Mobile // Mobile Devices
News
10/22/2011
10:30 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Android 4.0 Vs. iOS 5 Faceoff

Google and Apple introduced new versions of their smartphone platforms this month. Which is better for you?

Considered as a whole, today's smartphones--whichever platform they run--are amazing devices. They've long outgrown the simple ability to place calls and send text messages. Professionals and consumers alike use smartphones to manage their daily lives; to keep in touch with colleagues, family, and friends; to explore the world around them; and to serve as entertainment devices.

While you'll find a half-dozen smartphone platforms operating in the market, there are two clear frontrunners: Google's Android and Apple's iOS. These two platforms have seen explosive growth at the expense of the old guard smartphone platforms: BlackBerry OS, Symbian, and Windows Mobile. Not only have Android and iOS taken the lead, but also, they continue to set the pace with significant updates and improvements each year.

That's why it is so exciting to see Google and Apple go head-to-head this month with major system revisions. Google announced Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on October 19, and Apple released iOS 5 on October 12. Let's look at what these two new platforms (the platforms themselves, not third parties) bring to the table in their latest iterations.

Ease of Use:

Android 4.0: Google took major steps towards unifying the look and feel of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. By introducing a new system font, adding the ability to create folders on the home screen, and giving the platform a new look, Android is as attractive as ever. But it still suffers from complexity. Android devices (we're talking stock, not skinned) have deep settings menus that aren't always intuitive to figure out.

[ Take a look at our comparison of the two hottest new Android 4.0 phones, Samsung's Galaxy Nexus and Motorola's RAZR. ]

The trade-off, however, is a much greater degree of customization. Android devices have a sky's-the-limit appeal for tinkerers who have the time and skill to adjust their devices. Custom ROMs (think Cyanogen Mod) abound and can be used to take any Android device to the next level (though security often takes a hit). Android's appeal is far and wide in this respect and outclasses iOS 5.

iOS 5: iOS 5 grows more complicated with each revision, but is still the easier of the two when it comes to basic usability. Apple has not changed the general look and feel of iOS since it was first launched. This has pros and cons. The home screens are easy to navigate and adjust, but the settings menu grows deeper and deeper each year. Still, it is easier to make adjustments to the iOS system settings than on a typical Android device.

Here, the trade-off is that iOS 5 devices have a lesser degree of customization (OK, they have almost no customization). iOS 5 is the ultimate locked-down system. The only way to get under its skin, so to speak, is to jailbreak it. Once jailbroken, custom software can be added, but at significant risk.

Communications:

Android 4.0: Android of course integrates natively with all of Google's services. That means it speaks fluent Gmail, Google Contacts, Calendar, Documents, Maps, Search, Google+, Google Voice, and the like. If you're invested in Google's services as a consumer--or Google Apps as a business--Android destroys iOS with respect to Google integration (as it should). Android also supports Exchange and POP3/IMAP4 email, and can import the contacts, calendar, and email info from those systems. Android's Gmail/email app far outclasses the iOS email application when it comes to supporting secondary features, such as folders, labels, archiving, and so on.

iOS 5: iOS 5 supports Exchange, Gmail, and most POP3/IMAP4 email systems. It, too, will integrate contacts, email, and calendar info via Exchange. If you're a Google services user, however, the integration requires work-arounds. For example, though I use Gmail, I have it set up as an Exchange account on my iOS devices in order to sync email, calendar, and contacts. The email program has inexplicably remained a weak link in iOS 5's armor. While it is serviceable, it doesn't offer the wide array of controls that are available via Android 4.0.

Social Tools:

Android 4.0: Android leapfrogged iOS early on with respect to social skills. By using its own APIs and taking advantage of the APIs offered by Facebook and Twitter, it has built social networking into the platform itself. Facebook integration, in particular, is extremely strong with Android. By sprinkling features and functions of Facebook throughout the operating system, Android makes it a breeze to connect to and share with social networks. For example, the way Android integrates Facebook contacts into the native contacts application is brilliant.

iOS 5: iOS 5 continue to lack deep social skills. Apple did add some respectable and appreciated support for Twitter into iOS 5, but even that falls short. In iOS 5, it is possible to share pictures, web sites, and other content to Twitter without first launching the Twitter application, but that's about as far as it goes. For iOS 5 device users, third-party applications are necessary to complete the social networking picture. Facebook and Twitter for iOS are great applications, to be sure, but they offer a siloed approach to social networking and not one that's integrated into the platform to the same degree it is in Android.

Attend Enterprise 2.0 Santa Clara, Nov. 14-17, 2011, and learn how to drive business value with collaboration, with an emphasis on how real customers are using social software to enable more productive workforces and to be more responsive and engaged with customers and business partners. Register today and save 30% off conference passes, or get a free expo pass with priority code CPHCES02. Find out more and register.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Masond
50%
50%
Masond,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/27/2012 | 11:58:39 AM
re: Android 4.0 Vs. iOS 5 Faceoff
Android 4.0 is a great operating system and definitely a threat to iOS5. This is another great article comparing the two systems: http://fapobee.blogspot.com/20...
ESANDERS000
50%
50%
ESANDERS000,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/25/2011 | 8:40:28 AM
re: Android 4.0 Vs. iOS 5 Faceoff
You don't read that much do you?? or maybe you are some 5 year old who is learning to read!!
moarsauce123
50%
50%
moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
10/24/2011 | 10:55:45 PM
re: Android 4.0 Vs. iOS 5 Faceoff
This is the worst article I've ever read in my life.
EVVJSK
50%
50%
EVVJSK,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/24/2011 | 6:58:10 PM
re: Android 4.0 Vs. iOS 5 Faceoff
The fact that the subtitle says "Which is better for you" is refreshing !
The comment that you make saying that various ROMs and other configurations allow for customziation/flexibility is also refreshing. People should chose what works for them. The job of journalists and even those commenting, is to educate about possibilities. There will always be some who "just want to use the device", while there will be others that "want to push the device to it's limits and beyond". Neither is a bad thing, except when someone tries to demand that other think like they do.
danielrech
50%
50%
danielrech,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/24/2011 | 6:46:58 PM
re: Android 4.0 Vs. iOS 5 Faceoff
The simple fact that this article doesn't end with "iOS rocks, Android is poo" is refreshing. It is actually fairly unbiased regarding the usual informationweek's editor standards.

Congratulations Eric, looking forward to reading more of your articles.
craigjh
50%
50%
craigjh,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/24/2011 | 6:42:35 PM
re: Android 4.0 Vs. iOS 5 Faceoff
How can iOS get the win for media?!?!? You're limited to what apple supports and that means no basic standards like DLNA, MicroUSB, and MicroHDMI. You also have no upgradeable storage where as most Android devices take storage cards. Take your pick of Google Music or Amazon Music for cloud music storage. The Amazon mp3 store is great and I think Google has one coming. Take your pick and enjoy some price competition!
craigjh
50%
50%
craigjh,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/24/2011 | 6:35:50 PM
re: Android 4.0 Vs. iOS 5 Faceoff
Android has had folders for years - long before iOS did. ICS just changed the way you create them.
Rhonindk
50%
50%
Rhonindk,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/23/2011 | 9:04:41 PM
re: Android 4.0 Vs. iOS 5 Faceoff
One that is frequently missed is Amazon.
The mp3 player is fantastic and the cloud offering is great!
You can load all your music. Any new music can be saved to the cloud.
On each device you have the option of auto downloading your music to have off-line files for use.
Another option we are seeing more of is centralized document storage.
Was good, ICS is improving.
Wish this was available on iOS.
Queixa
50%
50%
Queixa,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/23/2011 | 2:25:36 PM
re: Android 4.0 Vs. iOS 5 Faceoff
Google Music is AMAZING. And it's not that it takes a long time to set up on your computer -- it's that it uploads your entire collection of .mp3 files into the Cloud so you can access them from anywhere you have Internet -- your Android phone, your computer at work, etc. The uploading takes a long time, but the setup is relatively painless.

The player itself needs some refinement and some bug fixing, but I am already seriously considering just backing up all my .mp3s to DVD, deleting them from my hard drive, and just using Google Music.

Oh, and this seems to be far more advanced than anything Apple is offering.
McGheeww
50%
50%
McGheeww,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/22/2011 | 5:26:41 PM
re: Android 4.0 Vs. iOS 5 Faceoff
This seems to be written by someone with only a casual experience of Android, but an indepth experience of iOS, as there are plenty of oversights on the Android points.

Firstly, it seems Android gets a negative point as there is lots of options for customisation, the point that seems to be missed is you don't NEED to use any of it, you can just leave it as-is and be happy, which suits non-techical users, technical users are catered for with Android too, giving them plenty to tinker with.

Secondly, folders have been on Android since 1.5, they were not introduced in ICS.

Thirdly, the music integration, you can use an DoubleTwist if you want an iTunes like experience with Android, and Honeycomb music player blows the iOS one out the water, i haven't seen Google music on ICS, but even if its; unchanged in it's tablet mode, it's WAY better.
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps – and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - August 20, 2014
CIOs need people who know the ins and outs of cloud software stacks and security, and, most of all, can break through cultural resistance.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.