Picking the right cell phone
April 13, 2012
Fatty the Blue Collar Lunchbox asks: “Which is a better purchase: Android or iPhone?”
That’s an excellent question, one many people ask themselves and others when their cellphone contract nears its end. After two years with the same model phone many people are looking for something new to tinker with for two more. If it’s a basic phone you seek, then the decision is easier but, for new and current smartphone users, choosing something new can be a daunting task.
Manufacturers Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Blackberry and Apple all release different phones. But just like choosing a laptop, it’s what’s inside that most people are looking to buy: the operating system (OS). Top operating systems now are the Android OS, iOS (iPhone’s operating system), Blackberry OS and Windows Phone OS.
However, Fatty’s question wasn’t about the top four operating systems. It was only about two platforms: Android and iPhone. And that’s no surprise, considering the two are in direct competition with each other to dominate the U.S. market. Clint Boulton of eWeek.com, reported that Android ended 2011 with 53 percent of the total smartphone market share and iPhone had only 29 percent.
So what is about these two operating systems that makes consumers run to their local cellphone hotspot? Apps! Apps, short for “applications,” are programs that can be downloaded to phones that carry either operating system. From barcode scanners to coupon apps, from Angry Birds to Draw Something, from Love Quotes to the Yellow Pages, from anything to anything else there’s an app.
So which is better? The iPhone’s “App Store” or Android’s “Google Play” store (previously known as “The Market”)? The App Store does take a lead in the quantity of apps its store offers but when both app stores carry over 500,000 who’s going to split hairs?
But Apple Apps do have a longer shelf life. Dan Rowinski of readwriteweb.com, reported that Apple’s apps had a churn rate of 24 percent in the end of 2011 whereas Google’s apps had a churn rate of 37 percent. Both platforms contain many of the same applications or very similar ones. Only a few are unique to one OS.
A major argument by Apple fans, and other connoisseurs of Apple products, is that the iPhone has a sounder performance, has better ease of use, and is fast. It’s important to first consider what it is being compared when making that argument. There’s a difference between “easy to use” and “easier to use.”
In an usability battle between the Android OS and iOS, Android came out on top. Jacob, a usability tester at IntuitionHQ. com, put together a test to compare the length of time it took for users to perform the same functions in the same applications on both platforms.
The test also compared the success rate of the task. The usability of Facebook, Geocaching, Pandora, Soundhound, Google Translate and Twitter were examined and Android became the victor with nine points to Apple’s seven and a half. Both devices performed very well. So they’re both userfriendly, so what? The word on the street is that Android has more app crashes and “force closes” whereas Apple reigns strong. Well, think again. Forbes.com published research that says otherwise.
Cittercism, a research app company which analyzes crashes, gathered information from more than 214 million app launches between November and December of 2011 and found that all versions of the Google platform outperformed all versions of Apple’s. The main reason behind app crashes is that both platforms have so many updates released that app developers need to work to keep up with the changes.
So both platforms have similar apps, similar usability, and similar performance with Android having a slight lead. So what else is there? Both have web browsing and email capabilities, turn by turn navigation, talk to text, ability to watch videos/movies, take pictures, and have video chat capabilities.
So why do some people love either? Mainly preference. Some people prefer to have all Apple products while others prefer the expandable memory and universal features of an Android. Platform versus platform, either choice is solid.
Just remember, the iOS can be found on an iPhone but the Android OS can be found on devices by nearly all manufacturers. If you want a fast Android device that can house a lot of applications, music, and video while having a great flash camera, video chat, and HD camcorder then don’t shop in the bargain bin.
Even an iPhone 4 8GB (the most inexpensive iPhone option) costs $99.99 with a two-year contract with any cellphone provider. Don’t expect to pay less than that for a high end Android.
Thanks for the question, Sir Fatty. Anyone may submit questions, concerns or quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send them right away if you’d like to see them in the next Student Voice. Don’t forget to like “Rachel Responds” on Facebook and follow “RachelResponds” on Twitter.
Rachel Woodman is a senior majoring in marketing communications and minoring in journalism. She loves to work hard, play hard, and use clichés! Look for her Facebook page “Rachel Responds” and email her your questions or topic ideas to QuestionsForRachel@live.com.