Android OS is one of the most fascinating inventions in the last decade. It holds major share of the smartphone devices over the world and has beaten off competition from Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, QNX and Blackberry.
While Android is a smartphone giant now, this was not the case from the beginning. It has evolved slowly over the past decade by incrementally adding features which makes it a strong mobile platform.
The first version of Android was Cupcake (Android 1.5), which had basic features like supporting third party apps, support for widgets, sharing videos and photos online, minimum internal storage, etc. The versions which followed like Donut (Android 1.6), Eclair (Android 2.0), Froyo (Android 2.2) and Gingerbread (Android 2.3) didn’t have any major functionality additions but all were significant for one reason or the other.
The next major upgrade was Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) as Honeycomb (Android 3.0) was only for tablets. This was a major revamp which completely changed the scene of Android. It had a major change in Holo UI along with features such as soft buttons on screen, face unlock, scrollable widgets, hardware acceleration of the UI and much more. This strengthened its position as an iOS rival and Android suddenly became a major threat to Apple. During this time, the Smartphone manufacturers started increasing the capacity of basic internal memory and powerful graphic processors.
After ICS, Jelly Bean was introduced (Android 4.1). The major change was Project Butter which made the navigation and overall experience of Android much smoother. Expandable notifications were another feature which was much appreciated in this update.
KitKat (Android 4.4) was launched next with Google focusing that it should run on even small and mid range devices to eliminate OS fragmentation. Main features include minor UI revamp, introduction of Android Run Time as optional, built-in screen recorder and much more.
After 3 years since ICS, Google finally realized that a revamp was long overdue and completely overhauled its OS. The result was Android Lollipop. Android Lollipop became known for its Material Design UI. Along with this, many impressive features were launched – Android Run Time replaced Dalvik Run Time, support for 64-bit CPU’s, Project Volta, support for lockscreen notifications and much more.
This is how Android has changed completely since the last decade. It is competing strongly with iOS. Lets have a detailed comparison with iOS/iPhone.
Android and iOS are the two major mobile Operating Systems. While Android OS is considered a bit heavy which requires powerful hardware, iOS is made with very careful consideration so that it does not hog a lot of system resources. iOS is perceived to be a smoother OS with less lags, even though fans of different OS tend to argue otherwise.
However, there are certain limitations with iOS. The customization options in iOS are very limited unless you have a jailbroken device. Another aspect of Android which is not present in iOS is the use of widgets. Android prides itself for the use of widgets on its homescreen, but we cannot use it on the main screen of Apple even till date. In iOS, widgets can only be used in Notification Center, which appears like a restriction to most users.
Some features which were launched in iOS are being seen in Android too now. For example, the use of Fingerprint Scanner in iPhone 5S was first of its kind and it will be launched as a native feature in Android Marshmallow.
And while Android is known to “copy” iOS, same goes the other way round too. Many new features of iOS – Swipe keyboard, spotlight search, widgets on notification center, lockscreen notifications were already present in Android.
One thing that Android is yet to master is iOS’ Siri. Android has tried various smart personal assistants via third party apps or Google Now, but let’s face it – it is not as smart as Siri.
Apple’s design of iPhone has always been admired worldwide. Since the first iteration, it boasts a metal body which no Android manufacturer used until recently. Apple’s design of iPhone has remained the same over the years but frankly, Apple haven’t felt the need to change it.
As mentioned before, Apple’s iOS is much more lighter than Android. While Android uses 4GB of RAM, Snapdragon Octacore processors, Apple still uses a Dual Core processor and 2GB of RAM which was 1GB until the latest iPhone 6S. iOS has been crafted with extensive care so as to avoid requiring strong hardware. This is one of the reasons why Android device prices are soaring higher and higher. Although Apple does not use premium hardware, its price is way too high which makes it a deal-breaker for a vast number of users.
Another aspect which is very important is the camera. Again Android uses 16MP or 21MP cameras. While until iPhone 6s, Apple was using 8MP cameras and arguably the Apple iPhone cameras are better than Android counterparts with Apple using its “iSight” technology.
This is where Apple beats Android hands down. Apple has portrayed itself as a premium brand since decades. One of the reasons for this is the quality of Apple iPhones. Android being open source, is being used by many small and upcoming manufactures for their low-end devices which somewhat diminishes its brand value as the handsets are not of the best quality.
Apple users are very proud of being associated with brand Apple and will display it very happily. It is a known fact that once you use a Apple product, there are very less chances that you will use any other product.
There are many users who switch from Android to Apple but you will find very few who are happy after switching from Apple to Android.
At the end of 2014, Android had the major overall market share of smartphone devices over the world at almost 85% while Apple has a market share of 12%. Android will continue to dominate this as it targets even the low-end and mid-range markets while Apple only targets high-end segment.
Apple tried to make a mid-range iPhone with plastic body with very average ratings. So, Android is set to lead Apple in the market share for quite some time now unless Apple comes out with something that appeals to the mass market. But, Apple has always targeted the high-spending customers and it continues to do so. That’s what makes Apple the richest company in the world in terms of market valuation. HWhen it comes to high-end market, Apple is the King!
Apple has recently launched iPhone 6s and iOS 9 while Android is also set to release Android 6.0 Marshmallow. With each smartphone giant releasing a new OS version every year with new features, this rivalry will continue for years to come.