Even though BlackBerry is still (technically, barely) alive, and even though Windows has finally crossed into the mobile market with Windows 8, the fiercest battle on the phone front is still between two primary parties: Apple and Android.
So, what’s the big difference? Aren’t all smartphones basically the same thing?
Not exactly. While there are many similarities between the two, one main factor creates vastly different user experiences: one operating system is open-source, and the other is very much closed.
iPhone users: take a minute to try to change the default map program on your device. Go ahead—I’ll wait.
…It didn’t work, did it?
iOS, Apple’s operating system, has your phone locked down; there is very little that you can customize on your iPhone, including the apps that you put on it (though there are more than plenty “approved” apps to choose from).
While this obviously prevents users from having certain freedoms, it also creates a fairly homogenous user experience and, by extension, an enormous support community. If I have a problem with my iPhone, I can turn to any other iPhone user and ask for their advice. Nine times out of ten they’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, and can solve my problem on the spot.
Android users: take a look at another Android phone. Better yet, take a look at any software developer’s Android.
Does the interface look anything like yours?
Anyone who has the ability to create a mobile app can use and sell their app on Android’s operating system, no questions asked. You could build an app all for yourself, and be the only person in the world with that particular capability on your phone.
These phones are highly customizable, and your user experience will largely depend upon personal preference. This, in turn, means that it’s a bit more difficult to find support when you need it. The open-source format also means no quality control, along with the risk of security issues.
The question of “which is better,” then, would be more appropriately phrased “which is better for you.” It all comes down to what you would feel most comfortable traversing—a clearly-defined path, or an open meadow.
[xyz-ihs snippet="1"]Thinking of switching from BlackBerry to Apple? From Apple to Android? Email us for the factors that you should consider before making the leap.[xyz-ihs snippet="2"]