabilities are maxed to provide the most detailed and smoothest gaming experience possible. You can have a battery saver profile that minimizes device speed, increases push intervals, darkens the screen, etc.
- Sharing device and app state – I want Google to use its giant internet connected infrastructure to ensure my device’s all share their state with each other. As an example, if I am watching a podcast on my phone and stop halfway, I should be able to continue watching the podcast from the same location on my tablet. I want Google to create a mechanism to auto share this type of valuable info between devices (and apps on the devices).
- Video chatting - I know Google is pushing people towards Google + and wants customers using Hangouts but I think it would be fantastic if the hangout app was spun off into its own stand-alone product. I would love to see this hangout app on other platforms so I could video conference with iPhones or iPads.
- Internet Accessible Device Functions – I want Google to leverage its Internet infrastructure and make all device content and functions available via the internet. There should be a web interface I can use to check and send my device SMS’ . Same thing for installed apps and other device functions.
- Find my phone and antivirus – Google should build a device find feature into the OS and make the interface web accessible (like Find my iPhone). I should be able to locate my device on a map, make the ringer sound, remote lock my device and remote wipe my device. This should be a standard feature set and not a third party app service. At the same time, they should take a page from Microsoft’s playbook and build the security app into the OS (why should I have to pay AVG or Norton for this)?
- Google should ensure every device from any manufacturer can immediately install new OS releases and not have to wait until the manufacturer releases a custom version (even if some manufacturer apps get excluded). It doesn’t make sense that a manufacturer decides arbitrarily to stop updating a device or that a customer has to wait 6-12 month to get a manufacturer update. This is the one reason I stick to Google’s Nexus brand devices only. I hope the next version fixes this annoyance.