Although Apple has monopolized the headlines lately – Steve Jobs’ death, the new iPhone 4S and iOS 5 – Google hasn’t let Android gather any dust. In fact, Honeycomb advanced to 3.1 before iOS 5 debuted, but runs only on “large display devices” (tablets). Android phones have to settle for version 2.3. On the other hand, Apple’s iOS 5 runs on the iPhone, the iPod touch and the iPad. Let’s take a quick look at both.
What’s New: The best additions to iOS 5 are iMessage, iCloud support, native Twitter, enhanced Camera features and “multitasking gestures” for iPad 2. Android 3.1 rolled out the new “refined” UI (User Interface), a Recent Apps list, customizable Home screen and improved browsing.
Battery Life: This depends on your hardware, and there are many different Android tablets. You can rent laptops with battery time up to five or six hours, but tablet batteries last longer (up to 10 hours). In limited tests, iOS devices seemed to have slightly shorter battery life than Android models.
Browser support: Web surfing on a iMac rental is no different (except for screen size) than on an iOS device. Safari Reader now displays web articles without ads for offline reading. Android 3.1 also improved browsing, but has been weaker in this area.
User Interface (UI): Apple’s UIs changed the world. OS X Lion (10.7) is fabulous on a Mac Pro rental, while iOS 5 is also efficient and elegant. Google’s primary goal with Android 3.1 was refining the look, but it’s still a work in progress.
Third-Party Support: Android is open source software, based on Linux, which means more opportunities for more developers to improve it over time. Apple’s iOS 5 platform is not open source, and developers need to register with Apple and jump through the many hoops keeping Apple’s “ecosystem” in order. Of course, many of these hoops are actually quality control steps, which is why iOS apps meet a higher standard.
Apps & Games Availability: Apple’s App Store has over 300,000 apps – utilities, games, networking, social media, productivity, etc. – while there are some 100,000 in the Android Market.
Flash Support: Flash support used to be a big advantage for Android. The new iOS 5 provides full Flash support (for you tech-heads, it is done by “on-the-fly transcoding”). Flash apps are still not usable, but Flash video is now viewable, a welcome addition for iPad rental users, but an original feature of Android.
Conclusion: It’s silly to condescend to either Apple iOS 5 or Android 3.1. Both have new features making them even more efficient, reliable and robust. There is tough competition ahead between Android 3.1 and Apple iOS 5, as new products are introduced to make maximum use of their advanced features. We will keep you posted.