If you ask a group of people whether they belong to the Android or iOS camp, you’ll find it’s a sure fire way to draw a line in the sand. The type of phone and computer we choose to use every day is a significant choice, and many people swear allegiance to particular brands and/or operating systems.
Whether it’s the user interface, aesthetics, or compatibility with other products – there are many different reasons to go for Android or iOS.
Comparing the two, it can be agreed there is no greater group of brand loyalists than Apple fans. They live and breathe offerings from the tech giant, camping outside stores to get their hands on the latest products. All of their tech Apple products exist in perfect harmony, and they subscribe to a very strong brand identity – one that is clear cut, and cleverly marketed.
Given there have been no great changes to the shape of the iPhone, the home screen layout, and basic functionality, users can easily navigate around their phone and they know what to expect. It’s very easy to use; simply clicking in and out of an app, and for this reason the iPhone is more appealing to a less ‘tech savvy’ user group.
Another advantage Apple wields is that when it comes to apps, they dominate. Most apps are released on iOS first, however Android is playing catch up, and Android users can access most apps their fellow Apple users download. Apple also takes the cake when it come to access to music and video. ITunes is unmatched when it comes sheer size and availability.
Leaning towards Android
That said, I must admit that when faced with the line in the sand, I am starting to lean towards the Android side. I feel that over the years Apple has become less of an innovator and more about playing catch up, with fine tuning and little ‘tweaks’ here and there. As a fan of technology and innovation, I feel that I am slowly being pulled towards the Android ecosystem, because that's where most of the 'cool stuff' is happening these days.
One of the key benefits Android boasts is customisation, both software and hardware. Users can pick and choose the features they like best, whether it’s a big phone, or widgets on the home screen. Every user can create an experience that is exactly to their liking.
There are also hardware features that Apple does not yet offer, like waterproof phones, or a large variety of custom colours and unique materials (such as wood or leather backed phones).
Once you have made the switch to Android, I would argue that it's more difficult to go back to iOS. While you are locked into another ecosystem, this is one that provides you with more choices than just one brand and one set of hardware.
Whether it’s a Samsung phone, or eyeing up the latest Sony Xperia or HTC One, you have the choice between many different hardware setups.
The same goes for computability across the product ecosystem. You can opt for any number of smart watches or wearables that work with your phone, providing a greater freedom to pick and mix between phone and hardware products. There are other small advantages like (generally) a long battery life and a lower price point.
Android’s greatest strength (the ability to pick and chose) is also its greatest weakness, with no coherent brand identity that has mass appeal. Despite this, I think the tide is turning and Android is on the up and up. Already, major businesses are coming to me and asking the release of both iOS and Android products at the same time, which two or three years ago would have been unheard of.
Paul Lin is the CEO of app strategy and development agency Bunna.