Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

Android vs. iPhone: Which Should You Buy?


by Eric Larson on

Thomas Edison vs. Nikola Tesla. Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal. Amanda Bynes vs. Twitter.

The world is full of great rivalries, and for smartphones, there are no exceptions. The iPhone vs.Android debate is a staple within the tech community; most users will loyally (and outspokenly) tell you why their respective devices, and theirs only, are the far superior choices.

But what if you haven’t decided? Maybe you’re impartial to both. Maybe you’re still clutching yourNokia brick. Or maybe you just don’t care.

In any case, we’ve highlighted components of both phones to help you decide which brand is right for you. It boils down to minor preferences: Would you rather have an operating systemthat’s open-source? Or a more compact device likely to get top apps sooner? Et cetera.

Different strokes for different folks, really. Take a look and tell us in the comments which one you prefer — but please, be gentle.

1. Android: Open-Source Operating System

Unique to Android phones is its powerful open-source operating system, which is the most popular in the world, according to data by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. The system lets manufacturers, carriers, independent developers and savvy consumers modify content and fix bugs — all via the code Google releases under a free software permit called the Apache License.

The freely amendable OS opens up the potential for cool system projects, too, likeCyanogenmodParanoid Android and MIUI. It also allows developers to distribute and sideload content outside the constraints of the Google Play store.

2. iOS: Apps


Image: iTunes and Google Play

Apps, on the other hand, are a different story. For years, iOS lead the way with highest number of available apps, but now the numbers seem to be changing. An Apple press release from June, 2013 says the iTunes Store has more than 900,000 apps; and a Google spokesperson confirmed to Mashable that the Play Store has more than 975,000.

The quality of the apps is obviously a subjective argument, and loyal users of both will argue why and how their platforms do them better. What’s not as subjective is availability. iOS inarguably gets apps sooner — it took months for Android to access Instagram and Vine, after all. While Android may be catching up, Apple still secures more big-name apps before any other platform.

3. Android: App Flexibility

On the flip side, Android offers more flexibility with its apps by allowing FirefoxOpera andChrome to run, a capability that isn’t permitted through iOS.

4. Android: Data-Sharing

Something often overlooked in Android, as highlighted by Computerworld, is a system-wide sharing function called “intents.” The feature lets you pass data — text, photos, links — in between your apps. To use it, tap and hold your finger on a sentence (say, from an email) and click the “Share” icon, which pulls up a list of apps that allow the function, like Gmail or Dropbox. From there, it’s as simple as dragging the text, or whatever else you’ve selected, into the app of your choice.

Because of Android’s open-source OS, any developer can program his or her app to correspond with the internal data-sharing. It may seem minuscule, but it makes tasks like sharing photos or Google searches undoubtably quicker.

5. iOS: Portability

When it comes to size, iPhones are smaller and easier to carry than most Android phones. TheiPhone 5, the tallest to date, is 4.87 inches tall and 3.95 ounces, compared to the HTC One‘s 5.41 inches and 5 ounces. The Samsung Galaxy S4 measures in at 5.38 inches in height and 4.59 ounces.

On the other hand, rumors are circulating that Apple may debut a bigger phone come September, the time of year it typically unveils new iPhones.

6. iOS: Consistency

One perk to not having an open-sourced system is consistency across devices. Small actions, such as turning on Wi-Fi, vary from the Nexus 4 to the Galaxy S4 to the HTC One — again, a result of different interfaces. The tradeoff, though, is that it gives you the potential to customize.

Most of Apple’s functions remain homogenous across devices — there’s really only one way to do something on the iPhone. Once you’re in the “ecosystem,” so to speak, you only need to remember one login password to sync your photos, music and other files across each device using iCloud.

Some argue the open-source method, particularly when it comes to the raw quality of its mobile devices, is Android’s double-edged sword: a stellar operating system that lacks a steady phone.Slate‘s Farhad Manjoo writes:

“These phones have the potential to be really wonderful machines, even as great as Apple’s flagship phone. But then, at the last second, the phone makers and the world’s cellular carriers snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They ruin the phones’ potential with unnecessary features and apps that lower the devices’ battery life, uglify their home screens, and make everything you want to do extra annoying.”

If you’re someone who lives and dies by your Gmail account or Google+, however, Android’s strong ties with its properties might make for a better (and smoother) fit.

It’s a tough conclusion to draw. What made you choose your phone, and are you happy with that decision? What would it take for you to make the switch?


iPhone 5 hands-on!

September 14, 2012 Leave a comment

At long last, the iPhone 5. We just got our hands on Apple’s latest smartphone following its unveiling in San Francisco, and suffice it to say, it’s a beautiful thing. Some might say we’ve been waiting for this moment since October 4th of last year, but another crowd may say that the real next-gen iPhone has been on the burner for much longer. Indeed, this is the first iPhone since June of 2010 to showcase an entirely new design, but it’s obvious that Apple’s not going to deviate far when it comes to aesthetics.

Apple followers will aptly recall Steve Jobs’ quote in July of 2010 — you know, that one about “no one” wanting a big phone, with current CEO Tim Cook seated just feet from Steve as the phrase was uttered. Now, however, Apple’s inching ever closer to that very realm, with an elongated 4-inch display that enables new apps to take advantage of more pixels (1,136 x 640), while legacy apps can still operate within a familiar space. The phone itself doesn’t feel too much different than the iPhone 4 and 4S; yes, it’s a bit taller, but by keeping the width the same, you’ll utilize a very familiar grasp to hold it.

In typical Apple fashion, even the finest details have been worked over tirelessly. The metal feels downright elegant to the touch, and the same line we’ve said time and time again applies here: there’s no doubting the premium fit and finish when you clutch one of these things. Yeah, the headphone port’s now on the bottom, but avid Galaxy Nexus iPod touch users shouldn’t have too much trouble adjusting.

The rest of the leaks, by and large, were proven correct. High-speed LTE is being included in an iPhone for the first time, and the new Dock Connector is indeed smaller. Arguably, that’s the change that’ll cause the most headaches for longtime iDevice users — if you’ve purchased an automobile, a speaker dock, or any of the other zillion iReady products in the past half-decade, you’ll need to pony up for an adapter to make things work properly.

Apple’s made this one lighter than before, and while the outgoing flagship never really felt heavy, this one feels impressively light. After all, it’s both taller and lighter. The display — which meets sRGB color specification — now has an integrated touch layer, and Apple’s not holding back when it calls it the “world’s most advanced display.” Sure enough, it looks beautiful. Of course, displays across the industry have been becoming increasingly sexy to look at, and Apple’s newest most certainly pops when you ogle it. Is it better than the 4S? For sure, but it doesn’t make the 4S’ panel look dated by any means. The anti-glare measures implemented are highly appreciated, too.

The new A6 chip, in typical Apple style, hasn’t revealed itself in terms of raw tech specs. But at a glance, it’s definitely quicker than the chip in the 4S. Much like the speed increases between the iPhone 4 and 4S (and before that, the iPhone 3G vs. iPhone 3GS), they won’t take you by storm right away. But, use it for half an hour and you’ll have a hard time going back to a slower chip. The transitions are smoother, switching between apps is a bit quicker and everything just generally feels incrementally faster.


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Autodesk Buys Socialcam for $60 Million

Autodesk has bought video sharing service Socialcam for $60 million.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter, according to a statement from Autodesk.

Formed 18 months ago as a spinoff from, Socialcam has 54.7 million monthly active users, according to AppData. Meanwhile, competitor Viddy was reported to have 26 million users in early May and carry a valuation of $200 million. Both figures are long way from the $1 billion that Facebook paid for Instagram, the photo-sharing app.

Autodesk is known for 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software. The company currently offers several mobile apps including Autodesk SketchBook Mobile, a “Professional-grade painting and drawing app with a full set of sketching tools,’ and Tinkerbox a game that lets you “create 3D contraptions and solve mechanical riddles.”

In a statement, Samir Hanna, VP, Autodesk Consumer Group, said that, “Video is an ideal medium for professionals and consumers alike to communicate and share their design ideas. We are excited to have Socialcam join our growing portfolio of applications, services and communities for digital art, personal design and fabrication, home design and entertainment.”


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Galaxy Nexus sales frozen: Google promises imminent fix

Google has pulled the Galaxy Nexus from its official Play store, no longer offering the unlocked, HSPA+ version of the Samsung smartphone after Apple convinced a judge to preserve its preliminary injunction. As of this morning, the Galaxy Nexus listing shows the handset as “coming soon” with a sign-up box for notifications; exactly when it will go on sale is unclear, though some suggestions indicate a workaround might mean that happens sooner rather than later and Google has promised it will hit shelves again sometime next week.

According to earlier reports, Samsung and Google are cooking up a temporary fix to Google Now that the two companies believe will rescue it from Apple’s injunction. That, it’s believed, will include removing some of the local results from Google Now – a new part of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean announced at Google IO last week – and it will be pushed out “imminently” according to AllThingsD.

Nonetheless, if you want to buy a Galaxy Nexus any time soon, it looks like you’ll have a struggle finding one at Google’s $349 price. Expansys USA is listing that there is “no confirmed lead time” for stock to go on sale again, and while Amazon Marketplace sellers are still offering the phone, they’re generally doing so at a $100 premium.

Meanwhile Verizon’s CDMA/LTE version of the Galaxy Nexus is still apparently for sale via the carrier’s site, though it’s uncertain if orders will actually go through or if the company is merely yet to update its product pages.

Meanwhile, Google and Samsung are readying a challenge at the US Patent and Trademark office to have Apple’s patents struck down. Google will also support Samsung in its specific attempts to have the injunction overturned.


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Report: Siri Coming To iPad With iOS 6

With its latest iPad — “the new iPad” — Apple introduced voice dictation capability (via Nuance) but not its virtual assistant Siri. Now comes a reportthat Siri will soon come to the iPad with the iOS 6 update, which is also supposed to mark the debut of Apple Maps/iMaps.

Next week is Apple’s WWDC event, which should see the introduction of iOS 6.

The blog 9to5Mac says it’s not clear whether Siri will be available exclusively for the third-generation iPad or whether it will also come to the iPad2. If it’s baked into the OS update that would probably include iPad 2 at a minimum. However the original iPad may not make the cut because of insufficient processing power.

A March 2012 survey (n=482) survey from Parks Associates found that initiating calls and texts were the most common Siri-related activities. That survey also found the following:

  • 87 percent of iPhone 4S owners said they used Siri at least monthly
  • Over 30 percent said they used Siri “almost daily”
  • 26 used Siri to send email daily

More advanced capabilities such as calendar integration were less widely used. In the Parks survey 55 percent said they were “satisfied” with Siri and 9 percent were “unsatisfied.”

An earlier (small sample) survey from ChangeWave, shortly after the release of the iPhone 4s last Fall, found that Siri was the most popular feature of the new iPhone:

Source: ChangeWave, November 2011, n=215 Apple iPhone 4S owners

To my knowledge there’s no data about whether and how frequently people are using Siri for web search (e.g., “Search the web for XYZ”). Based on the Parks survey data it doesn’t appear this is one of the more common use cases. However Siri asks if you would like to “search the web” for your query if it can’t provide an answer.

In his recent appearance at the D10 conference Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple was “doubling down” on Siri. Cook added, “There’s more that [Siri] can do and we have a lot of people working on this.” Cook characterized Siri as the most popular feature of the most popular smartphone in the world.

With the impending introduction of Apple Maps, it will be interesting to see how Siri integrates with that capability and how it impacts local search.


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