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Saturday, 16 August 2014

On 12:22 by Abhijit Pinjan     No comments

With the recent tidal wave of Apple news - from the arrival of the latest iPhones to the release of iOS 7 - faithful Android users may feel fed-up with the i-Everything hoopla.
Android deserves a little love!
Even though iOS 7 has been reeling in some rave reviews and is undeniably sleeker and better than any previous Apple OS, it still falls short of Android in several areas.
While "once an Android, always an Android" may not ring true for everyone, here are some reasons not to make the switch.   

5. Customization

There’s so much to be said about the classical Android interface. Not that Touchwiz bloatware or any other similar nonesense. AOSP (Android Open Source Project) is where the fun is. Right out of the box, Android 4 gives a load of personalization options to the user. While this guarantees a steep learning curve, it also makes learning the ins and outs of your device fun. For the geeky types mentioned in the opening paragraph, this is a must. Finding a random new status bar option might sound fascinatingly boring to the casual user, but the tinkerer will use it to enhance his phone’s interface.
After you learn everything there is to know about your device, why shouldn’t you install a custom launcher and give yourself some more things to tweak around? In the end, an experienced user is going to have a sleek UI that iOS users can only dream about. True, most Android users keep their stock interface, but the tweakers are going to have wildly different and unique screens. If you look at the iPhone OS, all the devices look basically the same. You can’t even edit the icons, not to mention that all the other options are fairly limited. Another thing missing from iOS are the widgets. Their usefulness (ranging from the “dead cat” all the way to “digital swiss knife”) can be left out of this article, but they are an important customization option nonetheless. And we haven’t even reached the rooting part, which opens Android up even more.
In the end, the average Joe will see complications where the power user sees opportunity, and that’s the main difference between Android and iOS. If you want a relatively boring and static UI, go for the Apple’s product, but for an extremely customizable and versatile application platform, get a goddamn Android phone.

4. Rooting

Rooting (Android) is, by default, a process that brings more power to the user than jailbreaking (iOS) does. When Apple users jailbreak their iDevice, they get the options to, don’t faint now: choose their default web browser, use a file browser, change keyboard and much, much more. Yeah. They get to do stuff Android users can do from the get-go. Rooting, on the other hand, gives you total control over your Android. Overclock your processor, uninstall bloatware, add kernel codes to your ROM… Heck, why not go and flash a whole new OS such as Ubuntu? Err, not practical, sure, but it’s possible! It might sound overwhelming at first, but it really isn’t. Most devices have specific guidelines and software that makes rooting possible, but every procedure is essentially the same as the others.
The whole rooting process takes about 10 to 15 minutes, even if you don’t have any experience with it. Just read a lot of up-to-date guides and be prepared to do what it takes. After this, you’ll get to tweak absolutely everything you can think about, leaving iFans choking in shame. They can have their “simplicity” and “clarity”, while we own their asses in the awesomeness department. Yeah. That sentence sounds badass enough. If you have a friend that has rooted his device, and you want him to do the same to yours, don’t. It’s better to do things like this for yourself simply because it gives you an insight into what you can and can’t do. At the very least, ask your tech-savy pal to root the device when you’re around, so that you can figure it out.

3. Restrictions

Whether you like it or not, restrictions are a huge part of the iOS ecosystem. The end user is, essentially, stuck inside a heavily controlled environment that isn’t prone to change of any kind. It’s basically the same as it was on the older, “normal” phones; you could change the wallpaper and (if the manufacturer allowed it) change the icon layout. Android goes over and beyond this issue. While new users really are introduced to a relatively lenghty (a couple of weeks) learning process, it does pay off after a while.
The thing is, people appreciate their freedom. This is extended onto the devices and software they use. As time passes, they’re getting more and more used to the fact that virtually everything they own is subject to their will, so the systems that Apple is offering are redundant and aged. Don’t get me wrong, now. It’s a known fact that they are rock solid and extremely reliable (in most cases), but it’s also a fact that they are a relic of a different time. True, there should always be *some* restrictions in place, but these constraints most certainly shouldn’t completely handicap user creativity.

2. Applications, File And Media Managment

Obviously, Google is going to support Android much more than iPhone. Apple’s AppStore still leads in quality and number of available apps, but Google’s Play Store doesn’t fall much behind, not anymore. We’ve mentioned how Android is a much more versatile and flexible platform, but this becomes clear when browsing available apps. File managers, keyboards, launchers… AppStore can only dream about such applications. Altough most developers still prefer to begin on iOS and port to Android afterwards, this trend is expected to die out after some time. See, even though iOS is generally more stable and reliable, it doesn’t have all the possibilities Android has by default.
Versatility is important to fandroids not only because it gives them an edge over iFans, but also because they can change absolutely everything they don’t like about their OS. Want an additional display option? Oh, sure, install it. The pre-installed file manager sucks and/or is ugly? Well, get a completely different one. It’s all fascinatingly easy to do. Not to mention that it’s either free or cheap. You don’t even need to root the phone to get most of these options. Hell, you can even install an iOS7 launcher and see how much more it sucks in comparison to Trebutchet or Apex.
One area where newer iDevices blow regular Android phones out of the water is gaming (sadly). Since there’s only a single current model of iPhone, it’s infinitely easier to optimise your software for it than for a couple of hundred modern Android phones. So, even though Android generally has better hardware, it remains unused (if you don’t root your device and optimise it yourself).
To summarize; iDevices don’t have a singular file manager, copying music to iPhone without using iTunes is relatively hard and the applications are quite limited (ways in which they can modify your UI, to be precise). Doesn’t sound all that enticing, right?

1. Potential

All the comparisons between Android and iOS end up favouring one side over the other, and this one is clearly not different. Apple’s phone has amassed a huge amount of followers because it was (presumably) the first and original touchscreeen device for the masses. It should be noted that Android was actually operable before iOS, but in an alpha state. By the time Android caught up with iOS in terms of quality and effectiveness, Apple already had much better infrastructure and app support.
Sure, this is all true, but it’s also evident that Google is getting better at developing an OS. Latest versions of Android look sleek and operate efficiently, while retaining the customizability of earlier versions – and upgrading it. The main problem that Android is facing isn’t even about the software. You’re guessing, it’s the fragmentation. Once Google manages to get around this issue, Android will have everything iOS has, and more. Until then, fandroids are stuck with limitless customization potential and fancy UI.
Even though iPhones, iPads, iToilets and all other iStuff will stay faster and snappier by default (yeah, think about what I just wrote), Android devices will always have more potential. Potential that will eventually break out. In the end, the platform that is more open will win this “war”. Apple isn’t going to change their policy anytime soon, so it’s clear what OS will remain favoured by the Power Users.
If you feel we’ve been biased towards Android, you’re very right. In the next article we’ll talk about why iOS is better for the casual user, so there’s that. Stay frosty.


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