Apple vs. Android

It seems when it comes to Apples and Androids there is some pretty significant emotion from one side or the other and the line between the two seems to be well drawn.  

I am often asked about my opinion between the two and "what should I get".  While I have a favorite, which I will explain, my answer is not always the same.  As you read this, understand it is not an exhaustive comparison, it is my personal opinion.

For me it's all about the freedom of technology.  I have seen over and over, technology companies offer their wares and hold their "trade secrets" close to their chest with the idea that they are offering something no one else can offer.  While that may be accurate for the short term, history has shown that companies that don't play well in the sandbox often end up playing alone, or not at all.  You may recall how popular Palm Pilot's were back in the late 90's, it was the technology to have.  While Palm is still around, they no longer have the market.  Recently we had Blackberries ... all the rage, everyone had to have one.  Now, people are leaving them behind in droves.  These technologies were owned by a single company that propritetized their product in such a way that you could only use their product ... the problem was and is, they wanted full control and couldn't keep pace with the market.   

I find that Apple is very similar.  They offer a proprietized product and they don't allow competition (no one else can build any iPhone other than Apple).  There are some significant benefits to this.  They have control over the manufacturing so quality has to be excellent or they doom the brand.  They also control 100% of the software which one might argue that it makes their product more reliable.  I have to agree, from a quality and dependability standpoint, I think Apple (iPhones and iPod's anyway), are very dependable.  For this reason, I think they are a great solution for someone who is looking for a smartphone with some outstanding features.  

Apple has been around for a long time.  They continue to develop new technology and continue to be a sought after device.  But they are being forced to change their ways, and that's where I have a problem.  Not that they are changing, but that they are only doing it to remain competitive, not because it's the right thing.  For example, if you had an iPod years ago, you may recall that the generally accepted format for music files was MP3, while you could play all your MP3's on an iPod, when you bought music from Apple, you could only play it on an Apple device/software ... this was done to lock you into their brand.  I also recall that Apple agreed to prevent the Google Voice app from being installed on their device because AT&T Wireless did not want people to be able to make calls using their data plan because it was chipping away at AT&T's profits for per minute charges ... Apple complied with this and removed the app from the store ... I believe is has since been brought back.

Another thorn I have had was the necessity to install software on my workstation to accommodate the iPod/iPhone.  I didn't want iTunes installed and I didn't like the interface.  I understand the new iPhone's now allow you to connect via the cloud, but this came out of necessity.

I have a Gmail account, so I am already in favor of a smartphone which allows me to sync my Google contacts and calendar seamlessly.   Couple with that the fact that you don't need any other account or software to complete the setup of your phone and before you leave the cell phone store, all your contacts, email and appointments have been loaded onto your phone and voila we have liftoff.  

One of the most important features as far as I am concerned is that the Android system is the same across the board.  It's open source so any manufacturer can use it (albeit each manufacturer can customize it with bloat ware or make it less reliable).  Non of that takes away from the fact that it is open source.  Companies have a free platform from which to base their phones, tablets and other technologies, so you are learning one technology that will be largely the same on your next phone.  Cell phones are changing so quickly as are the versions of Android and iPhone.  I like that with Android there are multiple brands (Motorola, HTC, Samsung and many more) who all make Android devices.  It's a huge pool of products to select from and truly encourages competition.

Something else that puts Android ahead of the pack for me is the integrated features like navigation which historically has been an added feature on the iPhone.  Also the Google voice recognition will learn your voice so when you get a new phone, there is no re-training, it still knows who you are.  

Android also allows for the use of widgets (applications that run on the desktop, such as your email, calendar, weather, stocks, you name it).  These applications can be running simultaneously and multiple on the same screen which means all you need to do is turn your phone on to see you email or calendar.  You don't have to hop in and out of applications.  Another great feature is that setting up Google+ will offer the ability for all your photos on your phone to be pushed to PIcasa.  This is another great feature which ensures I won't lose my data.

Aside from the functionality, there is the matter of Apple being sue happy.  I have heard of suits because devices are using a swipe action, because a laptop is shaped similary to a MacBook and because a cell phone has a similar shape to the iPhone.  This article ( details some of these issues better than I can.  I have to say that these suits brought on by Apple seem frivilous to me (the shape of a laptop has nothing to do with it performace or it's branding ... that's what a logo is for).  And the swipe action?  The more mature in the group may recall the old rotary phones, wasn't that a swipe action and weren't those phones the original ones to have a ring ... didn't Apple copy that? This is the rediculousness that I am talking about.  Ya, this is where I get soidified in my opinion. 

For someone that wants just stability and is not as interested in features and capabilities I would probably suggest iPhone.  For others who like technology, particularly those who already have or are willing to move to a Gmail account, and /or anyone who has a Google Voice account, they really need to have an Android.  You can have Hotmail, Yahoo and other email providers on either iPhone or Android, but the complete integration with Android and Gmail is excellent.  I personally like having multiple brands to choose from.  I also want to align my skills and experience with who I will expect will be around for the long term, and for me, that's Android.