Since its 2008 debut, Android has grown – not only meeting all of the functionalities of the iPhone, but besting it in nearly all aspects. Here is our list of the top 10 things Android does better than the iPhone.
AU: A couple of the points are US-centric, but I promise the whole thing is still worth a read. -EH
1: Android can Run Multiple Apps at the Same Time
Starting with version 1.0, Android has been able to run multiple applications at the same time regardless of whether they are system apps or apps from the Android Marketplace. The current version of iPhone OS does offer limited multitasking, but only allows native applications such as Mail, iPod and Phone to run in the background. Android users benefit greatly from this discrepancy, as they can receive notifications, listen to music, or even record GPS data without keeping the application open. Apple will try to level the playing field with iPhone OS 4, granting developers access to a small and limiting list of APIs that can run certain services in the background, but it’s a long way from the true multitasking that Android has.
2: Android Keeps Information Visible on Your Home Screen
One of the key features Android has is a customisable home screen keeps active widgets right at your fingertips, always accessible and always visible – without having to launch an application first. There are widgets for just about every app in the Android Marketplace from playing music to checking the weather and keeping up to date on Facebook. Meanwhile iPhone users are force to flip through their app list to locate and launch each app. If you wanted to check the forecast, for example, you would have to find the app, launch it, and then wait for it to load. With Android, all of that information can be displayed directly on your home screen, never more than a finger swipe away.
3: Android Has a Better App Market
4: Android Gives You Better Notifications
5: Android Lets You Choose Your Hardware
6: Android Lets You Choose Your Carrier
7: Android Lets You Install Custom ROMs
8: Android Lets You Change Your Settings Faster
Smartphones have been gaining more and more functionality over the past few years: Wi-Fi, GPS, 4G, Bluetooth, etc. While these are all great and necessary additions, they have very adverse affects on battery life. In attempts to counter poor battery life, users have taken to toggling system settings like turning on Wi-Fi or 3G on only when they are needed. iPhone users are stuck digging around in the system settings every time they want to use the internet or a Bluetooth device. Android lets you use widgets to manage your settings directly from your home screen – and for those lesser-used settings that might not have dedicated widgets, you can also create shortcuts on your home screen to take you directly to the setting you want to change.
9: Android Does Google and Social Integration
With Smartphones giving us constant connectivity, it’s not surprising that the majority of our computerized lives are moving online. We have email for our messages, Flickr for our photos, Google Docs for our documents, and Facebook and Twitter for our social lives. Android offers the ability to integrate all of this natively. Your Gmail account can be automatically synchronized with your phone. Photos taken with your phone can be automatically uploaded to Flickr. Your phone can even be linked to your Facebook account and can sync your phone contacts with your Facebook friends – complete with profile images, email addresses, and phone numbers. The iPhone can do this only through use of third party apps, and is nowhere near as seamless to use as the Android alternative.
10: Android Gives You More Options to Fit Your Budget
If you’ve ever thought about buying an iPhone, you have probably noticed the price tag. The older iPhone 3G costs $US99 with a two-year commitment and performs sluggishly with the latest OS updates when compared to the 3GS (which will run you a whopping $US199 with two-year agreement). Because Android is an open source platform, it is very cost effective to implement which means savings for the end user. Every major cellular carrier (except for AT&T) has at least one Android phone available free with two-year agreement. Of course these are lower end Android devices, but they are still comparable in performance to the iPhone 3GS. The most expensive Android phones (which significantly outperform the iPhone 3GS) are $US199 with two-year contract.