How to choose between an Android or iOS smartphone!

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The fork in the road...

You've heard everyone talking about the smartphone phenomenon and actually - if you're in any large city, over 90% of the people you see on the streets will be using a smartphone - most likely while they are walking around trying not to bump into one another or to avoid getting run over by the traffic as they are seemingly staring into the glowing screen of their smartphone world.

So here we are at the fork in the road - usually caused in the US by your carrier contract renewal :-( Do you try to find a new basic/feature phone you have relied on for your trusty communications tool or do you venture into the world of the smartphone?

The choice is quite easy - or so it seems...

In the smartphone basket you only really have 2 kinds of smartphones to choose from. One based on the Apple iOS platform or the OTHERS which are based on Googles Android OS platform. The other 2 players in the smartphone market are kind of regrouping - RIM's BlackBerry (or BB) - or on its way out of the market - Microsoft Windows Phone. Given that Apple with iOS and the Android OS combined have approximately 97%+ of the smartphone market, it's save for now to focus on these two players.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both platforms and then also comes a question of what you really need and want from your phone.

Apple iOS

If you have any Apple products then it is very easy to choose an iPhone - learning curve is extremely low and "everything just works - almost like magic!" This is so true that people seem to forget. Software updates and media are all synched via iTunes whether on Apple OS X or Microsoft Windows computers.

From my experience, applications for the iOS platform are slightly better quality and in almost all instances, appear on iOS first and later on Android OS if at all. A lot of people do not like the Apple iOS platform because it is a closed system and you as a user have only limited control of the content and how and where you can arrange your applications, files - read documents, and media content. Some people would say this is part of the Apple ecosystem which takes care of all your media content and allow you to access them from wherever you want from an Apple device via Apple's iCloud.

If you like taking pictures, The iPhone 7 Plus is probably one of the best camera phones on the market today - with this you really can leave the camera at home even a DSLR on some occasions.

Android OS

If you have been a long time Windows or Linux user, you want the ability to transfer media content wherever you want and in which format you want - the Android OS is for you and you are probably already using one. Although Google with it's Play Store has a lot of content they are a little ways behind still but catching up very fast.

The quality of the application on the Android OS platform is getting to be very good - especially over the last year - but as mentioned above, I still believe applications on the Apple iOS platform is better. Not only in the look and feel of the application but on how the application "behaves". Apple, having quite strict rules - read "guidelines" - for application developers which means that ultimately you the user get very good applications.

Android OS applications are catching up fast but I believe it will still be another 3-6 months time before they get to the level of "solidness" the iOS applications are at now. The change is very much due to Android OS 6.0 being an awesome OS and also the fact that more developers will be making applications for the Android OS as the number of Android OS devices around the world are outpacing Apple iOS devices.

The variety of different Android devices offering a huge range of different features is a blessing and a curse. Each variation on feature e.g. camera megapixel size, internal memory, processing power and type of microprocessor used on the latest Android devices mean almost for sure a different version of Android OS for each. Of course you can opt for the Google generic devices which is now the Google Pixel devices and also you have the latest devices from HTC, Samsung, Sony, LG. BIG plus is that your will get the latest software almost immediately after the release, small minus is that if you have or want some accessories that specifically work with the OEMs smartphone then it may be challenged as the tweaks are not there.

Conclusion

There are many articles written here in Hubpages and else where on the Internet about buying smartphones. Personally I think it boils down to some simple decisions you make:

1. Do you want to use the smartphone as a way to access all your social media avenues and just use the apps without worrying how things are backed up or how the software is updated - if so get the iPhone - all these background features iPhone or the Apple platform still leads but only by a little.

2. Do you have a need with loading files and fine tuning the memory optimization on your smartphone to the applications you have running and to some extent manage where files should go on the smartphone etc. etc. etc. - get an Android OS smartphone and I do recommend the Google Pixel devices that are UNLOCKED!!

I haven't mentioned one key aspect about the purchase which requires another decision - whether buying the smartphone with a contract or without a contract. All I can say to that is "it depends". You have to shop around and I remind you to look at a couple of the smaller carriers if you are in the US, as there are some very interesting Pay-As-You-Go options on voice and data "plans". I would personally avoid a 2-year contract if I am financially able to splash out for the smartphone outright, but either way, way up the voice/SMS/data usage for the plans you are considering especially the data as you WILL be using more then you think initially. Apple have been offering a plan of their own in which you select a carrier and you get eligibility to get a new iPhone every year. On the carrier's plan, you could have only voice and SMS for your smartphone and use the free wifi hotspots all over the city in any city but that will restrict you to those hotspots and it also defeats the whole purpose of owning a smartphone so that you can be monitoring the pulse of the World or at the very least the state of your Facebook updates!!

Hope this helps and please contact me if you have any questions - I'd love to help out!

Update May 2015

Time to update this post again now that the new Google Nexus devices have had some time on the market.

My comments above still holds BUT there are some options now to make this more interesting. Apple has launched it's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and Google has the Nexus franchise ever getting bigger - so you'll need to head over to the Google Play Store for their devices.

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If you are thinking about traveling overseas for any amount of time or prefer to get a smartphone not tied to a carrier - I got back to my mantra of getting a very well featured unlocked GSM Android device. Though I'm of a mind to go even further and say take a tablet for wifi connection at any cafe and get a very basic GSM unlocked phone - almost like a "burner phone" ;-) that can make and receive calls and SMSs. These tend to have great battery life and just works - oh, I remember the Nokia phone I had that lasted a whole week on one charge!!!

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