Minggu, 20 Mei 2012

iPhone or Android

iPhone or Android: Which Smartphone Should You Buy?
13 factors to consider before you buy

When you're looking for a new smartphone, choosing an iPhone or Android phone isn't a simple task. While both phones offer a lot of great features, they may seem so similar that it's hard to distinguish between them. If you look closely, though, you'll find that there are some key differences. Thirteen of those differences are examined here to help you decide whether an iPhone or Android phone is right for you.

1. Hardware: Choice vs. Polish

Hardware is the first place that the differences between the iPhone and Android become clear. Apple is the only company that makes iPhones, giving it extremely tight control over how the software and hardware work together. On the other hand, Google offers its Android software to many phone makers (Samsung, HTC, LG, and Motorola, among others, offer Android phones). As a result, Android phones vary quite a bit in size, weight, features, user experience, and quality.

It’s not uncommon to hear that some Android phones regularly overheat or freeze up or that some models are simply low quality. This inconsistency of quality isn’t an issue for the iPhone.
Apple offers users a single choice: what model of iPhone do you want (3GS, 4 or 4S), not what company’s phone and then what model. Of course, some people may prefer the greater choice Android offers. Others, though, will appreciate the simplicity and quality offered by the iPhone.

2. OS Compatibility: A Waiting Game

If you want to make sure you always have the latest and greatest features that your chosen smartphone operating system offers, you have no choice but to buy an iPhone. That's because Android makers are very slow about updating their phones to Google's latest Android OS releases--and sometimes don't update their phones at all.

While it's to be expected that eventually older phones will no longer have support for the latest OS, Apple's support for older phones is generally better than Android's. Take for instance, iOS 5, its latest OS. It includes full support for the iPhone 3GS, a nearly three-year-old phone as of this writing. Because of that, roughly 75% of iPhone 3GS-4S users were running iOS 5 6 months after its release.
On the other hand, Android 4.0, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich, is running on just 2.9% of Android devices 6 months after its release. This is partly because the makers of the phones control when the OS is released for their phones and, as that linked article shows, some makers have been slow to release it to their users.
So, if you want the latest and greatest as soon as it's ready, you need an iPhone.

3. Apps: Selection vs. Control

While the iPhone App Store offers more apps than the Android Market--about 425,000 versus 250,000--overall selection isn’t the only factor. Apple is famously strict (some might say unpredictable) about what apps it allows and how it changes its policies, while Google’s standards for Android are somewhat more lax. Many developers have complained about the emphasis on free apps for Android and the difficulty of developing for so many different phones. 
As a result, not all of the best apps make it to Android, and those that do don’t necessarily run on all phones.

4. Gaming: A Growing Giant

Just a couple of years ago, video gaming--and especially mobile video gaming--was dominated by Nintendo’s DS and Sony’s PSP. The iPhone has changed that. The iPhone (and iPod touch) has rapidly become a major player in the mobile video game market, with tens of thousands of great games.

The growth of the iPhone as a gaming platform, in fact, has led some observers to forecast that Apple is well on its way to eclipsing Nintendo and Sony as the leading mobile game platform.

Beyond that, the general expectation that Android apps should be free has led game developers interested in making money (i.e., almost all of them, and certainly all the major ones) to develop for iPhone first and Android second.
In fact, due to various problems with developing for Android, some game companies have stopped creating games for it all together.
While Android has its fair share of hit games, the iPhone has the clear advantage here.

5. GPS Navigation: Free Wins

As long as you’ve got access to the Internet and a smartphone, you never have get lost again thanks to the built-in GPS and maps apps on both the iPhone and Android. And while both platforms sport GPS appsthat can give drivers turn-by-turn directions, only one has a high-quality, spoken turn-by-turn GPS app that’s also free: Android.

Android users can use Google Maps Navigation, an app that’s not available for iPhone, to get free turn-by-turn directions to virtually anywhere. While there are lots of other GPS apps for both platforms, there’s no equivalent free app for iPhone.

6. Flash

The iPhone famously doesn’t run Flash--and never will--and makers of Android tablets trumpet that their devices do. If tablets using Android can run Flash, will Android phones be able to do the same?

At one point it was hard to say, but now we can: the answer is no. Or not any more than they can now. That's because Adobe, the makers of Flash, have ceased development of Flash for Android.

After reports that the experience of running Flash on Android was never very good--many reviewers have pointed out that Flash doesn’t work terrifically well on Android tablets and that it drains batteries quickly--Adobe's decision seems to validate Apple's original point: Flash is bad for batteries and device stability.
While its lack of Flash prevents the iPhone from viewing some web content, many sites have alternate versions that work with the iPhone. So, iPhone users do miss some of the web, but less and less all the time. And, they may miss the parts of the web, but with HTML 5 set to displace Flash and Flash's own maker admitting it can't make a version that works well on Android, you'd have to conclude Apple wins this one.

7. Battery Life: Consistent Improvement

Because of the greater variety of hardware used in Android phones, Android’s battery life is more varied and, on average, less than the iPhone’s. While early iPhone models had batteries that required a charge nearly every day, that’s no longer true. With recent models, it’s easy to go days at a time without needing a charge.

The story is much more complex with Android, thanks to the large variety of models that run it. Some Android models now have 4-inch screen or 4G LTE networking, both of which burn through much more battery life. To get a sense of what that means, some 4G LTE Android phones are being touted as successes because they can work 8 hours straight without a charge. That means they don't last an entire day, just a work day. I'm sure the faster networking is great, but that's too much of a trade-off for me.
Add that to the battery-intensive apps Android phones run, a charge every day (or less) isn’t unheard of.

8. Screen Size: How Big Is Too Big?

If you're looking for the biggest screens available on smartphones, Android is your clear choice. It's not uncommon to find Android phones with 4.3-inch screens, and the HTC One X offers a 4.7-inch screen, while the Samsung Galaxy Note stretches the ruler at 5.3 inches. So, for sheer size, Android it is.

The question, of course, is whether a screen that big on a phone is actually a good idea. After all, phones go in our pockets or purses, they're held in our hands and to our faces, where huge devices may not necessarily be a benefit. And as we've seen already, large screens consume more battery power.
To date, Apple has always offered the same size screen on the iPhone: 3.5 inches. Instead of making it bigger, its new screens are better: the Retina Display technology makes them much higher-resolution than Android screens. Still, if it's raw size you're after, Android's the choice.

9. Networking: Android Leads in 4G

For the fastest wireless Internet experience, you have to go to Android. That's because--for now--only Android devices support true 4G LTE networking, the wireless data standard that is succeeding, and outspeeding, 3G.

Not all Android devices have 4G LTE, and not all areas of the U.S. have 4G LTE available yet, but if you've got a compatible device, have an available network, and are on a carrier with 4G LTE, some Android phones can offer blazing-fast speeds.
While iOS 5.1 changed some iPhone signal-strength indicators to show "4G" instead of "3G," there's no true 4G LTE iPhone--yet (click the link above to find out why). It's a virtual certainty that the iPhone will include 4G at some point in the future, the question is only when. When that happens, this category will be a tie.

10. Carriers: 4 vs. 3

If you like to have a lot of choices, Android is your best bet. Just like there are many Android phones from many companies, you can also get Android phones that work on any of the U.S.’s four major phone carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
On the other hand, the iPhone is only available on AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. Both options are available through the many small, regional carriers in the U.S., too
So, if you’re already a T-Mobile customer, or just want maximum flexibility, Android should be your choice.

11. User Experience: Elegance vs. Customization

People who like complete control over the customization of their phones, and want to be able to fiddle the lowest level functions, will prefer Android thanks to its greater openness (one downside of this, though, is that each company that makes Android phones can tweak them, sometimes replacing default Android apps with inferior tools developed by that company).

Taken as a comparison done on a features list, the distance between Android and iPhone doesn't seem that far--and it seems that Android is ahead in some areas. And while that's true, the experience of using a phone, a device that's with you all day long, doesn't boil down to what boxes get checked. The experience is driven by quality and attention to detail, how the device works and how you feel about it. There's a reason people feel passionately enough about the iPhone to wait hours to get one on the day of a new model's release. This happens sometimes with Android phones, but less often and at lesser scale.
Most people want a phone that works well, lets them run the apps they want, and is easy to use. On that front, the iPhone wins hands down. Apple’s intense focus on ease of use, quality experience, and things just working (see hardware, apps, and Flash above for examples of how Android’s openness can make life harder) makes it the clear choice for most users.

12. User Maintenance: Storage and Battery

Apple prizes elegance and simplicity in the iPhone above all else. That’s a major reason that users can’t upgrade the storage or replace the batteries on their iPhones (it’s possible to get replacement iPhone batteries, but they’re have to be replaced by a skilled repairperson). Android, on the other hand, is open to user customization, meaning that users can change both phones’ memory and battery.

The trade-off is a bit more complexity and a bit less elegance, but that might be worth it compared to running out of memory or needing to pay for a battery replacement equal to a large percentage of the cost of your iPhone.

13. Cost: Is Free Always Best?

If you’re particularly concerned with what your phone costs, you’ll probably choose Android. That’s because some Android phones, when paired with a new two-year contract from a phone company, are free. The cheapest iPhone--also with a two-year contract--is currently US$49.

For those on a very tight budget, that may be the end of the discussion. If you’ve got some money to spend on your phone, though, look a little deeper. Free phones are usually free for a reason: they’re often less capable than their more-costly counterparts. Getting a free phone may be buying you more trouble than a paid phone.
Otherwise, expect to spend $199-$299 (with two-year contract) for the newest and best Android phones or iPhones.

14. Bottom Line

The decision of whether to buy an iPhone or Android phone isn’t as simple as tallying up the winners above and choosing the phone that triumphed in more categories (7-5 for the iPhone, with one tie, for those counting). That’s because all of the categories won’t count for the same amount to all people. Some people will value hardware or carrier choice more, while others will care more about battery life or mobile gaming.
While it should be no surprise that the guy writing an iPhone website might prefer the iPhone, Android phones are good choices for many users. You’ll need to decide what factors are most important to you and then choose the phone that best meets your needs.

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