Friday, 24 May 2013

My Android Conundrum: Benefits of Androids

This is a quick post on the benefits of Android, at least for me! Android is a mobile OS I have only used for a few weeks, and only on low-end devices like the HTC Wildfire S and the Samsung Galaxy Ace. During my brief usage of the platform I continually found my experience let down and hamstrung by shoddy hardware, terrible skins and compromised specifications. These left me annoyed at the terrible quality of the lower-end Android devices and searching for something better at the higher end.

These benefits really refer to the Android platform as a whole, but the high-end in particular, where the operating system is really allowed to shine.


The number of ways in which you can customise your Android’s software is incredible, especially when you realise that all of these customisations are available from downloads within the Play Store. Nothing in the iOS App Store allows for anywhere near that level of customisation. A good example of these are the Launchers like Nova and Apex, allowing you to change how the Android homescreens look and act, as well as the skins of individual icons. Another level of customisation is available with gaining root access of the device itself and installing custom ROMs. This is possible as Google makes their Android code open-source, allowing any developers to access it and change it however they want. Famous ROMs like Cyanogenmod and MIUI allow for a complete replacement of the original operating system that shipped with the device, and often supports the device years beyond its intended life cycle, for example, the Samsung Galaxy S was introduced in June 2010 with Android 2.1, and Samsung stopped supporting it at Android 2.3 in March 2012. Yet ROMs like Cyanogenmod continue to support the Galaxy S, up to the latest Android 4.2 with nightly updates.


Android also allows its apps to interact far more than those of iOS. Apple allows deep access to only its own apps: only Safari can be the default browser, only Maps can be the default Maps application. This is rubbish if you want to click on an address in Contacts and start using it in Google Maps. Instead you are automatically taken to Apple’s Maps. The “Share” function in iOS also provides few options for different files and links, far fewer than Android, where it allows different first and third-party apps to share all kinds of information on the fly, again something that iOS, even with its improvements with Sharing to Twitter and Facebook, simply can’t compete with.
The multitasking on Android devices, especially in its Nexus implementation is far more efficient and useful that that of iOS. A dedicated multitasking button, a clear screenshot of the open app and a simple “swipe to close” action. This is so much easier than iOS’s double-tap to open the multitasking tray and then pressing and holding an icon and then tapping the red “close” button. These types of things allow for far greater interactivity of information among different apps on the device.

Google - king of services

The final ace up the sleeve of Android is that it is made by Google, possibly one of the best internet and information service providers in the world. Google can leverage every one of its tools throughout Android to a level that none of the other mobile device creators can yet reach. This means that it has an advantage in all areas of email, social networking, productivity, search, maps and media. If an Android device can leverage all of these information technology tools effectively, then they stand a far greater chance of being a far “smarter” smartphone than any of the competition. In comparison with iOS 6, Google Now is more powerful than Siri, Android 4.2 can use offline dictation, and use many of its services on several different platforms. Until iOS 7 is released, it does appear like Android 4.2 does have a lead over it. Apple is a hardware and software company first, not a services provider, and it really needs to step up its game at WWDC 2013!

No comments:

Post a Comment