I get it. There’s the iOS camp. There’s the Android camp. Both camps enjoy their sides for their own reasons. Just like in the Mac world, however, the opposite camp hurls lie after lie. Let’s call them out and, yes, many of these items will be repeats from earlier blogs.
1) OS Upgrades — iOS users on (up to) 2 year old devices will get the latest OS. Obviously, the older the device, the less features it may get, but Apple will allow phones that *should* be able to run them… to run them. Conversely, unless you own a Google Nexus phone or are nerdy/confident enough to root your Android phone and find the appropriate ROM(s), no updates for you. That means, whether your Android phone is 2 days old or 2 years old, you don’t get an update to the OS (but Samsung will be HAPPY to sell you this other phone to get the Android version you want).
2) Current OS — Similar to point #1, go into a store and buy the current iPhones on the market (4s, 5c, 5s) and you get iOS 7. Conversely, walk into any store and buy an Android phone. While the bigger names may give you Android 4.x, the x isn’t the same. Some will give you 4.0. Others will give you 4.1 or 4.2, or in lesser instances, I have seen 4.4. Now, 4.0 may have mostly everything you want, but what’s to say that 4.3 or 4.2 doesn’t have a security patch that you need. If you buy your new phone with 4.0, there’s no guarantee you will ever get to 4.4 (or even 4.1) without going through a process that no regular consumer should ever have to learn. Worse yet, I went to Sprint’s website to “shop” for Android phones. I found a couple that offer Android 2.3. You might argue, “…but it’s older and FREE, so who cares.” My rebuttal is, “Yeah, so is the iPhone 4s. It’s older. It’s FREE. It’s got iOS 7.”
3) Price. Touched in the last point. Both iPhones and Android phones range from $0 – Mid hundreds in price for subsidized pricing. So, Android loses on the whole “but it’s cheaper” point and loses on the “yeah, doesn’t matter what OS it has” point. As I’ve said before, it would not be acceptable to buy a new computer loaded with Windows 98 (or even XP or Vista), so why is it acceptable to buy a new phone and get Android that’s *not* the latest ***RELEASED*** version? It’s not.
4) I now know two people personally who have run into malware problems on Android. It used to be, “Well, that’s only in China…” or “Yeah, but nobody has come across it yet…” Now it’s “ok, but that’s only 2 people out of how many millions?” Let’s be clear about this. iOS has not been without its security flaws. We’ve all read about them and the most infamous was the Safari PDF exploit where one could go to a website and have their iPhone jailbroken. Out of every iPhone flaw I’ve heard, I knew NOBODY who actually had a problem. In the Android instances, I know TWO people. One had their SMS contacts compromised by clicking on a link (and SPAM went out), while the other one had a virus that their phone anti-virus didn’t catch.
5) Android phones REQUIRE anti-virus. Do I actually need to expand on the insanity of that statement? I guess I do. Phones are mini computers, but more intimately so. Pictures on the fly. Music. Contacts. Calendars. Notes. I’d rather that stuff be in a sand-boxed environment. While Android does have security measures in place (EVERY SINGLE PROGRAM seems to ask for access to contacts, photos, notes… things they wouldn’t normally need for any practical purposes), people just click ok because they’ve been conditioned to do so. Android does bare-bones warning and then pretty much says, “F##k it. The user said yes. It’s their fault.” As a support guy, I get that the user makes a lot of mistakes, but as a programmer, it’s my job to do *everything* to minimize it (not just half-assed attempts). It’s my job to think about what the user might do or how they might perceive what I thought was the perfect interface or warning/error message. To put the onus on the user is irresponsible.
6) “Android has the highest market share. It’s the most popular.” Regardless of all my points, it’s the most popular. Well, that’s what the Android camp would have you believe, but my points actually negate that. Android is not the most popular. Let’s revisit that revisionist thinking. In 2007, the iPhone came out. Other phone manufacturers had nothing to rival a phone that could run software except for that piece of garbage known as Windows mobile. So, they had three choices. Ignore the expensive iPhone and hope it goes away. Pay the licensing fees and pretend that Windows Garbage Mobile could compete, or take a chance with that new FREE OS that Google offered that was iPhone-like. Also, because Android was open source, the handset makers could build on it and make it their own (which is why Android is different on Samsung than it is on HTC). Long story short, because Android can be purchased anywhere on any phone, from the well-known Galaxy to the lesser-known ZTE (and because you can get anything from Android 2.x – Android 4.x on a phone you buy TODAY), Android isn’t popular. It’s just free to use for handset makers. Why WOULDN’T they use it. Android has become the new Symbian. It’s the new generic smartphone. If it weren’t the new generic, but an actual competing OS, even the shittiest of Android phones would have to be made to some hardware spec to run the latest released version Android for when the phone itself is released. It’s not. Again, I compare to Windows. Even the shittiest Windows computer has to have the bare bones hardware to run Windows 8 because that’s the current Windows OS TODAY! Finally, just to add some insult to injury to the handset makers who went this route, many pay Microsoft (and Apple to a lesser degree) a licensing fee for each Android phone sold. So much for free…
7) Android phones have better specs. YES. The high end ones typically do. The Galaxy S3 has a 4-core CPU. The iPhone 5 has a 2-core CPU (A6). Each core in the Galaxy even runs at a higher frequency. However, the S3 BARELY beat the iPhone 5 in most tasks. I think there even some rare instances where the iPhone 5 beat the S3. Then the Galaxy S4 came out about a year later with a faster 4-core CPU and it blew away the iPhone 5. The Android crowd was thumping its collective chests. So, it took a year to make a 4-core CPU that was already faster (clock-wise and DOUBLE the cores) good enough to actually fully tackle a 2-core chip running at a slower clock speed? That’s not something to be proud of. That something to be embarrassed about. (http://cdn.macrumors.com/article-new/2013/03/skitched-20130318-145500.jpg) Now we have the A7 in the iPhone 5s. It’s still 2-core and it’s 64-bit. Arguments about the merits of 64-bit aside (and proof is already emerging that 64-bit has benefits, despite the pseudo-nerds suggesting 64-bit is a gimmick or has no benefit without 4+ GB RAM), the A7 is destroying the A6 in benchmarks by approximately double the scores. A 2-core A7 at 1.4GHz is destroying a 2-core A6 at 1.3GHz (as well as numerous 4-cores). THAT is impressive.
8) Just to separate the points a bit, I refer to this page (http://hothardware.com/News/Google-Nexus-5-Super-Fast-Android-Phone-Challenges-iPhone-5s-In-Benchmarks) for more benchmarking proof. It shows how the upcoming Google Nexus 5 compares to the iPhone 5s as well as other Android devices (Motorola, Samsung, etc.). Remember, even though the iPhone 5s is not the winner in every category, it almost always ranks at the top. The difference — and this is THE MOST IMPORTANT difference — the iPhone 5s is the one with a DUAL-CORE chip. The others are boasting superiority with a QUAD-CORE chip. From my point of view, all those QUAD-CORE chips should be thorough embarrassed that a dual core CPU can even keep up, let alone smack them around in many benchmarks. See this page (http://www.phonearena.com/phones/Samsung-Galaxy-Note-3_id7984) which confirms that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is running a QUAD-CORE chip (Quad core, 2300 MHz, Krait 400) and 3GB of RAM, yet it can’t always beat the iPhone’s DUAL CORE A7 (1.4GHz) and 1GB of RAM. When it does beat it, it does so pathetically. The end user may not care, but techies should be thoroughly embarrassed to call that even remotely good. Sorry. All the CPU makers in this case have had their collective asses handed to them by Apple and their ability to make an insanely efficient mobile CPU. Deal with it.
I look forward to the pseudo-techie Android apologists to defend every point against Android that would not be acceptable in the computer world, but is, for inexplicable reasons, perfectly fine in the mobile world.