Wednesday, 16 January 2013

10 Features That Make Android Better Than iPhone

By Nancy P White

There once was a time when iPhones looked like they had absolutely no competition in terms of features and design, but not anymore! Android may have been a late entrant to the smart phone market when the first model appeared in Q4 of 2008, but over the past four years, Google has been working with manufacturing partners such as Samsung, HTC, Motorola and others to bring out devices that sometimes outshine Apple's iPhone in terms of features and design.
While Apple fans have always been snobbish about owning the best smart phones in the world, here are 10 features, which may make them change their opinion (at least gradually).
1. Storage Capacity
The maximum storage capacity that an iPhone has is 64GB. On the other hand, android devices have the option of expandable storage. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy S3 comes with options of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB internal memory, which can be further expanded by 32GB with a micro-SD card.
2. Easier app policy
While Apple fans rave about the stringent app controls that ensure only the best iPhone apps make it to App Store, the fact is that it makes it extremely difficult for iPhone app programmers. In comparison, Google allows anyone to publish apps on the Play store, as long as they follow the policy guidelines. This greatly simplifies the process for programmers and drastically cuts down the time to market in the development process.
3. Customized browser, apps and email client
iPhones come preloaded with default apps for email and browsing, while android gives users the option of downloading any browser or email app. In fact, unlike the built-in keyboard on iOS devices, android users have the choice of downloading keyboard apps that provide several options for on-screen keyboards, which enhance user experience.
4. Access to other app stores
Although Google has its own app store - Google Play, it also allows users to download apps from alternative app stores such as Amazon and Opera, to name a few.
5. More choice of devices
While the iPhone has only one new model and several older versions, android users have a wide range of devices to choose from since there are multiple manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Sony Ericsson. From screen size and pricing to the weight of the device, there's certainly more than one option!
6. Better Maps
When it was launched, iPhone 5 did not support Google Maps but had Apple's own map app, which was disappointing in comparison. There's no denying that Google Maps is the best mapping app around, and although Apple has reintroduced the Google Map app, users say there are still some issues with app support.
7. Standard cables and connectors
All android devices come with standard cables and connectors with which you can easily connect to your laptop or other media. Even if you lose or misplace a cable or connector for your android device, it's easy to replace as they are standardized unlike the iPhone's lightning connector, which doesn't plug into older devices and docks.
8. Widgets
Android devices come with widgets, which speed up information access a great deal. Popular android widgets such as Clock & Weather, Business Calendar and Google Reader make it much easier to browse through information quickly. The iPhone does not support customized since it does not support Flash (which most widgets are based on).
9. NFC
Apple is still in the process of providing NFC support to iPhones. In all probability, it will come with the iPhone 6 in late 2013. Android users are way ahead in this aspect as the platform supports NFC not just for payments but also for sharing contacts, photos, videos and files by just tapping phones against each other.
10. Google Services
With everything accessible through the cloud, Google's storage support and cloud access services are far superior to Apple's. Google Drive allows android users to sync information easily. The iCloud services on iPhones still have a long way to go in order to catch up with Google's might.
For those who remember the old Avis car rental campaign "We're #2, so we try harder," this seems to have been the android mantra over the past few years. While Apple has rested on its laurels for having the best devices in the world, android manufacturers have truly worked harder at bringing out devices that not only match iOS devices in terms of user expectations, but also outperform them on specs and features. Although iPhone users will never admit that android is better, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Android activations have surged by 57% in 2012. It remains to be seen whether they will finally take the top spot from Apple in 2013.
Nancy is a lead Android App UI designer at TechAhead, she loves to write about latest mobile technologies on her blog. She sees iPhone apps development as a companion rather than a competitor to Android.
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