5 Reasons To Choose Android Over iPhone [Opinion]

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ipad vs androidIf you’re looking at buying a smartphone, you’re probably going to buy an Android device or an iPhone (sorry, Microsoft). What’s the difference, and which should you choose? We recently gave the pro-iPhone side of the story, and now in the interests of balance, it’s time for to put forward the case for Android.

Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS aren’t just competing operating systems with different software; they’re radically different platforms. Apple provides a locked-down, restricted environment, while Android provides freedom, flexibility and choice. I bet some of you are already itching to comment on this one – remember to share your perspective in the comments.

You Can Run Any App You Want

Apple exercises ironfisted control over what you can do with your own phone – iOS is a walled garden. Exercising control over the app store is one thing, but it’s more pernicious than that. Apple prevents your phone – or rather, their phone – from running anything that doesn’t appear in the app store.

ipad vs android

Here’s an example of why this is bad. Apple originally banned Google Voice from the app store. Apple didn’t allow Google Voice apps on the iPhone because they “duplicate features that come with the iPhone“. Gee, it’s a good thing Microsoft didn’t think of that – if they had, you wouldn’t be able to run iTunes on your Windows PC because it competes with Windows Media Player. The US government stepped in, and now you can run Google Voice on your iPhone.

Firefox, Opera and other browsers compete with the default browser (Firefox for iPhone is just a shell on top of Safari). App stores like Amazon and GetJar compete with the Market by offering paid apps for free.

why choose android or iphone

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You Can Customize Your Phone

Although Google Voice is on the iPhone, it can’t be as deeply integrated with your phone. On Android, Google Voice can hook into the built-in dialer, so all calls will go through Google Voice. Android allows apps to replace and modify parts of the OS that are untouchable on an iPhone.

Custom keyboards for Android can provide new input methods (and themes, if that’s your thing). Swype and other keyboards allow you to slide your finger over the letters you want to type instead of hunting and pecking. It sounds a bit odd at first, but it’s very intuitive (and fast!) once you try it.

why choose android or iphone

Android also allows custom home screens. People complain about the launchers that come with Android phones, but you can replace them if you don’t want them – just install one of the many third-party launchers from the Market. Home screens, even the built-in ones, also support widgets, so you can see rich information without opening an app.

why choose android or iphone

Or, how about Tasker? It digs deep into the innards of your phone in a way that no iPhone app could and lets you create all sorts of automatic tasks. Tasker can automatically turn off the Wi-Fi at night, mute your phone when you’re in a specific location, and more.

You Have More Hardware Choice

Henry Ford once said that a customer could have any color of car they wanted – as long as it was black. Apple takes the same approach to hardware choice.

Do you think the iPhone’s 3.5-inch screen is too small? Android’s screen size is negotiable – some phones have massive, 4.65-inch screens, while some have tiny, 2.8-inch screens.

android over iphone

Looking for a cheap smartphone? You’ll find cheaper Android smartphones at the low end. Older iPhones may be available for $0 with a contract in some places, but you won’t find cheap iPhones that come without a contract.

Do you want 4G speeds? You’ll need an Android phone. There are also Android phones with physical keyboards, phones with 3D displays, phones designed for gaming and phones with a stylus.

You Can Escape Apple’s Censorship

When you buy an iPhone, you’re allowing Apple to censor content on your phone. Apple recently banned “Phone Story”, a satirical game that criticized labor practices at all smartphone manufacturing factories. They said it depicted “violence or abuse of children” which is kind of the point. A similar game would not have been banned from the Android Market. Even if it was, you could download and install it straight from the developer.

In the past, Apple has also banned a Pulitzer Prize-winning satirist’s app from the app store. Apple explained that they don’t allow “content that ridicules public figures” on your phone. Bad press forced them to back down in this case, but people who haven’t won Pulitzer Prizes would likely be out of luck.

android over iphone

You Can Use Custom ROMs

I hear you iPhone fans out there – you’re saying that this doesn’t matter because you can jailbreak your iPhone. But Apple works hard to ensure jailbreaks are reversed when you update your iPhone’s OS, and they fought to make jailbreaking illegal in the US. Not just against the terms of service, but illegal. As in an actual crime.

The Android equivalent of jailbreaking is called “rooting” and you can also install customized operating systems on your device (known as custom ROMs). Android manufacturers don’t go out of their way to make this extra difficult – some even help you do it.

ipad vs android

Android is open-source, so the modding community has a lot more freedom and flexibility when it comes to tweaking it for your device. It’s your phone, and you can do whatever you want with it.

Conclusion

There are other advantages to Android. Google Navigation is amazing. iTunes isn’t necessary for Android. Google Wallet promises to, one day, make the wallet obsolete.

There’s no denying that Android has problems and that Apple’s ironfisted control can make some things more convenient for iPhone users. But I’d rather have the choice, freedom and flexibility that comes with Android.

I’m sure many of you already have an iPhone or an Android phone – why did you choose your favorite device? Did I miss your favorite Android feature? Let me know in the comments!

Image Credit: Alan Levine, Mike Babcock, Johan Larsson

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Comments (158)
  • Shiva

    Thanks a lot Chris… I’m from India…I’m a vey low end phone user seeking an upgrade to Android or iOS… iPhone prices are very high here.. The iPhone 16Gb in US is just $199… in India it’s 41,000 Rupees($760 @ 54rupees/dollar). So I had a fix between Sony Ericsson Xperia U and iPhone(thought of asking my US friend to FedEx it.. so that can jail break)… as both were of same price $299…

    But this review clearly stated of the problems with jailbreak… Thanks a lot Chris… So I’ve decided… Android or nothing…

    • Chris Hoffman

      Thanks, Shiva! To be fair, a lot of people do like iPhones. I personally don’t like Apple’s tactics, but the software itself is slick. People should make their own decisions — I would never tell anyone they shouldn’t buy an iPhone if they’re making an informed decision and that’s what they really want.

    • Shiva

      What do u say abt Sony Xperia’s performance in case of Android Chris??? I have Xperia U(after it get’s ICS ugrade.. by the time it will be Diwali here) in mind….

    • Shiva

      Chris… now i’m well informed… I just have a pc… so can’t take it everywhere if i need o change songs from pc… Also I’ve started to learn Android programming… so … I’ll go with Xperia

    • Chris Hoffman

      I’m not all that familiar with the Xperia — like many fans, I love stock Android devices (the Nexus line) because they’ll get updates fast and won’t be cluttered with bloatware.

      Unfortunately, the Galaxy Nexus is a bit behind the times compared to the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III, hardware-wise.

    • Martian

      But Nexus, galaxy sIII and HTC one X are all way costly bro…

    • Chris Hoffman

      Yeah, it depends on what you want — the Galaxy Nexus is cheap these days though, $350 unlocked in the US. That’s cheap for a smartphone.

      Of course, it depends what you’re looking for. I myself am using a cheaper device at the moment and holding on to buy a new one — possibly one of the new Nexus phones that will be out at some point this year.

  • JohnS

    I think another big point of Apple’s iPhones, as well as most Apple products is that they are rarely tech market cutting edge, though both Apple & Android often are cutting edge in innovation. For example when a brand new Apple product rolls out they rarely have the most cutting edge camera or processor specs or available hd space. Android’s phones were typically boasting 8mp cameras while iPhone’s were far substandard. Another important phone feature of iPhone’s (that was only recently addressed in their optimum & most expensive phone) was that the iPhones have never worked immediately out of the box. What kind of phone doesn’t work until you go home and plug it into a computer first? And the computer must have iTunes downloaded. Which is no small file, especially if you have a slow data connection. Apple didn’t seem to care about places around the world & in the US who didn’t have computers as commonplace or in every home or people who didn’t have fast data connections. I think these are important about iPhones and Apple products on a whole, and says a lot about the company!

    • Chris Hoffman

      I believe I’ve heard that the latest iPhones don’t have to be synced with iTunes (or was that just iPads?).

      Still, you’re right — the hardware is way behind. Compare an iPhone to the Samsung Galaxy S III, say — it’s the latest powerhouse. Significantly less RAM, no NFC, no 4G, significantly smaller screen size…

  • shaurya boogie

    How about windows mango vs android vs iOS? however, jailbreak is illegal which voids guarantee.

    • Chris Hoffman

      Not actually illegal these days, although Apple says it voids the warranty.

      A post comparing all three smartphone platforms would be a great idea, though! Someone who’s used all of them should handle it — I’ve never touched a Windows Phone device.

  • Fitzgerald R

    I find posts like this funny. Number one you say you can install any app you want – if that app is good why can’t it get listed in AppStore or GooglePlay? This apps can easily bring malware and viruses. Look at windows! If they had an AppStore we wouldn’t be speaking of windows malware.
    Next, applications in AppStore create revenue for developers whether through ads or purchases. Allowing installation of apps outside AppStore creates piracy. That’s why most developers take time to make iPhone apps because they are worthy it.
    Reason 2, u can customize ur iPhone too. U can change the small widgets and place them anywhere. As for the keyboard who needs a different keyboard? Have you used an iPhone 4S keyboard? Even someone with a large thumb like me can type really fast. I just typed all this using the iPhone.
    High end Andoids are NOT cheap as you would want to suggest. Some of us are okay with the 3.5″.
    As for custom ROMs it’s optional just like jailbreak!
    Lastly an iPhone is not locked as you claim tell me how it’s locked! Android users say they love to customize phone. Which customization? Widgets or home screen or wallpapers?
    PS: write a post saying what an Android can do that iPhone can’t then you can convince me otherwise.

    • Chris Hoffman

      Well, maybe the app does something the platform creator didn’t approve of — for example, Apple blocked Google Voice from the iPhone for a long time. Apple is currently blocking OnLive from the iPad. It also censors apps with content it doesn’t approve of, like Phone Story, a game critical of Apple’s iPhone development process. When Apple censors an app, you can’t get the app without jailbreaking your device.

      After jailbreaking, you can also install pirated apps. I understand there’s a thriving app piracy community for iOS with easy installation, but I haven’t heard about anything like this for Android.

      And at least Google’s lawyers didn’t try to make custom ROMs and rooting illegal! Apple’s lawyers did.

      At the end of the day, I prefer an open platform where I can do what I want. It’s my device, and I’ll run the software I want to run without Apple trying to make that illegal and control what I can and can’t do.

  • Anonymous

    A very good article.
    Apple is for people who like their phones as it is but android is for people who’d like to get the most out of their phones and apple is highly over priced.

    • Chris Hoffman

      High-end Android phones can be pretty expensive, too. Apple does have really high profit margins, though — no wonder they make so much money.

      It’s funny to me that people cheer on Apple for making their piles of cash when it means that Apple products could be so much cheaper and Apple would still make a healthy profit.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.