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What Are the Benefits of Android Over iOS?

As two of the titans of mobile devices, Android and iOS seem locked in a never-ending battle for smartphone and tablet supremacy. Android 1.0 debuted in 2008, but Apple beat Google to the punch, launching iOS in 2007 with the release of the first iPhone. Since then, you can barely throw a rock without hitting somebody debating which operating system is better. Objectively, they're both well-rounded and capable operating systems and each has its own advantages. Android's may be enough to tip your opinion in Google's favor if you're on the fence.

Android 4.2 Specifications

  • Developer: Google
    Compatible Devices: Many smartphones and tablets run Android, including offerings from Google, Samsung, LG, Motorola, Asus and HTC.
    Open Source: Yes
    Available Apps: Over 800,000
    OS Code Name: Jelly Bean

IOS 6.1 Specifications

  • Developer: Apple
    Compatible Devices: IPhone 3GS, 4, 4S and 5. IPod Touch 4th and 5th generation. IPad 2, iPad Mini and iPad with Retina Display. Certain features limited or missing on older devices.
    Open Source: No
    Available Apps: Over 800,000

What They Do

  • Both Android and iOS are operating systems for smartphone and tablet devices. They provide the user interface for your device. Neither operating system is currently available on traditional laptop or desktop computers.

How They Differ

  • At first glance, both operating systems may appear similar. Both feature an app icon interface on the home screen, showing your apps in a grid of icons. IOS is restricted specifically to Apple products. Android is open source and Google encourages device manufacturers to use the platform on their devices, leading to a larger, more diverse pool of phones and tablets to choose from.

Siri and Voice Search

  • Siri is Apple's voice search assistant. Using your device's built-in microphone, you ask Siri a question and she'll either provide a pre-programmed response or search the Internet for your answer. Siri can also be used for many iPhone functions, like making a call or preparing a text message. While Android's voice search feature isn't as polished or personified, it provides similar functionality without the personality. Technology website CNET found Android's voice search faster than Siri. In a side-by-side comparison, CNET editors asked both devices "Who is Bruce Lee?" While both provided accurate results, Android provided the Google search results for the query seemingly before iOS even registered the question the editors asked.


  • Keeping with the "open" theme Google went with for Android, the operating system is much more customizable than iOS. The only way for an iOS device to compete with Android's customization options is through a process called jailbreaking, which voids the warranty and may ruin your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. Jelly Bean's customization options include app folders, widgets for added functionality, control and select apps, and the ability to customize your phone's lock screen.

Who Are They Best For?

  • Android is best for users looking for more customization options and a wider selection of devices. While it ultimately comes down to which OS feels best to you, Android may be best for PC users unfamiliar with Apple's similar computer operating system, OS X. An iOS device is ideal if you prefer Apple's products and operating systems over the competition.

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