I know I am going to get my fair share of hate emails and comments from this post, but I beg you try to keep an open mind when reading through this article. I understand that the whole Apple iOS versus Google Android debate is a heated topic for many, and expect comments on both sides of the fence. Let’s try to keep the comments civil.
I am going to do my best to explain why Android is a great alternative to iOS and try to avoid the whole Android is better than iOS debate as best as I can. I think both platforms are successful and by no means are Google or Apple struggling for cash. Monetarily you can say both are pretty darn successful. Apple is worth more money based on market value, but Google has more market share. I know that I will have a decent amount of bias towards Android, since I do use Android as my primary platform, and I also write for a website called AndroidGuys.
But it is in my nature to look at all things with an open mind: I am a scientist at a biotech in San Diego, and it is my job to investigate and offer answers with actual information to back it up. Any good scientist uses the Scientific Method to ask questions, investigate, acquire knowledge, and to use evidence to develop conclusions based on results. Once a conclusion is developed it is my job to test it and to prove it.
In my immediate family we are split 50/50 in what mobile software we use. My father uses an iPhone 6S+ and my older brother uses an iPhone 6 at my recommendation. Both of them started with the Apple iPhone, and are the type who prefer to stick with what works and to stay within one ecosystem. iPhone’s have great cameras, software, design, build, customer support and more. Just because I use Android doesn’t mean I force it on my own family.
My mother uses a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, and I use a a wide variety of Android devices like the Nexus 6P, 5X, Asus Zenfone 2 and the Doogee F5. My older sister uses an iPhone 5S, and she also uses an Android LG G2 too. So even in my own family, we are split 50/50 on what platform we use.
So let’s put the debate of what is better behind us. Let’s just take a look at Android and why it is a good alternative to iOS.
Let’s start with the most important factor: Price
iPhone 6S 4.7″ 16GB – $649
iPhone 6S+ 5.5″ 16GB – $749
Whether you buy an iPhone on a 0% financing plan, two-year contract, or in full, you’re going to pay a heck of a lot of money. Because Apple is the only company who makes the iPhone, the price stays relatively unchanged throughout the course of its one-year life cycle. Apple owns a monopoly on its products and can charge accordingly. It’s quite rare to see any technological device hold its value so well, but the iPhone does it regardless. And it even has incredible resale value. Apple controls its mobile market share by not making iOS accessible to other manufacturers.
Samsung Galaxy S6 5.1″ 32GB – $679.99
Samsung Galaxy Note 5.7″ 32GB – $699.99
Nexus 6P 5.7″ 32GB – $499.99
Nexus 5X 5.2″ 16GB – $379.99
There are dozens of Android device manufacturers. There are so many that I can’t even find an accurate count on the web. I listed the biggest Android device manufacturer in Samsung, and I also listed Google’s pure Android Nexus devices. Android phones can be expensive too. It’s difficult to do a direct comparison to iPhones, because the Samsung S6 line has been out since the Spring, while the iPhone 6S and Note 5 line have only been out since the Fall. Internal hardware varies greatly from device to device too.
The prices for the Galaxy line devices are clearly almost identical to the iPhone, with the Galaxy devices offering more base storage than the iPhone. Google’s own Nexus devices are $180-300 cheaper than the iPhone which means you can save money with pure Android devices. On top of the initial MSRP savings, Android prices drop much faster, but at the same time have terrible resale value. Overall, the upfront fees can be much cheaper when buying an Android device.
Nuu Mobile Z8 5.5″ 16GB – $249.99
Moto G 5″ 8GB – $179.99
Who? Who the heck is Letv and Nuu Mobile? I know you have heard of Motorola, but the Letv 1s and the Nuu Mobile Z8 are example devices that come unlocked with fantastic features. They also run the same Android software that the more expensive devices like the Note 5 and S line run. You haven’t heard of Letv because they are focused on the Chinese market.Nuu Mobile is a up and coming Android device manufacturer with a small budget and can’t afford to blast advertisements around the world.
And just because these devices are cheaper, doesn’t mean they lack in hardware.
Display: 5.5 inch 1920 x 1080 FHD Screen
CPU: MTK6795 64bit Octa Core 2.2GHz
System: Android 5.0
RAM + ROM: 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM
Camera: Dual Cameras, front camera 5.0MP camera, back camera 13.0MP
Nuu Mobile Z8 5.5″
Display: 5.5 inch 1920 x 1080 FHD Screen
CPU: 1.7 GHz Octa-Core Processor, MediaTek MTK6752 64-bit
System: Android 5.0
RAM + ROM: 2GB RAM + 16GB ROM
Camera: Dual Cameras, front camera 8.0MP camera, back camera 13.0MP
Android software is easy to use, is secure, can be customized, and Google apps are loaded with features
Again, I’m not here to argue that Android is better than iOS. Both email, text, make phone calls, browse the web, play videos and music, and take pictures incredibly well. There is no arguing that both platforms do the basics with ease.
The iPhone just works. I know it does. But that doesn’t mean Android devices don’t work. Many of us, me included, got started with iOS. I bought the first iPhone on the day it was released and waited in line for every subsequent release until the iPhone 5. I made the switch to Android when I took the time to evaluate the software with an open mind. Android is as safe as iOS and iOS is as safe as Android. Both Apple and Google make security the top priority for their software. Don’t buy into all of the misinformation out there about one being safer than the other.
The other sad truth is no software is bug free. Both Android and iOS have their fair share of bugs which is the reason why they release updates.
Just “Google” it. Google’s search tools are so powerful that many of us have swapped the word “search” for the company name Google. The dominance of Google search is so overwhelming that the name Google has become a verb. We don’t say just Apple it, Yahoo it, or Microsoft it. Many of us say just “Google” it because Google has become synonymous with searching and researching unknowns. It like calling tissue “Kleenex”, lip balm “Chapstick”, or cotton swap “Q-Tips”.
Google owns the market share when it comes to searching, and Google Search is native to Android devices making it a super powerful tool. Yes you can download Google Search software onto iOS devices, but there are benefits to being native. You can “Google” directly from any screen on an Android device, while it constantly keeps you up to date on weather, stock prices, news, parking location and more through Google Now.
Arguably the best feature about Google Photos is that you have unlimited storage for FREE. Once backed up, you can access your photos from anywhere you have an internet connection and a web browser. You no longer need to worry about saving your most precious memories on back-up hard drives with Google Photos.
Here are some other great features taken directly from the app landing page:
Your photos are now searchable by the places and things that appear in them. Looking for that fish taco you ate in Hawaii? Just search “food in Hawaii” to find it – no tagging required.
FREE UP SPACE ON YOUR DEVICE
Never worry about running out of space on your phone again. In Settings, just tap “Free up device storage” – photos that are safely backed up will be removed from your device’s storage, but will still be available in Google Photos.
BRING PHOTOS TO LIFE
Enjoy automatically created montage movies, interactive stories, collages, animations, panoramas, and more from your photos. Or you can easily create them yourself – just tap +.
Get everyone’s photos and videos in one place, across iOS, Android, and the web. Privately sharing all the photos you took – and getting the ones you didn’t – has never been easier.
Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive
Google has its own answer for word processing, spreadsheet editing, presentation building, file storage and collaboration all for the price of nothing. Most of us learned how to use these tools using Microsoft Office, but Google created its own powerful tools and they are native to Android as well. Just like with Google Photos, all Google Docs are accessible from tablets to smartphones to desktops. And Google Docs is also compatible with Microsoft file types, while offering almost all of the same powerful features.
An alternative to Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides offers a great and free way to make presentations.
Google Docs is an online word processor that lets you create and format text documents and collaborate with other people in real time.
Google Sheets is a web-based spreadsheet application that allows you to store and organize different types of information, much like Microsoft Excel.
Project Fi is Google’s answer to cellular service. It isn’t Google’s own network – they have partnered with providers to offer its own affordable plan. Only select Nexus devices(Nexus 6, 6P and 5X) can access Project Fi, but it is a strong reason to give consideration to Android. Project Fi is still very new so this reason is highly debatable. But here are some reasons to consider it:
Project Fi is a combination of Sprint and T-Mobile
The simple plan starts with the Fi Basics for $20/month. It includes unlimited domestic talk and text, unlimited international texts, Wi-Fi tethering to use your phone as a hotspot, and access cellular coverage in 120+ countries.
You only pay for what you use
If your data usage at the end of the month is less than your data budget, you’ll get a credit for approximately one cent per MB. For example, if your data budget is 2GB and you use 1.265GB, you’ll get a $7.35 credit.
Project Fi will first alert you if you’re getting close to your data budget. If you go over, you’ll still get full-speed data and data is charged at the same $10 per GB rate. For example, if you go over your data budget by 350MB, $3.50 will be added to your next bill.
There is no annual contract, termination fees, or commitments with Fi
Unlike traditional providers, Google’s Project Fi has no hidden fees or commitments.
Project Fi is great for travelers
You can bring your own number to Fi
Like any other provider, you can simply transfer your number when you sign up.
Wearables are taking hold in the marke,t and Android is at the forefront. Yes, Apple has its own watch too, which is great in its own right, but there is much more selection with Android. Tag Heuer, Fossil, Asus, LG, Samsung, Motorola, and Huawei are some of the major manufacturers of Android Wear devices, and the list continues to grow. With Android Wear you can monitor your activity levels, open apps, search and text using just your voice, get notifications, see the time and more.
Android Wear watches feature always-on displays, so you’ll always see important info like time, calls, and alerts. Respond to messages right from your watch, even when your phone isn’t with you.
Works with your Android phone or iPhone
Android Wear requires a phone running Android 4.3+ or iOS 8.2+. Supported features may vary between platforms. Visit g.co/wearcheck on your Android phone or iPhone to see if it’s compatible.
Android Wear is native to Android and is a great reason to consider Google’s software as an option.
You should consider Android if you don’t use it already
No I don’t work for Google, even though sometimes I wish I did. Google employees get get free food and drinks just for showing up to work! I have been to the Google campus, and they even let guests eat and drink for free. I hope Google let’s me hangout at its campus again some day in the future. It truly is an experience I will never forget.
Instead, I work for a biotech and research neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Schizophrenia, and the like. We get free coffee and tea, but I am not complaining. Nothing is more gratifying to me than working to solve unmet medical needs.
It’s my job to look at problems objectively, to ask questions, to research and to develop conclusions based on evidence.
In no way am I arguing that Android is superior to iOS, or vice versa, but I am offering reasons why you should consider Android if you are not using it now. There are fantastic devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 or the Nexus 6P that offer the latest and greatest hardware, or there are fantastic alternatives like the Letv 1s or Nuu Mobile Z8 which offer great hardware for budget conscience users.
The software is also incredible and better yet, the applications Google provides are completely free to use.
If you would like to learn more, head on over to Google.com. No you don’t have to switch to Android – there are plenty of great features on iOS too.
My favorite Android commercial.
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