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Ten Ways Android Beats iPhone, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry, Etc.
November 9, 2010 09:30 AM
"LOOK, SIR. DROIDS."
Some people refuse to acknowledge it. They'll fight tooth and nail to deny it. They'll flood comment sections with angry diatribes, condemning the very notion. And while it may have been easy to dismiss two years ago, it's hard to ignore now.
Simply put, there are some things that Android does better than the iPhone.
Although it's not nearly as controversial a sentiment back when the Motorola Droid launched, it still riles up the diehard Apple fans. The iPhone does have its perks -- no one has figured out how to make a media player as easy and polished as the iPod software. But it, along with the BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7, doesn't measure up to a few features boasted by a number of Android devices.
listed ten areas
in which Android competitors come in second.
1. Maps and navigation
Google's Maps application is simply the best out there. It's only going to get better with monthly updates that will add features and perfect the interface. Bing Maps on Windows Mobile is surprisingly good but it doesn't have the same layers and granular features as Google Maps.
The iPhone's Maps application has barely changed since 2007. Good alternatives in the app Store can be expensive and take up as much as 1-2 Gigs of precious phone storage. Google's app, on the other hand, takes up almost no space on the phone because everything is in the cloud.
The only downside is that Google's Maps uses more data and re-routing when outside of a data area. If you require offline maps, there are some in the Android Market. Also, HTC is offering a free version of offline Maps on their phones.
2. Notify bar
Google's notify bar leaves other platforms' notification systems looking incomplete. Emails, SMSs Facebook notifications, charging, software updates, task managers--just about anything you can think of is managed from a pull-down drawer that can be almost universally used from any screen.
Windows Phone 7 uses tiles that require leaving the current application. iPhone has serial notifications that can't be grouped onto one screen.
At first, I didn't really see the need for Widgets. But after playing around, it is hard to imagine using a smartphone without them.
Just like Windows Mobile 7's tiles, you can set up a page with your Google Voice, RSS, Twitter and Facebook streams and organize them any way you want. It makes a much better 'mission control' screen than you can get on the iPhone, which only lets you see apps and notifications.
4. Carrier choice
Right now in the U.S., you're stuck with AT&T if you have an iPhone, or either AT&T or T-Mobile if you have a Windows 7 phone. That will change in 2011, but at the moment, you don't have another choice if AT&T doesn't have coverage in your area or costs more than you want to pay.
With Google, on the other hand, you can pick the best carrier in your area for your budget. Each one will have at least a few great Android phones available.
You can create a Wireless hotspot with most Android phones that lets other devices like iPads and laptops jump on the same connection as the phone.
While this costs extra, the convenience and utility of the service make it much better than purchasing separate hardware. iPhone does do tethering, but only to laptops (without jail-breaking). Windows 7 doesn't create hotspots at all.
6. Screen size selection
If you want an iPhone, you have exactly one screen size to choose from: 3.5 inches. On Windows Mobile, the size of the screen varies, but the resolution is stuck at 480x800 for the foreseeable future.
With Android, you can find super-small phones like the HTC Aria, which has a 3.2-inch HVGA screen, or you can find up to 4.3-inch screens on the Droid X or Sprint EVO. If that's not big enough for you, you can run Android on a 5-inch Dell tablet and use that as your phone.
7. Voice actions
Windows Phone 7 has speech recognition, and the iPhone benefits from an application that Apple bought called Siri, but neither has integrated it into the phone nearly as well as Google.
From any screen, you can hold down the search button for a few seconds and a voice menu automatically waits for a command. From this menu, you can write an email, SMS, pick a song, navigate to a destination, initiate a call, search the web--just about anything. This is a game changer if you want to use your phone in your car or you want to walk without having to type.
8. Fastest browser
I probably use my smartphone the most for browsing the Web. I've tried the browser on Windows Mobile, and it is good. But it's slow compared to Froyo on a mid-to-high range Android phone. The browser on the iPhone is also good, but can't keep up with Froyo's speed either.
9. More/Better buttons
Android, Windows Mobile and the iPhone all have a home button that does pretty much the same thing. While iPhone ends there, Windows phones have a search button and a back button.
Android adds a menu button that brings up a menu in any application that is open. This allows powerful and fast access to settings that can only be accessed from separate settings menus on the other platforms. The back and search buttons on both Android and Windows are fantastic for navigation and only take a few hours to get used to.
Oh and that dedicated camera button on Windows? Some Android devices have it and some don't, but it's nice to have a choice.
10. Google Voice
Having Google Voice integrated into Android is a huge advantage over any telecom routing/transcription/service. While it is available as a web service on Windows Mobile and a third party app on the iPhone, having the service integrated changes everything.
Quite simply, if you don't use Google Voice yet, you are missing out.
While retail prices of high-end Android devices are often as high or higher than the $199 AT&T plan currently offered for the Windows 7 series and the iPhone, third parties like Amazon and Wirefly bring costs down considerably.
Also, AT&T's plans are as expensive as any in the US. Sprint and T-Mobile often offer discounted monthly data plans which will, over the life of the phone, save consumers much more than the phone's price.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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