Saturday, February 18, 2012

Married to Android, Affair with Apple

It is 2011 and the Robots are taking over the World…..maybe not yet but definitely the way we interact with our phones. The army of green robots led by the mighty commander Android is marching steady and has done what Windows did to desktop PCs back in 1990s, put a Smartphone in everyone’s hands. When Android debuted back in 2007, it was received with lukewarm response and was never considered a worthy competitor to the ‘fluid’ iOS. But in 2012, after several ‘tasty’ updates, the latest being ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’, it stands proud as a mighty rival to iOS. 

The one great thing about Android is, you get a wide variety of choice starting from as low as Rs.7000 to upwards of Rs.30K. I have been using ‘dumb phones’ aka feature phones for as long as I can remember. Smitten by the ads for Android phones by almost all major phone manufacturers, I decided to gift myself one. What followed was an arduous task of deciding the budget, brand, model, specifications, etc.  Finally I decided to get a phone that was around Rs.11K and was voted as one of the best Smartphone for this price tag. Just like a newlywed couple on their honeymoon, all was fine between us for a month. I would put up with occasional process crash windows and the phone tried its best to run every app I threw at it. The trouble began when my dad bought his iPhone! You never realise your wife is ugly, until a beautiful woman moves in next door. 

I put on a brave face and convinced myself that a  phone which does not even lets you set a song as ringtone directly was definitely was better than my Android which lets me use my mobile as a Wi-Fi tethering point. But all this changed when I touched iPhone for the first time. It definitely has the best touch interface, ever. Be it the fluid motion of the screens scrolling by or the beautiful graphics or the very design of the phone, it spelled Class. I felt sceptical about placing my Android phone next to this beauty, fearing it might jump off the table out of shame. The iPhone doesn’t slow down while playing Angry Birds or apps don’t crash frequently. To be honest I have never seen a crash window in iPhone till now! After using both the phones I understood Android was my wife, faithful and loyal, patiently handling all the apps I threw at her and the myriad customisations I put her through. On the other hand, iPhone was my mistress, hot and tempting, shows you the heaven but always gets her way! The one big reason why iPhone is such a hit is because the hardware and software gel with each other, which is not the case with Android. The Android handset manufacturers load the phone to the gills with bloatware which severely affects the phone performance. The walled garden approach of Apple works well, as the apps are screened and tested well before they hit the customer’s phones. At the end of the day it is not a debate between the open and closed ecosystems, it is about what suits you the best. 

If you like your phone to work the exact way when you opened it from the shiny new box, then go with iPhone. Or if you are  a grease monkey who finds a use for each of the seven home screens, then go grab your Android because there is no other mobile OS that provides this level of customisation to users. My take on Android phones are, if you are a power user, then shell out 20,000 bucks to get a decent phone that has the horsepower needed to make android work smoothly. If you are short on budget, then you will definitely get some good phones but you have got to make peace with the fact it will not match all your expectations.  Despite the shortcomings, android has done a commendable job in making phones ‘smarter’. Maybe once more phones with Ice Cream Sandwich start hitting the market; they could be a game changer only time will tell. For now I am going to go and lust at iPhone.

Disclaimer: All ideas, thoughts or reviews published in this blog are my personal opinion and not that of my employer (Samsung).