It’s hard to imagine what life was like before smartphones. While we could call and text from the mobile phones we had before, they were not the feature-rich, mini-computers that we have today. That meant no HD video recording, no music streaming, and limited access to the internet and social media.
If you did have a smartphone, it likely ran Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system which was clunky and designed mainly for busy professionals to access their emails and calendar on the go.
That all changed with the release of the original iPhone in 2007. Suddenly, we had a device that was intuitive and far more powerful than could have been imagined beforehand.
Shortly afterwards, Google’s Android operating system began to appear on the market. The disjointed ecosystem and mish-mash of different hardware, screen sizes, and designs meant that early Android smartphones could not live up to the standards set by Apple.
More than 10 years on, is that still the case? Or has Android managed to catch up to the iPhone to offer a comparative or better experience to its users?
App Quality and Availability
In the late 2000s and early 2010s, there was a disparity between the Apple App Store and what is now the Google Play Store. There were more apps available for Android, but the quality of them was typically much lower. This was partly because Google had fewer restrictions compared to Apple.
The wide variance in device sizes made it more difficult for developers to create software that would look good on different screen sizes. In contrast, there was only one iPhone size until the iPhone 5 in September 2012.
Many developers opted to create apps only for the iPhone, or at least focus on an iOS app first.
Today the landscape is very different. It is now quite rare to find an app from a major company to only be released in one app store. They’re typically developed alongside each other, and offer very similar experiences.
This includes everything from social media apps like Facebook and Instagram to online shopping platforms like Amazon and AliExpress. Even games are usually available on both ecosystems, such as PokerStars which offers a unified experience for both tablets and smartphones that run iOS and Android.
There are some exceptions to this though. Some games are made exclusively for one platform, like Mini Motorways from Dinosaur Polo Club, which is only available with Apple Arcade, a subscription gaming service for iOS.
When you buy an Apple device, you can be confident that it contains hardware that is powerful enough for all the tasks you could reasonably throw at it. The most recent iPhone contains 3 GB of memory and a six-core processor.
Android users have to be a little more observant when choosing which smartphone to buy as different manufacturers opt for different components. Typically, you get what you pay for and price can be a good indicator of how powerful the device is, though you should look a little more closely.
Older Android devices were typically not as fast as the iPhone, but that isn’t the case today. Flagship handsets from companies like Samsung, OnePlus and Google all back in more power than the iPhone and can easily match its performance.
Apple’s marketing always shows its products as more than just a piece of technology. Its products are designed to be stylish and something that you would be happy to show off. This has been the case with the iPhone right from the beginning, with its curved back and simple layout.
Older Android phones were a little more clunky and had more hardware buttons to cater for the back, home, and switch buttons.
While, of course, style is a matter of subjectivity, it’s hard to argue that older iPhones didn’t look better than most Android equivalents.
Today though, Android devices have caught up, with some beautiful handsets that give the iPhone a run for their money.
If you’re an Apple fanboy or fangirl, you will always argue that the iPhone is a better and more beautiful smartphone than the devices from competitors. However, many of the drawbacks to owning an Android device no longer apply.
Samsung, OnePlus and Google all sell handsets that are just as good, if not better, than the iPhone. Additionally, if you choose wisely, you’ll likely save a lot of money in opting for one when compared to the iPhone which can cost upwards of $1,000 in certain markets.