Android or iOS4?

There’s a distinct choice for smart phones

Android 2.2 is on its way, with a bunch of new features. There’s Flash support, it’s up to five times quicker, can turn your phone into a wi-fi hotspot, and allows apps to push messages to your phone.

On June 21st, iOS4 is being rolled out to all compatible Apple devices, bringing with it iBooks, multitasking, folders, playlist creation and a unified email inbox, among other things.

Both look pretty cool, and while lots of people will argue one or the other is better, I think it’s a matter of personal taste and what you’re looking for in a device.

What’s right for you?

1: Appearance. The first point is certainly one of taste. If you don’t like the look of the iPhone, there’s nothing you can do! Go for Android, which has an ever-expanding range of devices, so there’s sure to be one that fits your style.

2: Ease of use. iOS4, like its predecessors, certainly has the edge when it comes to usability. Anyone can pick it up and use it pretty much without hesitation. Android feels a bit more IT-traditional, as there’s more to learn. However, it’s still an excellently designed OS, and it doesn’t take long to get the hang of.

3: Geek Friendly. If you like to be able to mess around under the hood of your smart phone, stay clear of iOS. I think it works great and does everything I want it to, but if you disagree, you’re stuck. Android is more open, and you have more freedom to use it how you want.

4: Compatibility. Android now supports Flash, so the mobile web will look pretty much identical to the desktop version. Of course, it will also eat your battery and your 3G connection. While Flash support is a hot topic, I’ve been surprised how much I don’t miss it on the iPhone. The iOS also tethers you to iTunes and the App Store, which not everyone will be happy about.

5: Updates. As I said, iOS4 is shipping to all devices on June 21st, but for Android 2.2 you may have to wait. HTC and Sony, for example, ship their Android devices with branded skins. When Google update Android you have to wait for HTC or whoever to upgrade their skin before letting you have it. And then you might still have to wait for your carrier to send it out. I have no idea who designed that system, as it sucks! With iOS, you’ll always be up to date – there are no middlemen.

Both Android and iOS offer a fantastic smart phone experience. iOS comes as a complete and extremely user-friendly package, but isn’t as flexible or customizable as Android. Which do you prefer?

(Disclosure – I prefer iOS)

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