Windows or Mac? PlayStation or Xbox? Pepsi or Coke? Brand rivalries are common and can divide us into two opposing camps. Fanboys and fangirls on either side of the debate will spend hours queuing up for new product releases and passionately defend their chosen brand against criticism either online or in person.
One of the biggest rivalries of recent years has been between Apple’s iOS devices (the iPhone and iPad) and Google’s Android operating system. Apple manages to get more of the news headlines whenever a new handset is launched or it releases a new operating system update, but Android advocates will argue for hours that their side is better.
And as any Android developer will tell you, the open-source operating system is definitely a smarter choice. The list of reasons could go on forever, but here are some of the standout points.
Android Offers Better Value
The price of smartphones has gone up a lot since the release of the earlier handsets in the late 2000s. That’s partly because of inflation, but it’s also down to the much more powerful hardware that’s crammed inside the case.
The iPhone has three price points: expensive, premium-expensive, and budget-expensive. The iPhone SE is the cheapest at $399, while you can easily find an Android device for less than $100.
Of course, a smartphone that costs about the same price as a basic microwave isn’t going to offer the same performance, but even when you look at the prices of comparative devices, Android is cheaper. The iPhone 12 will set you back $799, while the flagship OnePlus 8T has a price tag of $699.
Both Android and iOS push you to download the software through the official Google and Apple app stores because these are (generally) free of malware, reviewed, and controlled. Purchases made in these stores also see Apple and Google make money.
Apple has really locked down its devices, making it very difficult to install applications from outside of its App Store. Through the late 2000s and early 2010s, “jailbreaking” was a popular way to gain access to more features on iPhones and iPods by bypassing the protections Apple put in place.
However, Android users haven’t (usually) had to do this. Of course, you can root your Android device to get access to a few niche features, but you can easily sideload apps without having to jump through many hoops.
Sideloading is the practice of installing apps that have come from outside of the Google Play Store. There are many reasons why a developer may want to distribute their content this way and the official Android site offers a guide for developers on the different ways they can do it.
It’s common with mobile games as it means users can download the game directly from the developer’s website. The APK (installation) file for PokerStars and Fortnite can both be downloaded from their respective websites. To install them, the user just has to then open the file and follow the instructions. This means they don’t need to create a Google Play Store account or even have the store installed on their device.
Copy and paste, push notifications, home screen widgets, video recording, mobile payments, 4G, 5G, and HD screens are just some of the many features that have appeared in Android before iOS.
Apple often makes a big deal about some of its “pioneering” features, including widgets, front-facing cameras, wireless charging, and interactive notifications. But what it always leaves out is that Android had all of them first.
Apple fans will argue that the company does a better job of implementing them in iOS, but that often isn’t true.
Of course, not all Android phones get these features. The older and cheaper devices often won’t receive software updates and you need to buy a new device for any new hardware upgrades, but this is also true about iPhones and iPads.
Ultimately, Android is a more versatile platform, gives you more control over your device, contains features that are yet to be implemented by Apple, and nearly always offers better value.