I’ve been an avid Apple supporter for years, and have owned iPhones in various incarnations since their launch on June 29th, 2007 (Yes, I was one of the unfortunate / foolish folks who shelled out $599 for the shiny new handset). Over the past five years I have watched both iOS and Android grow, but my focus has always remained on Apple. When I was due for a phone upgrade about two years ago I naturally gravitated towards a new iPhone 4 and likely would have purchased it solely based on my belief in Apple, regardless of the phones new features.
Until recently, my experience with Android devices had been quite limited. What initially turned me off to them was that, despite having great specifications on paper, they couldn’t seem to accomplish even the most basic tasks smoothly. Things like scrolling through a list of contacts or zooming in on a web page made it seem like the hardware and software were fighting with each other. The unification of software and hardware is an area that Apple has always prioritized, especially with its iOS platform.
I became eligible for a phone upgrade a short while ago and, up until quite recently, had decided that I was going to wait for the next iPhone. However, after some coercing by some of my Android-loving coworkers, I decided to do something pretty scary – ditch my iPhone in favor of a device powered by an operating system that I’d been so against for so long. I was hesitant to say the least, but after doing some research and weighing the pros and cons, I ultimately made the switch. I ended up purchasing a Samsung Galaxy S3, and can say that after using this phone for about ten days, I don’t regret switching one bit and really couldn’t be happier with my decision.
One major plus Android has going for them, from a developer’s standpoint, is that you can develop Android apps for free. Apple charges a yearly $99 subscription fee to be a part of their iOS Developer Program, and while that may not be a lot of money if you’re an established company, it’s a lot to ask from someone who just wants to be able to develop for mobile devices as a hobby, with the hopes of one day maybe submitting an app for sale.
Recently, Google has begun to roll out their new operating system –Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. One of the core features of Jelly Bean, known as “Project Butter”, is meant to help the operating system run as smoothly as possible. Using technologies like triple buffering and vertical sync, the OS is able to run silky smooth, which really hits Apple in an area that iOS has absolutely dominated until recently.
The future is looking very bright for Google, as they’ve resolved the vast majority of the issues that I’ve had with their Android platform and, in my opinion, have caught up to, or surpassed, iOS in nearly every way. While the iPhone UI is still slightly more polished, the differences are becoming less and less significant and are easily outweighed by the additional capabilities, raw performance, and overall sense of freedom that the Android platform provides. I can safely say that iOS will always hold a special place in my heart, but it definitely won’t be occupying a special place in my pocket anytime soon.