Android Vs iOS – What Android could do to take a bite out of the Apple


Android Vs iOS

Last week was the WWDC, Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference (their version of Google IO), where they announced OS X Yosemite, iOS 8 and its massive Dev features. The consumer side of iOS 8 wasn’t massive, some nice update to features already in place and some further integration with its desktop counterpart. The bigger announcement was the Dev side of the release which added massive amounts of API’s and services to Apple Dev’s toolbox. In essence, they opened up their OS a little more, pushing the Android Vs iOS battle to new limits.

Android Vs iOS:

Apart from blowing their own trumpet (let’s face it, what company doesn’t at a developers conference?), Apple CEO Tim Cook wasn’t above taking a cheap shot at Android. When talking about iOS and it’s adoption by users, he boasted that 89% of users were on iOS 7, the latest OS available for mobile devices. Then he said that, compared to Android, that was massive, as less that 1/10 were on Android 4.4 KitKat. He even had a nice graph to illustrate his point.

Android Vs iOS
Tim Cook, Apple CEO, extolling the virtue of iOS against Android.

We know that Android is massively fragmented, with many devices still on OS’s from years ago. But as we recently reported, Android 4.4 KitKat was also up to 13.6% adoption in the last quarter alone. Ok, 13.6% isn’t the same as Apple’s 89%, but iOS isn’t on devices from dozens of manufacturers either.

Android Vs iOS - Mobile OS World share
A graph from The Next Web showing that Android is nearly at 80% at the end of 2013.

I couldn’t find any definite figures as to what the total spread of Android usage is, but we know it’s massive, and not confined to mobiles either. Because Android is Open Source, you can put it on any device with the correct hardware. As a result, you can find it on TV’s, Watches, Headsets, Tablets, Laptops as well as smart phones. iOS, on the other hand, is only on iPhone’s, iPad’s and iPod’s.

There are also some very big differences to point out between iOS and Android as pointed out by this article from JR Raphael at Computerworld,com:

  1. Despite fragmentation of updates, timely updates are available if you get the right phone.
  2. Both iOS and Android handle updates differently.

I won’t repeat what JR Raphael said, but I suggest you read his article, as it’s very well-informed.

Future of Android?:

No one for certain can say what the future will hold for the Android Vs iOS battle, other than it will keep raging till we all stop buying smart phones. There are, however, certain things that Android could do to help give themselves a boost in the fight.

First off, Android really needs to lay down the law with manufacturers and OEM’s regarding the vast fragmentation. Some manufacturers are better than others, some are more consistent than others, but one thing is for sure, with old OS’s like Froyo and Gingerbread still being used, it won’t manage to go forward any faster.

Android Vs iOS - Android Fragmentation
Up to Date figures show that Android is still vastly fragmented compared to iOS.

Second, Apple has the a small advantage in that they can integrate their mobile devices with their desktop devices. Android doesn’t quite have this luxury (yet?) but they can get round it with Chrome integration. In last weeks’ Apple Keynote, Tim Cook announced some very interesting features called Continuity, where both your desktop and mobile device will be ‘aware’ of each other, and when you start something on one, you’ll be able to finish it on the other without any set up or saving drafts. Also, text messages and Calls will be able to be answered through desktop devices from iPhone’s meaning that if you’re working at your desk, you can take a call without even taking your phone out of your pocket. There have been rumours that Google is looking into doing something similar to this too, however. The point is, Android need to help themselves to become more integrated with other devices and systems.

Android Vs Viruses:

Tim Cook didn’t just satisfy himself with taking cheap shots at Android’s fragmentation, he also commented on Android’s susceptibility` to viruses. Guess what? He had a graph for that too.

Android Vs iOS - Android magnet for malware graph at Apple keynote