Android and iOS, the mobile operating system that underpins the Apple devices, are the heroes of an epic war that we will remember over years, it the same way we are nowadays remembering other famous battles like Internet Explorer vs Netscape or Micorosft vs Apple in the 90’s.
The biggest mistake for us, the users, is that we passionately “fall in love” with one of the sides and we tend to back it up beyond the borders of ration. We like X or Y (Android or iOS) just because, without analyzing the situation pragmatically. That’s exactly how all of us behave in the battle between Android 4.2 and iOS 6. No passionate user will ever admit that his favorite can lose a battle against its rival.
Therefore, with passion and without promising that I will be impartial (it would be a lie to pretend that you are unbiased, as the subjectivism is the one that makes ideas personal) I will tell you the naked truth: the freedom is the one that makes the difference between Android 4.2 and iOS 6.
As a person that got to test smartphones and tablets belonging to both the sides of the battlefield over time, I’ve noticed the same thing each time. Android 4.2 is an operating system that gives more freedom to the user, bringing more configuration options, while iOS forces you to follow a certain way, sometimes rightly, sometimes artificial and incomprehensible. Whether it’s the right way or not, you have no other choice (jailbreak is out of discussion).
And, to be clear, I don’t like when somebody, not even Apple, tells me what to do with my device, trying to restrict my actions. I know, there are many of you who consider that you don’t need anything beyond the App Store and you don’t care whether you are capable or not to change certain aspects. But to me, and to may others like me, customizing the smartphone or the tablet in a way that suits my needs is very important.
Let me explain. In Android 4.2 I can install a custom keyboard, like SwiftKey, which brings a functionality level superior to the standard keyboard. In iOS, the best case scenario is to install an app that has its own keyboard then copy the text in other apps, like messaging, email, or web browser.
Android has a classic file system, where you can deal with the files anyway you want, using a file manager. iOS doesn’t come with such a feature. Each app has its own environment, and in order to transfer certain files from your computer, you will have to follow an arduous path via iTunes. I don’t even mention copying files from one app to another, which basically means to create a copy of the same file in each of the apps.
Moreover, in iOS 6 you can’t download free apps from App Store without configuring a payment method, even though you don’t need it. Apple wants it there, just in case.
On iPad you can’t put more than 20 apps in a folder. Let’s say I want to have a folder for all my games. Therefore I will start downloading games, for some I pay, some of them are free. But I just can’t have more than 20 games or apps in a single folder. Why?
Personally I don’t like the Newstand app. I just don’t use it, so I want to uninstall it. I can’t. Well, the Android phone makers are also using this “dirty” practice, but Apple won’t even allow me to move the Newstand app in a folder with “useless stuff,” so it won’t occupy precious room on the drawer. Why? I guess Apple can’t answer.
I am a fan of Google Chrome and I use it on my smartphone, tablet and PC. Therefore, I would like to use it as a default browser, to automatically open links from applications. Well, iOS 6 won’t allow me to set another default browser except for the “awesome” Safari. Microsoft had to pay billions of dollars just because it dared to include Internet Explorer in Windows. Apple won’t even allow you to change the default browser, and the customers are just smiling like nothing happened, like it is absolutely normal and beneficial for the users and the competition.
I like iOS 6 for its smoothness – when you are developing an operating system for a dozen of devices it’s much easier to optimize it, compared to one that runs on hundred of smartphones and tablets. I appreciate the battery life of the devices that employ iOS 6. I like it because the numerous applications in App Store, which sometimes look and behave better than the ones on Android.
Android has optimization problems and sometimes it runs less smoother than its competitor. The main problem is that you can’t build an operating system to runs perfectly on hundreds of devices. Another reason is the carelessness of the Android developers, who sometimes doesn’t care about the stability or the memory consumption of their apps. Moreover, the apps are developed in Java, an environment known for its performance issues.
As well if you are going for a low-end Android-powered smartphone, you will grow a beard waiting for the easiest tasks to be performed, while the RAM is full almost the entire time. But you can’t compare a $200 Android-powered smartphone with the iPhone 5, it’s just not fair.
I also blame the Android phone makers for the battery life, as most of them seem to don’t even care about this aspect. There’s one exception called Motorola, though.
Even so, with all the problems affecting the Android 4.2 experience and with all the bloatware installed by the phone makers then by the carriers, I like Android more because it gives me the freedom to choose, to configure. Talking about freedom, and the freedom of choice, just look at the hundreds of Android-powered smartphone models currently available on the market.
Well, if you don’t like the way that the phone makers are managing the Android updates, then buy a Nexus, then your OS will be always up to date.
Android 4.2 and all the previous versions allow the user to make his device more personal. On the other hand, the iOS-powered terminals are cold and impersonal, and the user seems just one of the thousands of chickens raised in a farm by the same standards. I just hope that that’s not how the future looks like.
Oh, and please forgive me for being “too passionate.”