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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

5 reasons why I’m ditching Android for an iPhone

I’ve been the owner of an Android smartphone since February 2010. Admittedly, I got the phone because I am a Verizon Wireless customer and the Apple iPhone wasn’t available at the time. Based on my experience, I can honestly say that when I am eligible for a phone upgrade I’m getting an iPhone. Here are top reasons why I’m switching:

1. Upgrading the Android OS  depends on the phone’s model and manufacturer
I can’t tell you how annoying it was to buy an Android phone with the promise of an OS upgrade around the corner only to find out later that Motorola decided not to move forward with it. iPhone owners have at least some promise of upgrades for iOS, though, admittedly as iPhones get older it is understandable there won’t be further upgrades for earlier generations.

The lack of an Android OS upgrade for your phone means you won’t be able to download certain Android Market applications because they don’t support earlier versions of the operating system. So, once your manufacturer decides they’re done, so are you when it comes to getting certain Android apps. In my case (Motorola Devour), I can’t even download the Twitter client for Android.

2. Lack of standard DRM solution
Netflix has been offered for iPhone for some time now. So, many have been wondering why a Netflix client for Android hasn’t come along yet. The simple answer has been that there is no standard implementation in Android to handle digital rights management (DRM) which would allow Netflix to stream movies and television shows with the confidence that they won’t somehow be copied. Netflix is contractually obligated to secure its streams with DRM by content providers. We reported on this issue in November of last year, and the best Netflix could offer was that some Android phones would get a Netflix client this year, but that was going to depend on the manufacturer.

3. iPhone offers better OS stability
Macs have earned the reputation of being reliable and not as vulnerable to lock-ups and crashes. There’s a simple reason for this: When Apple updates the Mac OS X operating system it knows what hardware configuration it is going to run on because it controls the hardware as well. As much grief as Microsoft gets over Windows instability, that instability is understandable when you consider the numerous variations of hardware that could run the OS.

The iPhone shares the same benefit as the Mac in that Apple produces both the OS and the hardware. My experience with Android has been similar to my experience with Windows. I feel I shouldn’t have to deal with reboots and lock-ups on my mobile phone, especially if I might need it in an emergency situation. Undoubtedly, since Android must work on a number of hardware configurations your OS experience is going to be tied to the phone you purchase. I’d prefer a safer bet in which the creator of the OS and the hardware is the same company.

4. The iPhone gets applications first
As an Android user I am sick and tired of playing second fiddle to the iPhone. It seems the iPhone is always getting applications before they eventually end up on Android OS. There’s a simple reason for this that I previously alluded to. When creating applications for the iPhone developers know that there are a limited number of hardware configurations they have to consider. When it comes to Android there are countless configurations which could interfere with the performance of the app.

A great example of what a headache it is to deal with developing for Android is the experience the creators of Angry Birds had. As with other applications, they launched on the iPhone first and eventually ported it over to Android. They did their best to offer the app for as many Android devices as possible, but in the end they ran into performance issues which had to be addressed. Having an Android phone is no guarantee you are going to be able to run an Android app. It seems when it comes to the iPhone you are going to be less likely to run into such a situation.

5. The iPhone leads and everyone follows
Besides being first to receive apps, the iPhone also seems to lead the way when it comes to functionality for smartphones. The iPhone 4, for example, was launched with dual cameras to allow for the use of FaceTime video conferencing app. It wasn’t the first phone to do this, but it made video calling something people expect from a phone and something people actually use. The iPhone 4 also brought things like a high pixel density display and HDR images.

While the iPhone isn’t always the first to put out features or technology, it’s often the first to do things well and the device that everyone else has to catch up with.

In Summary
With all that being said, I will be the first to admit that the iPhone isn’t for everyone, especially folks that like more freedom in what applications they run on their smartphone. Android’s ability to install applications not downloaded via the Android Market has been great, and I can see where some people wouldn’t want to give this up only to be locked into the App Store. I will also say that I am sure there are folks out there with Android phones that don’t get lock-ups and don’t need to reboot often. Some phone have offered an update to Android OS and pack better specs than I (and many other Android users) have experienced.

For me personally, it comes down to the fact that I want to simplify my life when it comes to my smartphone. I prefer the hardware and the OS to be created by the same company because logically the performance should be better. I also prefer not to have to wait for applications to come out–I’d like to get them on the iPhone first.

Ultimately, everyone will have to make their own decision in regards to what smartphone is right for them. For me, there’s an iPhone in my future.
[Android image - laihu]