Oh My Tech!: iPhone vs. Android debate rages on
If there are smartphone gods and there must be because I pray to them every night for a bigger-screen iPhone then my HTC One Android phone would work with Apple's iOS operating system.
But alas, that's never going to happen unless Steve Jobs is reincarnated as the head of Google's Android division (and he was Buddhist, so it could happen).
The truth is I love my HTC One handset with its big screen and phenomenal stereo speakers, but I also love Apple's operating system so much more than Android's. My desire for the best of both worlds underscores the ongoing debate between the two battling smartphone formats: Android and the iPhone.
On one side you have those who love the ease of use and elegance of Apple's iOS operating system for the iPhone and iPad. On the other are those who like the flexibility and openness of the Android operating system by Google. Both sides are incredibly passionate and dedicated to their formats.
I had been an iPhone user for six years since the original iPhone was released in 2007, but I grew increasingly dissatisfied with the phone over time because all I've wanted is an iPhone with a bigger 4.7-inch or larger screen, and Apple has failed to deliver (maybe next year), so I switched to the HTC One and Android.
Now that I've been with the new Android phone for more than two months, I've had a chance to really evaluate the differences between the two formats and have concluded Apple's iOS is much better. Here is a list of reasons why I'm disappointed with Android. Consider them if you're deciding which format to go with.
Fractured format • There is no one unified version of the Android operating system. For example, Motorola makes tweaks to Android for its phones while Samsung makes its own modifications of Android for its phones. And then each carrier makes its own changes on top of that. As a result, there are many different versions of the operating system out there for all the different devices.
That means when developers create an app for Android, they try to make it work for all devices, but it usually doesn't work out that way. When apps are released, they may work on the Samsung Galaxy S4 but not the HTC One or vice versa.
Since I got my HTC One, several high-profile apps, including Facebook Home and the new video feature on Instagram, wouldn't work for my phone when they were first released. Other Android apps I want, such as the popular games "Scribblenauts" and "Batman: Arkham City Lockdown," aren't compatible with my specific phone.
Buggy • Think of Android as the jack of all trades but master of none. Because Android has to work on so many different handsets with different technologies, it isn't as stable as it should be. I've had to reboot my phone a lot more often than I did my iPhone whenever something failed to work.
A huge advantage with the iPhone is there is only one version of the operating system and it's made for just one phone, leaving less of a chance for buggy code. It's much more stable than Android.
Siri • A lot of people prefer the voice commands on Android. Not me. Siri, the voice-activated assistant for the iPhone, may have problems such as lag time, but it's still more accurate and more powerful than Google Now, the voice assistant for Android. Here's an example of what happens on my Android phone when I try to dictate my name into the phone:
Me: "Google. Call Vince Horiuchi."
Android: "Calling dance for you g."
Me: "No, call Vince Horiuchi."
Android: "Calling Vince whore you street."
Me: "Google. Bite me."
Android: "Calling kite free."
At least Siri can understand my name as well as a lot of other words and names that Google Now cannot.
And Siri also can recognize music commands. You can play music by just saying, for example, "play album Sgt. Peppers." I have yet been able to start a song on Android strictly with a voice command.
Headset remote • Three-button remote controls that are built into headphones work with an iPhone. With the remote you can play and pause music, skip songs and lower and raise the volume. But I have yet to find such a headphone that works with Android phones. One-button remotes work with the format, but not headphones that allow you to change the volume. Being able to manipulate your music on the go while driving or exercising is a must.
These are just a few of the disappointments I've encountered while moving over to Android. And while they may seem insignificant by themselves, together they add up to a much less satisfying experience. Apple better hurry up and release a big-screen iPhone.
If you have a tech question for Vince, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he'll try to answer it for his column in The Salt Lake Tribune or on its website. For an archive of past columns, go to http://www.sltrib.com/topics/ohmytech.