The Linux Kernel
The Android OS (Operating System) is built on top of the Linux kernel and 100% open source. This means that anyone is free to download the Android source code to inspect it, distribute it or make modifications to it. Being based on the Linux kernel is a huge advantage to me and allows for some extremely creative things to be done when it comes to customization of the operating system and the development of applications.
Integration with Google
The Android OS is very tightly integrated with Google’s products and services. For someone who makes use of these products and services this is a major plus. With an Android phone you simply enter your Google login credentials and your contacts, calendar, e-mail and picasa web albums are all instantly synchronized with those online services. Make a change online and that change is synchronized with your phone and vice versa. These services are all free and provide ample storage unlike Apple’s MobileMe which will cost you $99 a year and really milk you for some cash should you need to upgrade your storage.
Other Google services tightly integrated with the Android OS are Google Voice, Google Listen, Google Finance and the extremely popular Google Maps. Google Maps is the most popular mapping site on the internet and with the Android OS it can be used to convert your Android smartphone into a fully functional GPS for free using Google Navigation. In the Android vs iPhone battle the Google integration is a major boost for Android.
No Carrier Restrictions
Use your Android enabled smartphone on any carrier you want. Neither the developers of the Android OS nor the manufacturers of the phones will try to force you towards one wireless carrier or another. This alone is enough of a reason to choose an Android phone over an iPhone. Apple has multi-year contracts with specific wireless carriers so if you prefer to do business with a certain wireless carrier you are out of luck unless Apple gives you the go ahead. This is my phone. Let me use a wireless carrier I trust not just wireless carriers you are in business with.
The Apple iPhone is a fantastic piece of technology, there is no arguing that. Again, I like to have the freedom of choice when it comes to the phone I use and its hardware specifications. If you use an iPhone, well, it’s going to be an iPhone. Exactly like your friends, exactly like your neighbors, exactly like everyone else’s smartphone. Minus iPhone users using older models your iPhone will be no different than the other 10 million phones walking around out there. The only real hardware decision left up to you when it comes to the iPhone is whether you want the 8, 16 or 32GB model.
With an Android phone you have the choice of which one to buy. Some Android smartphones have a faster processor, some have more storage space and some offer a much better camera than the iPhone (just to name a few of the hardware options available with Android smartphones). These phones are manufactured by any number of large, respected companies with proven track records. Competition is healthy, without it you (as a company) have little pressure to make changes to your products based on user opinions. You want different hardware specifications with your iPhone? You wait until Apple releases a new model and hope they’ve included that hardware specification you want. With the Android OS running on so many smartphones you can shop around for the hardware spec you want. Willing to sacrifice some storage space for a better camera? No problem. There is a Android enabled smartphone out there to fit your needs.
Ease of Use on Multiple Operating Systems
The iPhone has strict needs when it comes to transferring media to it, while it’s true you can sync the iPhone with multiple media players with a little effort, the iPhone is designed around a user running iTunes. You cannot simply drag and drop media onto your iPhone to transfer it which is a major drawback for me. I use multiple operating systems on a daily basis. Regardless of whether I’m on Windows, Linux or Mac OS X I can easily copy music and videos to my Android enabled smartphone without any extra software or hacks. My Android smartphone has no preference as to what operating system it is attached to, can you say the same about your iPhone?
These are just a few reasons I chose an Android phone over an iPhone. I used my iPhone for over a year, I work on an Apple computer most of the time yet I feel more comfortable using my Android phone for all my smartphone needs. I currently use a Sony Xperia X10 but I’m confident in saying any of the top 10 Android phones are better than the iPhone. Agree? Disagree? Have you recently moved from an iPhone to an Android phone? Are you an iPhone fanatic? How do you explain Android phones outselling Apple’s iPhone in the first quarter of 2010? Whatever your opinions on Android vs iPhone let us know via the comments box below!