Android 4.4′s Advantages Over iOS 7.1

Last update: October 30, 2013

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Last year I wrote two articles that compared Android to iOS. One stressed Apple’s advantages, and the other stressed Google’s advantages. Both turned out to be extremely popular. Since each operating system has had at least one major update since then, I’ve decided to update both articles — starting with the one about Android. Can Android 4.4 hold its own against iOS 7.1?

Google Now learns about you and delivers information without you needing to ask.

The Top Ten Most Important Android Advantages

Although iOS is a great operating system, Android has many advantages over it. Let’s start with the most important ones:

  1. Google Answers Your Questions Before You Ask ThemGoogle Now goes beyond Siri because it learns about you through your searches, and automatically provides useful info to you. For example, Google Now knows when you need to leave for work and from which gate your flight is departing. It also automatically displays things like sports scores, traffic and weather. It will even alert you if there’s a traffic jam and automatically recommends places around you like restaurants. Google Now can now can give you movie start times, help you track packages and help you find great spots to take photos based on your current location.

    Google Now goes far beyond Passbook by looking for flight confirmations in your email so it can automatically notify you of upcoming flights and changes to your itinerary. Unlike Passbook, you’ll don’t need to install a separate mobile app for each airline you travel with. When you get to the airport Google Now pulls up a digital boarding pass for you which includes a QR code to scan at the gate along with information on the terminal, gate number, seat number and boarding group. Google Now looks at where you’re going, and tells you how the weather will be when you get there. The service can also remind you of hotel, event and restaurant reservations.

    Update (4/29): While it’s true that Google Now can finally be run on iOS there are significant limitations: It cannot be run on the iOS lock screen like it can on the Galaxy S4 and other Android 4.2 phones. It also can’t run in the background as a widget. Google Now is also missing quite a few options on iOS and doesn’t run automatically upon startup. Some of the best Google Now cards are not currently available on Google Now for iOS. This includes Airline boarding pass, Activity summary, Events, Zillow, Fandango, Concerts, Research topic and Nearby events. Another important difference is the fact that Google Now can only be activated from within the Search app, and it must be turned on by a user, who will be prompted on launch of the updated app and must sign in to a Google account. Once you’ve given permission to turn it on, it can be accessed inside the Search app only.

  2. A Digital Wallet That Can Buy Things Today – Apple’s Passbook shows promise, but it’s the only digital wallet which can’t buy things anywhere except Starbucks (or the Apple Store). Android supports near field communication (NFC) and Google Wallet which lets you buy things at over 300,000+ PayPass cash registers. After setting up Google Wallet on an NFC equipped phone like a Samsung Galaxy S III, you simply place your phone on the terminal for a second, enter your PIN and your Google Wallet will be debited by the amount of the purchase. Google Wallet is currently accepted at more than twenty retail chains including 7 Eleven, Best Buy, CVS Pharmacy, Duane Reade, Einstein Bros Bagels, Footlocker, Home Depot, Jack in the Box, McDonald’s, Peet’s Coffee, Pinkberry, Rite Aid, Sports Authority, Whole Foods and more. You can learn more about Google Wallet here.
  3. Better Sharing Between Apps – It’s easiest to explain system intents by contrasting the sharing options between an iOS app and an Android app. When you share on my iOS Notes app you’re given four different sharing choices: Mail, Message, Print and Copy. When you share from the Android Notes app, you’re allowed to share via Bluetooth, Google Drive, Dropbox, Email, Facebook, Gmail, Google+, Read It Later, SkyDrive, Text Message, Twitter, Wi-Fi Direct, WordPress Blog and 17 other apps. The actual list varies, depending on which apps you have installed. Google realizes Android cannot be best at everything, and allows you to choose which apps you want to interact with.
  4. Android lets NFC-enabled phones touch to share

  5. Touch-to-Share Anything – Android Beam allows any two NFC-equipped devices to exchange data wirelessly by simply by tapping them together. This allows Android users to share web pages, maps, You Tube videos, contacts, links to apps and more. Starting with Android 4.1, Android Beam made it possible to share photos and video bover Bluetooth for the data transfer. Samsung’s S Beam combines NFC with Wi-Fi Direct. This makes it possible to transfer almost anything including music playlists, documents, photos and longer videos between two Samsung devices. Here is a video of S Beam in action. It’s even possible for Android devices to share data with Windows mobile phones.
  6. Multi-user Support on a Single Device– Multiuser support was a new feature in Android 4.2. For now, it’s restricted to tablet use. When enabled on the quick settings menu, you’re taken to a lock screen similar to a log-in screen you’d see on a PC. Choose the user, swipe to unlock, and you’re in. Each user has their own home screen, background, apps, and widgets. Even when multiple users share an app, you’re still able to keep your app settings, game-progress and high-scores separate. You can even set up a guest profile so a friend can check their email, but can’t update your Facebook status. All iOS devices are tied to a single iTunes account and changes made by one user will affect all other users of that device. Multiuser support is a very difficult feature to add, so it’s very unlikely we’ll see this in iOS soon.
  7. Associate Multiple Gmail Accounts with a Single User – iOS only allows you to associate a single iTunes account with a single device. Android lets you add extra Google Accounts to a device running Android 4.0 (or later). Each account has its own email, contacts, calendar, apps and Google Play media. This allows you to use one email for work and another for your personal use, or one email for you, and another other for your significant other. By adding both accounts to your tablet, you’ll be able to view the merged data.
  8. More Advanced Multitasking – Apple places restrictions on third-party apps which run in the background. In most cases, they are suspended and not allowed to communicate with other apps. This improved with iOS 7, but it still very different than what Android is capable of. Android supports true-multitasking without any of the above restrictions. This makes it possible to do things which cannot be done on iOS.
  9. For example, Samsung’s “Pop up Play” feature, allows videos to hover, so you can text and watch a video at the same time. It’s also possible to have two apps visible at one time on devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

    Widgets update in real-time w/o needing to launch an app

  10. Smart Widgets – Widgets provide you with real-time weather updates, stock quotes, recent e-mails and more. Widgets are always visible and updated in the background — without needing to launch an app. Widgets provide easy access to system and application settings. Want to disable Wi-Fi or GPS services? Use a widget. When using Android widgets are “smart” and automatically resize themselves based on the amount of room available on the screen. You can get widget-like iOS apps, but they can only run on your lock screen, and some require a jail-broken phone, or third-party software to run.
  11. An Open Source Foundation – The underlying architecture of the Android is open-source. This makes it much more customizable than iOS. Not only is the Android OS customizable, handset manufacturers like Samsung open source their software for individual phones like the Galaxy Series. This makes it relatively easy for developers to improve on what Google and Samsung have done. A wide range of different custom ROMs can be easily loaded onto rooted phones or tablets. These ROMs often have significant benefits when it comes to performance and battery life, and also provide additional features. iOS 7.1 is a totally closed operating system. Although it can be jail-broken, it’s much harder to do. At the time of this writing, the iPhone 5 had not yet been jail broken. Expert say iOS jailbreaks are going to be harder in the future.

    The Android Market has several advantages. In this example, I’m using an iPad to install an Android app which will be remotely downloaded to my Android phone.

  12. A Better and More Open App Store – Although this may not sound like a platform benefit, it’s very important. Google Play has far less restrictions than the App store. There is a long list of apps Apple won’t allow, including apps which compete with iTunes, free Wi-Fi tethering apps, VoIP apps which use technologies like Google Talk, and great utilizes like Farproc’s Wi-Fi Analyzer. Apple also practices their own form of censorship by removing apps like “500px” from the App store, while leaving other apps that feature hard-core porn like Twitter’s “Vine” app. Update 2/3: 500pix is back with an NC+17 rating, while Vine remains.

    Another Android advantage is the number of quality alternative app stores including AppBrain, GetJar, Handango, Handmark, and the Amazon App Store, which offers one paid app a day for free. The only apps which can be installed outside the Apple app store are Cydia apps, which are only available for jailbroken devices. Another Google Play advantage is the fact that it lets developers upload videos as well as screenshots for their apps. This gives you a much better idea what the app does without having to download it first.

Other Areas Where Android Is Still Ahead of iOS

  1. Apps Crash Less – I use iOS and Android 4.4 many hours each day. Apps occasionally crash on both, but I experience more crashes on iOS — especially while using the Safari app with multiple tabs open. Studies have confirmed that iOS apps crash more than Android apps.
  2. Fewer Security Vulnerabilities than iOS – This is going to surprise many of you because companies spend millions trying to convince you that malware is a serious problem on the Android platform, but security expert Symantec released a study in April 2013 that says Apple’s iOS had more security vulnerabilities than Android in 2012. Symantec’s report revealed that there are 387 documented vulnerabilities on Apple’s iOS software, compared to a mere 13 on Android.

  3. Much better account security – Like Apple, Google requires an e-mail address and password to setup any device. However this is easy to hack, so Google offers optional two-step authentication. This is done by downloading a Authenticator app on your mobile device. This app generates unique verification codes that are entered along with your password. Apple’s iCloud was cracked because of the lack of two-factor authentication.
  4. Notifictions are now actionable

  5. More Advanced Notifications – Although notifications have improved in iOS, Android still has advantages in this area. You can tell at a glance what types of notifications have occurred, and clear all notifications with a single click. Devices running Android 4.1 (or later) have rich push notifications, which can be expanded and collapsed with a pinch. These notifications offer even more contextual information and are now actionable. That means if you’re notified about a meeting, you can dismiss it from the Android notification bar, or email others about the meeting. You can also call (or text) someone right from the pull-down notification menu.
  6. Flash Video Support – Flash may be a dying format, but there are still millions of Flash videos around and iOS can’t play any of them. All Android devices running 4.0 (and earlier) can play Flash videos out of the box. If you have an Android device running Android 4.1 (or later) and you didn’t previously install Flash, you’ll need to side-load it by following these easy instructions.
  7. Extensive Customization Options – There are so many ways you can customize Android devices it would be impossible to list them all here. Almost anything can be changed in the Android ecosystem.
  8. More Effective Parental Controls – Apple finally added Parental Controls to iOS 6, but they are buried is Settings and disabled by default. Even if mom is smart enough to find and enable them, her kids will still be able to read the copy of “50 Shades of Grey” that she bought six months ago. This is because Apple’s Parental Controls do not hide explicit books which are already in your library. iOS is a single-user OS and this prevents effective parental controls. Android 4.2 allowed each family member to have their own password-protected account. All of the media is only visible when logged in to their own account. This prevents children from accessing inappropriate content.
  9. Restricted User Profiles – In addition to parental controls, Android 4.3 allows you to control access to apps and content at a user level. This allows you to control which apps each user can see and which are hidden. It also allows an app to behave differently when it’s running in a restricted profile. For example, an app can hide unpurchased levels and not allow in-app purchasing. Restricted profiles are also ideal for retail kiosks or POS systems.
  10. Easy File Transfers – It’s a hassle to get anything but photos off of an iOS device. With Android devices there’s no need to use iTunes or iCloud to copy media. Just connect a USB cable and your mobile device appears on your desktop like a hard disk. You can then drag and drop any number of file onto your mobile device to copy them. This is a really big advantage.
  11. Virtual surround sound audio – There are several iOS apps with surround-sound capabilities, the Android 4.3 OS has advanced surround-sound technology from German audio pioneer Fraunhofer built-in. Android 4.3 supports surround sound three different ways: Over HDMI, over any headphones and using the stereo speakers on supported devices including the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10.

    Instagram on iPad

  12. No Need to Use 2x Zoom on Some Apps – Android automatically stretches apps so they look good on screens of all sizes. Many iOS apps like Instagram still appear small when they are run on a tablet, or have to be blown up to twice their regular size in order to occupy the entire screen. When you do this, the graphics look distorted and funny.
  13. Ability to Set Default Software – One of the most powerful Android features is the ability to change the default software the OS uses for different tasks. For example, if you want to the Dolphin browser to open any URL (instead of the stock Android browser), just pick the app you want to use. Want to use a different app for turn-by-turn directions or media playback? Pick one, and it will use that app every time. This is an incredibly powerful feature. You can even replace the stock keyboard with a 3rd party keyboard like SwiftKey. Apple doesn’t allow this.
  14. Fewer Image Scaling Issues – The way Android is structured, apps automatically support all new resolutions without needing to be modified like iOS apps do. Every time Apple releases a product with a different sized screen like the iPhone 5, developers have to scramble to make their apps look great. If they don’t, text will be less crisp and there may be screen layout issues. Android seems to have fewer issues in this area. It seems Google has a better method of scaling up low-resolution images which makes them less ugly than they appear on Apple devices.
  15. 3rd-party Keyboards Improve Your Typing Speed

    3rd-party Keyboards Improve Your Typing Speed

  16. Third-party Alternate Keyboards – There are some outstanding third-party keyboard apps that run on all Android phones and have many advantages over the stock iOS 6 keyboard. Some of the best keyboards include Swype, which lets you create words by tracing between the letters on the keyboard. Swype can even sync your personal dictionary across all of your Android devices. SwiftKey 3 goes even further by predicting the next word in your sentence based on past behavior. To save time you can personalize it using your Gmail, Facebook, Twitter or blog posts. This can save you a massive number of keystrokes, as you can see from the screenshot on the right. SwiftKey and other 3rd-party keyboards also have extensive customization options unlike iOS. You can see the dramatic difference here. There are other good keyboards as well. Here’s a good review of some of the best ones.
  17. Smoother Scrolling & Transitions – Starting with Android 4.1, the CPU and graphics run in parallel and the entire interface runs at 60 frames per second. The processor jumps into action the moment you touch the screen to keep input lag at a minimum and graphics are now also triple-buffered to keep scrolling and transitions smooth. It’s true that iOS had less of a problem with this, but its interface doesn’t currently run at 60fps.
  18. Smart App Updates – Google Play now delivers only the parts of an updated app which have changed to devices, rather than the entire app. This makes the app updates much faster to download, and conserve both battery and data usage.
  19. You can zoom-in on offline maps with no signal

  20. Better Speech-to-Text Entry – Android’s speech-to-text entry is second to none. Unlike iOS, Android is capable of doing the speech-to-text conversion without a network connection. It’s also more accurate. Siri does not work well on voices with certain types of accents and certain dialects. It’s normal for voice recognition systems to require some training, but Siri doesn’t seem to improve over time. By contrast, Google’s voice recognition technology requires no training on voices with strong accents as long as they speak close to the microphone and talk a little slower than usual.
  21. Intelligent Switching between Wi-Fi and Cellular – iOS sometimes has problems switching between cellular and Wi-Fi connections. If a Wi-Fi signal is present it will select it — even though its signal strength is low, and its data is slower than the current 3G or 4G connection. Devices running Android 4.1 (or later) don’t have this problem when the “Wi-Fi Only Connects to Strong Signal” option is enabled. This forces your mobile device to only connect to strong Wi-Fi signals.
  22. Offline Maps – Although Google Maps was mentioned above, offline maps are important enough to have their own section, because the time you need a map the most is when you don’t have Internet access and are lost. Android allows you to download any number of maps to your device and access them without an Internet connection.
  23. A Media-centric Home Screen – Android tablets like the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 displays your media library on the first screen you see. You’ll see the last book, magazine and CD you played (or read) larger than the others. This is a feature which has really grown on me. Of course you can move or delete this, if you don’t want it on your home screen.
  24. Predictive text is one advantage the Android keyboard has over iOS

  25. A More Advanced Default Keyboard – Android’s in-line spell checker and suggestion modes work better than Apple’s today. The Android keyboard (4.1 and later) guesses what the next word will be before you’ve started typing it. You don’t even need an Internet connection to see the suggestions. The Android keyboard also lets you add dictionaries, gives you control over auto-correct and has advanced settings. Android 4.2 also included a new feature called Gesture Typing, which lets you glide your finger over the letters you want to type on the keyboard.
  26. Attach Any File to An Email – Android allows you to attach any file to an e-mail — not only images or video like iOS 7 does. This is important, because it’s common to attach Word docs or Powerpoint presentations to work-related emails.
  27. Photo Sphere goes beyond Apple’s Panorama and lets you capture 360 degree photos

  28. 360-degree Photos – Android 4.2 introduced a new camera feature called Photo Sphere, which lets you capture Google Street View-style images that are larger than life. While you take photos in every direction Android stitches them together to create 360-degree experiences that you can share on Google+ with friends and family, or add to Google Maps.You can see Photo Sphere in action here.
  29. Superior Music Scan & Match feature – The new Google Play Music service has a free “Scan and Match” option that goes through your entire music library and saves it to the cloud, so it’s accessible from any Internet-connected device. Like iTunes Match, you don’t have to upload most songs because they are already there. Unlike iTunes Match, Google lets you store 20,000 songs on its servers for free. Apple charges $24.99 a year for the iTunes Match feature and transcodes all of your high-bit rate songs down to 256kbps prior to uploading to iCloud. Google allows songs up to 320Kbps.
  30. Advanced photo editing comes standard

  31. More Advanced Photo Editing Features – The stock iOS camera and photo viewer apps are very limited on features. The Android Gallery app let you tweak your photos in a similar manner as you would with Photoshop. This goes far beyond the four options Apple has (rotate, enhance, red-eye and crop). Starting with Android 4.1 Google let you apply Instagram-style filters to still or video footage including warm vintage, posterize, black and white, and sepia. You can also edit different video clips together by simply pausing and resuming video recording.
  32. A True Full-screen Mode – Android 4.4 supports a new ‘Immersive mode’ that allows apps to take over the entire screen when needed. That means you won’t see any controls on the top of the bottom of the screen. To get the controls back just swipe from the top or bottom of the screen. On the iPhone, this type of full screen mode isn’t possible.

  33. File Management on Your Device – iOS apps like iExplorer claim to be file explorers, but they don’t allow you to browse, copy, paste, rename and delete any visible file or folder on your device. This is because Apple doesn’t allow you to access the iOS file system. Android file explorers like ES File Explorer do all of this and much more. The 10 best Android File Explorers.
  34. Individual App Volumes – Android lets you adjust the volume for individual apps and functions. To do this, press the volume keys along the side of your device and wait for the on-screen volume slider to pop up. Touch the Settings button on the right and you’ll see sliders for music, video, notifications, ringtones and alarms.
  35. A Persistent Back Button – Android’s Back button is available at all times. Some iOS apps display a Back button, but it’s not always available and some apps don’t include it at all. This is one of the features I miss the most when moving back and forth between Android and iOS.
  36. A Live Wallpaper

  37. Miracast Wireless Video Streaming– Android 4.2 added support for a wireless video streaming standard called Miracast, which is an open alternative to Apple’s AirPlay. One advantage that Miracast has over AirPlay and DLNA is that it streams over Wi-Fi Direct and does not require a Wi-Fi hotspot. Miracast allows you to stream anything that’s on your phone (or tablet) to a Miracast-ready HDTV. Although there aren’t many TVs that support Miracast yet (LG will be among the first), experts are expecting many to be released next year, along with low-cost dongles that plug into the HDMI port of older TVs. Most of the newest smartphones and tablets already support Miracast — including the Samsung Galaxy Series, LG Optimus G, Nexus 4 and more. You can see Miracast in action here.
  38. Moving Screen Backgrounds – iOS 7 has dynamic backrounds that give the illusion of moving, like Android apps, but this is very different than the live wallpapers that run on Android devices. They allow you to run cool animations or videos on your home screens. Most live wallpapers like Ocean HD span across all five of your home screens and pan when you move from screen to screen. You can interact with some live wallpapers by touching the screen. For example, touching the screen on Ocean HD causes the swimming fish to change direction. You can even have a 360 degree panoramic photo as your live wallpaper (e.g. PanoPlanet Live Wallpaper).
  39. High-definition Magazines – Traditional magazines are printed at 300 dpi. Since Android tablets like the Nexus 10 have a screen that supports 300 ppi, it makes sense to offer magazines at their native 300 dpi resolution. Look for HD magazines in Google Play that only be viewed on Android devices.
  40. Full Stylus Support – Although you can use a capacitive stylus on an iOS device, the OS has very limited support for it. You won’t get the same level of expression you get on a Samsung Galaxy Note II, which has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity. iOS also won’t let you toggle between a brush, pencil or eraser by simply holding the stylus above the screen and clicking a button. The stylus on Note II even lets you preview emails, photos or videos by hovering slightly above the screen. Here are some more things you can do with a stylus.

    Android has better resource monitoring than iOS

  41. Data & Resource Monitoring – Android shows you exactly how much data you have used so far each month and warns you when you’re getting close to your data cap. You can even disable mobile data entirely if you’d like, once a certain threshold has been reached. Android also lets you see how much battery and memory and data each app is using.
  42. Haptic Feedback Support – The Android OS and most Android devices support haptic feedback natively. This gives you a tactile vibration when you type, long press, or touch any of the navigation buttons. This is done to make it clear your touch was acknowledged, so you don’t have to tap twice. Haptic feedback also makes games much more enjoyable to play.

  43. More Screen Unlock Options – Android now has five different ways to unlock your screen: A slider (which lets you access the home screen or camera), pattern unlock, PIN unlock, password unlock and Face unlock.
  44. No Bluetooth Transfer Restrictions – Most iOS Bluetooth apps have limitations which Android apps don’t have. They cannot send data over Bluetooth to an Android device (unless the iOS device has been jailbroken). Most apps available in the App store can only send photos, and cannot send audio, video and other documents.
  45. Speed Dials – Android allows you to add icons for contacts directly to your home screen(s), so you can quickly call or text them. iOS users must first open the Phone or Messaging apps before communicating with contacts.
  46. Multicolored LED alerts – Most Android devices have a small LED that alerts you to missed calls, new messages and other system events like low-battery. As with other Android phones, you can customize exactly how and when the LED works by installing a third-party LED control app like Light Flow. The iPhone does have a setting buried under Accessibility, which flashes an LED when a calls or text message is received, but it’s not nearly as flexible as this feature. Light Flow lets you assign different colors to voice mail, missed calls, calendar reminders, Gmail, Facebook notifications, SMS messages and many more things.

The Tide is Turning

Although iOS still has some very important advantages over Android, it seems that every time I update this article, the list of Android advantages gets longer, and the list of iOS advantages gets shorter. Even the most die hard Apple fans admit that iOS is showing its age and Apple still hasn’t figured out Sharing or the Cloud. Apple’s between a rock and a hard place, because they have to add some of the above features at some point, but when they do they will be accused of copying Android. Sure Apple still has a few tricks up their sleeve, and an amazing patent pool, but they are clearly playing catch up at the moment.

“Real Men Use Android”

After many years of promoting Apple’s products Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki recently switched to Android. Really. He recently did a interview where he said, “People are kind of amazed, but I don’t use any iOS products, none at all. I fell in love with Android on the smartphone, and then I got a Nexus 7 and started using Android on the tablet as well. To me the great irony is that Apple’s slogan was `Think Different,’ but today if you think different you’re looking at Android.” Guy uses a Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Now that Apple has finally caught up to Android hardware in areas like 4G , Guy says it’s Android’s “superior software that keeps him from moving astray.”

Guy Kawasaki’s Five Favorite Android Features

  1. Multiple apps running in multiple windows
  2. Widgets
  3. Ability to launch files and choose default apps
  4. Ability to see all your apps in an alphabetical listing no matter what folder they are in
  5. Ability to pick your own keyboard (he uses SmartKey)

– Rick

Copyright 2013 Rick Schwartz. All rights reserved. Linking to this article is encouraged.

Follow me on Twitter @mostlytech1

About Rick E. Schwartz
Rick Schwartz is blogger from San Diego. You can learn more about Rick by clicking on the "About" tab at the top of

48 Responses to Android 4.4′s Advantages Over iOS 7.1

  1. All of these advantages make Android’s OS easier to accept viruses or malware into the system. That will NEVER happen in iOS!! Plus, the majority of apps have no specifications or info to let consumers know what apps are safe or not. #reality

    • You make a good point. Thanks. I’ll add that to this article.

      Although it’s true that Android apps are more likely to have malware, there are well-documented cases of iOS apps having malware as well.

      – Rick

      • bc70 says:

        I am willing to accept the chance of malware or virus on my android device in exchange for the openness of the platform. I can create apps for an android device with any os or computer and I don’t need anyone’s permission to put it onto my android device for testing or using. Makes it like a computer where I can create things for just my use and no one interferes with my ideas or creativeness or just simple testing experimenting.

      • I agree the malware threat is way over blown. I’ve downloaded hundreds of apps and not one had an issue. I have many friends that use Android devices and they or their friends don’t know anyone who has ever had an issue with this.

        Thanks for the comment.

        – Rick

    • WalterCool says:

      Yes, that happens if you are pirate or download android apps from unknown sources… that happens too on Windows, Linux and OSX. As Rick said, I have never a problem, I’m not pirate and Google Play is very safe

  2. Amir Soleimani says:

    Hi Rick,

    I’m a visually impaired smartphone user and ever since I saw the new features for Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean), I started wondering what Google meant by “speech output” and “gesture mode” for blind users. I mean, JB already has speech output and gesture mode, so do you know if these refer to something new or enhanced in 4.2 as opposed to 4.1? I’m almost sure Google is pointing to something new, but, sadly, no mainstream reviews of Android 4.2 or Nexus 4/10 have covered this important aspect of Android. I’m currently an iPhone 4S user but am planning to get a Galaxy Note II (I’m fed up with the limitations of the iOS though its accessibility model is exemplary and more advanced than that of Android). However, if 4.2 offers accessibility-oriented enhancements for us (the visually impaired), I might hold off that and get a Nexus device instead. As I’m totally blind, the newly introduced “Zoom” feature doesn’t mean much to me, so I just want to figure out what that cryptic “speech output and gesture mode” in 4.2 means. I’d appreciate it if you could shed light on that.


    • Enable screen magnification to easily zoom or pan the entire screen to get a closer look. Visually impaired users can now enter full-screen magnification with a triple-tap on the screen, and even type and interact with the device while zoomed in. Blind users can use Gesture Mode to reliably navigate the UI using touch and swipe gestures in combination with speech output.

      – Rick

  3. Amir Soleimani says:

    I already knew that, Rick. My point is that Android 4.1 already has these speech and gesture-oriented features for the blind minus the magnification stuff, but what has changed between 4.1 and 4.2 in gesture and speech support? Google hasn’t mentioned them and no one has covered them in their reviews. This might seem rather odd, but don’t you have access to Android 4.2 for a hands-on review to touch this areaa with more details?


  4. Amir Soleimani says:

    No problem, Rick. I guess I’ll find out soon. Now my urgent dilemma is whether I should get the Galaxy Note II or the Nexus 4. I very much like the hardware specs of the former while I can’t forgo quick access to the latest Android releases which is the most important hallmark of the latter! I don’t know which direction to take.


  5. I could have sworn I could use live wallpaper on my Galaxy SII before the ICS upgrade.

  6. TechSupak says:

    Rick E. Schwartz, I understand all the advantages you’ve listed. And you are correct. But there is something you will never understand, and that is STABILITY. With stability I mean when I open/cut/copy/paste/save/delete/call/send it will do that 100%. I have had my fair share of Android devices, but I could never realy rely on them. For instance, when I took a picture(nexus), and then opened the gallery app, it wasn’t there. Some hours later it was. When someone called me I couldn’t answer beacuse I couldn’t get it to slide to answer(stolen from iOS). Don’t even get me started on the build quality. Don’t…

    Google is a company that made their almost entire revenue from their search engine(which is great). So they spend all of their free time(Google Chrome is also great) developing these half made products that never really revolutionize anything. The whole Android OS is absolute 100% iOS copy. And that is why it’s fragmented, choppy, laggy…everything half done. So they rush with all the advantages they have or have heard consumers are dissatisfied with their iOS device. Flash support, now gone in Android…microSD slot, also most devices do not support…everything is just rushed and put into the device so they can say, YES it has this or that feature. Nothing works perfect. OMFG, the facerecognition unlock. OMG, who the hell uses that.

    Do not! DO NOT get me started on the software updates! OMG, every OEM just LIES to their consumers when it will be out. Millions of Android phones, some get the new software some don’t…etc. If I cough up 600 bucks for a phone, I want to be taken care off software wise.

    Let me sum up 🙂

    I will always buy something that will do the task right. The iPhone is mainstream and most users will agree with me when I say… IPHONE IS #1 PHONE.
    All other phones are complete copies since 2007, but that does not mean that they are just plain wrong. It’s nice to see competition, trying…

    Do not argue with me. I said iPhone is #1, but it doesn’t mean it has no flaws.
    I am not biased, and I am very much aware of the Jelly Bean 4.1.
    I just don’t like how this marvel of engineering is sold to 12 year old kids thesedays.
    How every dumb blond girl has one. Every cougar mom, every fat rich guy…
    They should be sold to people who know every little corner of their iPhone, every detail hardware wise.

    “It’s like selling an Lamborghini Gallardo to a redneck.” Sorry if I hurt anyone’s feelings.

    • I do appreciate your comments, but I use an iPad 3 for at least 3-4 hours a day and don’t find it to be any more stable than my Android devices. My iPhone 3 was definitely much less stable than my Galaxy Nexus, but that wasn’t running iOS 6.

      – Rick

    • Tyler says:

      I’m probably not going to change your opinion but here goes nothing. Android has matured into a more robust operating system ever since Android 4.0. I have owned an ipod touch, the Motorola Droid and currently use a Samsung Galaxy Nexus. With that said I agree that iOS was more polished than Android before 4.0(possibly 2.3 but i can’t say because i never used 2.3). Prior to Android 4.0, things were choppy and not nearly as smooth as iOS, i’ve experience gallary issues on my droid, but never on my nexus. Rarely do i see apps crash on my galaxy nexus and when an app does its usually not even in the foreground(currently opened app). Personally I don’t believe Android is stolen, the company was founded in 2003 and purchased by google in 2005. Its also based off of linux too unlike iOS. With that said I wasn’t there when they made android and what happened behind closed doors is unknown to me.
      Android smartphones have great build quality. My motorola droid was and is a tank. Is every android phone great, no, but any high end smartphone made by Motorola, HTC and now Samsung (GS3 uses higher quality plastics than previous Samsung phones) is great. iPhones are well build phones, and offer just as good of build quality as Android phones.
      Updates are lackluster on Android but if you buy a high end popular phone on Android you should get updates eventually. If you happen to own a nexus device you can easily expect updates in a very timely manner compared to other manufacturers.
      Android is more polished then ever. Its buttery smooth, isn’t laggy. Sure new features may not work perfectly such as photosphere, but the thing is Android is willing to take risks and unveil new features. They usually work just as good as on the iPhone from day 1 and you don’t have to wait for the next OS update to find out that feature was striped for your older product.
      To sum things up, if you asked 100000 iOS users what phone they thought was best they should all say their own phone is the best, why else would they of bought it. Android is more mainstream and more relevant than iOS according to all of the smartphone distribution charts. Selling 30 million Samsung Galaxy S3 devices sounds like success to me, so when you saying the competition is trying i’m slightly confused. Overall you do makes some good points but fail to see some as well. I’m sure I don’t see things clearly in your eyes as well, after all i see iOS as an app drawer that is as basic as they get.

      • Thanks for the comments. You make some good points.

        – Rick

      • TechSupak says:

        So what you are saying is just try to spend money in Andorid and their devices? After the initial hype I was sold but only to find out I spent 600$ for Samsung Galaxy S crap. I felt like someone stabbed me in the back. I got this plasticky thingy, that was so incredebly laggy. The browser…OMG, the brower was a piece of s***. Almost every app I installed crashed. One day I decide I will play a game on my SGS. So I download this game… After installing it, it put some theme songs of the into my music player. After a while it went baaad, music player kept crashing(force quitting…etc). I never got un 2.3.5 update, because of course I live in Slovenia(region). I even didn’t get 2.2.1. I’m stuck with 2.2.
        Bare in mind, I spent 600$ on the phone.
        I will not answer to questions like ”Why didn’t you root it?”

        SGS was the stupidest purchase I have ever made. I felt literarlly robbed by Samsung. It was just an excuse to get Market Share and not customer’s satisfaction.

        And now you are telling me to try again? SGS3 users don’t have an official Jelly Bean upgrade(don’t say it is coming…a month and so on). When it does it will come for certain regions. Many will be left out and forgotten.


        Project butter…HA! iOS has been buttery smooth since 2007. WP7 worked better, everyone had something to say to Microsoft, but the fact is it ran smooth from day one, and the tasks of a phone run like BUTTER. Butter is to be associated with WP and iOS. I’d rather switch to a WP phone than an Android.

        iOS on iPhone will always run better, it’s a mixture of software and hardware. FUSION.
        Ha! SGS3!? It’s Google’s OS with a slap of the ugliest thing on the planet TouchWiz and a plasticky design. I know it feels sturdy, but after iPhone 4, nothing comes close.

        So they f’ed up with Maps. What do they do? Immediately try to solve it, and work day and night and at the end found a temporary solution to download other maps.

        iOS and OSX – Objective C…PERIOD.

  7. TechSupak says:

    Yes I know, I’m just another apple fanboy.
    I am aware of 4.1 and the latest 4.2 infact. But still, far behind iOS, with it’s perfect OS layout, simplicity and every design detail thought out. Everything just works as it should. When you surf through your android device, install, play, web… you overload your phone so much that it gets choppy, stalls, animations don’t work as good, so you have to go and release memory, if an app freezes, you have to go to settings, find that app and kill it(erase data…something like that). I downloaded this app for local buses and installed it. After opening it it crashed and froze and I had to restart my device. Who the hell let that app into their store. And nothing is different with latest devices.
    I admit they are a little less buggy and laggy, but still.
    I only respect HTC’s hardware, because it feels nice in your hands. Doesn’t feel cheap.

    OH?! When apple introduced 1st iPhone in january 2007, they had to develop the thing and it takes a few years. In that time Eric Schmidt was WELL aware of the project and was a part of it because google was used on it (Search engine, Maps, Youtube). After some serious thinking about how the software should be optimized for finger touch, the complete simple layout… homescreen, 1 button to go back from wherever you are. The lock screen, sleep wake thing, slide to unlock, multitouch gestures(pinch to zoom), rotate screen…etc. Music controls on the lock screen or anywhere in OS…every apple solution was stolen. OMG even the back to home screen animation is the same. Am I on some crazy pills or is it just me?! The Grid of icons, same layout. Appstore, Google Play?!
    Everything was stolen…

    With the iPad they kept Eric Schmidt in the dark and android tablet market is behind(but slowly rising).

    Can you see similarities with iOS and WP? Some, but mostly none. They respect the iOS, they’ve learned from it and try to do something new, different approach to design and OS navigation.

    Seriously widgets? The battery sucking, CPU hog widgets? The only company that does widgets right is Microsoft with Live Tiles. Hands down to them. They figured it out. Everyone is saying how 7.5 was lacking everything, but the truth is it was faaaar more stable than android. It does the basic phone functions just right!

    The iPhone is a dual core with 1GB of memory. And still works better and is faster than top notch android quad core with 2 GB of memory. Now that is sad.

  8. TechSupak says:

    My last big comment was deleted. Why is that?

    • Because there was nothing of value in it. If you make rational comments I will allow them, but I don’t think you’re capable of doing that.

      This article is about ANDROID’s advantages. If you think a few items here are incorrect and you have facts to back up your statement, let me know.

      – Rick

  9. TechSupak says:

    I think they were rational enough. I made good points. I do not deserve this. Don’t patronise me.

    • Your comments were silly. I’ll spare you the embarrassment. Maybe you should find another blog…

      – Rick

      • TechSupak says:

        I mean no harm, but a point of this thread is debate. How can we debate if you delete my posts. I am not provocative, I try not to curse and respect opinions of other. Especially opinions of co-techgeeks. Don’t spare me the embarrassment, and let it be posted. I respected your post, didn’t bash it and read it from the first sentence to the last.

        Slobo from Slovenia.

      • It’s posted.

        – Rick

  10. Scyn says:

    I can’t believe I read TechSupak’s last reply. What a waste of time.

    • Scyn says:

      Actually, make that ANY of his replies.

      • -Z- says:

        He’s smoking some REALLY strong stuff.

        Some of the gems after which I stopped reading: “DON’T argue with me, the iPhone is # 1”

        “The iPhone is a dual core with 1GB of memory. And still works better and is faster than top notch android quad core with 2 GB of memory.”

        “OMG even the back to home screen animation is the same. Am I on some crazy pills or is it just me?! The Grid of icons, same layout. Appstore, Google Play?!
        Everything was stolen…”

        Wow…just…wow. It is amazing how deluded people are. I think it’s the shine off the apple products that blinds them where everything just comes down to “it just works”.

        Everything he says is based off experience of a Samsung galaxy S. I don’t know if he bought a rip-off from China that spelled it “Samsnug” and he didn’t notice, but having owned that phone for over a year, I can safely say that that was the best purchase I made. I had it rooted, used Darky’s fantastic ROM before switching to Cyanogenmod 9 when ICS came out. I could not have asked for more. And yet they delivered the galaxy note.

        Here’s something to wrap your head around, TechSupak: Apple makes ONE phone a year. That makes it a grand total of a 6 “different” phones. And I use that term VERY loosely. In that period, there have been 600 android devices. Six HUNDRED different devices, from different manufacturers. Don’t believe me? Look it up. You know what that boils down to? Choice.

        Don’t like one phone? Fine, buy another. Don’t like the look of the O.S. or the OEM layer on top? Fine, use a new ROM. Heck, the OEM themselves give their code so people can make it better. You know why? Because they don’t consider themselves the be-all and the end-all. Because they respect their user base enough to know that they can and will come up with something better, or something a particular segment of people will want. With Apple it’s my way or the highway. Apple is the only one that can conceive, produce the best, prettiest, most awesome navigating phone in the entire universe and no one can do it better and if they try then Apple will sue them to kingdom-come.

        I could go on and on about this, but this is long enough already and off-topic. With every new version of their O.S. android has brought something new, something fresh and something that makes you want to upgrade; makes you want to see what the C-O-M-M-U-N-I-T-Y can do with it. Do you understand that word? A group of people, who, in their spare time, like to tinker with hardware because the manufacturer allows them to and supports it. Not hiding away in a corner with the manufacturer doing everything in their power to have you arrested and put a stop to someone trying to be different.

        TL;DR? I thought so. I’ll make it easy for you:

        1. Android gives you choice.
        2. Apple didn’t “invent” a single thing of what you see on their phones, they “took” it from other people, put it together in one package, printed their logo and fed it at an exorbitant price to crazies like you.
        3. Please, enough of the “technology for the insane”. Wake up and look around you. More options are ALWAYS a good thing.

      • Agreed. There is a lot of denial going on. Investors are figuring it out however. Apple stock has lost over $120,000,000,000 since September.

        – Rick

  11. Borys Medicky says:

    Sorry to jump in on an old thread. It’s worth pointing out that many iOS features that Apple fans claim as original were either stolen outright by Apple from someone else, or were developed by companies that Apple later bought or licenced. See:

  12. Karla says:

    Hi Rick. I’ve been considering getting either a Nexus 10 or an iPad 4th generation, and your articles are really helpful in giving the pros and cons of each. I did some more research online and have found that there are lots of complaints about the Nexus 10/Android Jelly Bean crashing repeatedly. Has Google already addressed this? Do you also experience crashes and reboots often on your Nexus 10? Thanks!

    • There was a point in time I was experiencing regular crashes but now it doesn’t happen as often. I suspect it’s not completely fixed yet, or we would have heard more about this. I have an iPad and it sometimes crashes too, although its gotten better.

      – Rick

  13. ultra says:

    I just got the note10.1 and updated it to jellybean using the uk rom. Jeez man its amazing. Smooth and not a single sign of choppyness or lag. The spen is to die for, absolute perfection. It freezes all keys and icons in the snote if it detects the pen is near the screen so u dont accidently click an icon while writing. I also love the voice commands that can control the mp3 music player app. I can drive while changing tracks or pausing just by saying the words for the voice command on my tablet. File sharing is better than my laptop, i can use usb, usb flashdrives, wifi direct, bluetooth, sd card its limitless. And to those fools that claim ipads are the bible of tablet technology should really get their head out of their a##. An ipad is just a dead end media device, the note is a tablet with laptop capabalities.

  14. Asension Martinez says:

    I’m actually looking at getting the Asus Transformer Infinity Tab, but am not sure wether to buy that or an iPad with Retina. This is for business but I’m struggling to make a decision based on what I’ve heard from so many sources. What would you recommend, Rick? Any other tablets I should look into? A decent hard drive, good processor, good graphics, streamlined yet flexible operating system, and reliability, are all strong selling points for me. I also need a larger screen as well, for presenting business plans and the such.

    • I own both of the products you mention and find the Transformer Prime to be better for business. Make sure to by their keyboard however.

      – Rick

      • Adrian says:

        Rick, I have both a new Samsung Note II and Ipad Mini – I have had iphones since first release, but bought the Samsung Note II with the idea of it being bigger screen than my Iphone 5 to work from but also allowed phone calls with my carrier. I then bought the Ipad Mini thinking that keep everything constant, but IOS has file sharing limitations etc as I run my website more mobile. I’m confused as to the direction to go – as it’s a big change moving to Android from IOS, and do have the virus fear with an Android System. No doubt you’ve used both devices – is it an investment in the future to transition to Android now based on the greater diversity, and the development pathway they are following over IOS etc – even though most developers first develop IOS versions of their software over Android? I’m at a crossroads to stay with the norm for another year or so, or make the shift now based on easier integration with file sharing etc, faster speed, and anticipating future direction. Definitely Apple’s decline in handsets sold etc has highlighted to me that the rest of the market hasn’t just caught up, but has passed Apple in many areas. Advice please

      • The transition from iOS to Android will be easier than you expect. The first few days will be hard however. I keep my iPad for 3 months in case I wanted to go back or missed any apps, but I never use it and have decided to now give it away. Android isn’t right for everyone, I wouldn’t recommend it for a musician, or professional photographer (yet), but for me it was a good decision to switch.

        – Rick

  15. Sd says:

    I think android reached this position because droid phone comes with all type of smartphone (from high end to low end) But apple just produces phone which are much costlier than any (droid) phone probably because of premium branding.
    Gs4 will cost less than iphone 5 in India. (this is due to taxes)
    Correct of if I’m wrong.
    Sent from my s60v5.

  16. doubleMMM says:

    I will mention one… just one thing… AIRDROID!

    I broke my Xperia screen and while it was at the service to be repaired… I borrowed an iPhone 4s from a friend… one week… and never again

    Better camera… can’t share photos via Blutooth
    Better build quality… same look like million other iPhones
    Better UI… same grid of tiles with ages
    Intuitive… try to find the back button in every app different
    Looking upclass… it’s not a Vertu

  17. Marty says:

    Number 26, audio equalisation: In iOS, go to Settings -> Music -EQ and you’ll find 23 presets…

  18. Clint says:

    Just use what works for you, sub-headlines like ‘Real men use Android’…. along with shutting down somebody challenging your points, rather childish to be honest. And just to add I’m a Android user not a Apple hater (which is worse then the fan-boy imo).

    • I appreciate your feedback but ‘Real men use Android’ was not my quote, it came from ex-Apple employee.

      If you can point out any of my claims which are factually incorrect, I’ll change them.

      – Rick

  19. Hi Rick,

    I’m late to the game…again… Some of this has been enlightening as an average Android user.
    I recently picked up a second-hand iPad 2 because the music-creation apps in Android – where there are any – don’t seem to rate a mention or rate very highly in comparison to those in the iOS ecosystem.

    Android’s openness has, like Windows on desktops, created a hodge-podge of hardware platforms. Anyone who’s attempted anything on a Windows PC which is outside of office/web-browsing/email knows that hardware can be the killer-factor affecting an app’s performance and the end-user’s satisfaction.

    I would rather have put the same money extorted for the 2nd-hand iPad towards an Android tablet with the equivalent ease-of-use, functionality, and interconnectivity of music-creation apps AND all of the stuff which Apple denies its users, such as storage expandability, use of industry-standard I/O porting, and native file-system connectivity, just to start with.

    Have you posted an article yet, or do you know of any articles which compare the current state of music creation apps on Android with iOS. To be fair, the base-line seems to be that the Android requirements should be comparable to the performance of a 16Gb iPad 2 running iOS 5 (which seems to be the common lower-limit for most iOS apps)



    • Thanks for the comments. I haven’t done a comparison about music creation apps on both platforms yet. Although Android has improved over the past year in this area with low-latency audio and a few good apps, iOS still dominates in this area.

      – Rick

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