iPhone vs Android

by PYB James | Jan 01, 2011

If you've been looking for iPhone insurance, you may also have seen a lot of press relating to the great iPhone vs Android debate. A recent report*, for example, highlights how in the US, Google's Android operating system beat Apple's iOS in U.S. smartphone market share by one percentage point.

So, what is it all about?

It's all about a great commercial battle currently raging between Apple and Google in terms of which operating system is going to become the dominant force in the phone marketplace. When the iPhone arrived, it came along with what is now called iOS - Apple's mobile operating system. The iPhone is generally accepted to have made a major impact in the market and, by association, iOS became widely used.

However, Google over recent years has expanded its activities considerably in Information Technology and communications. The number of areas they now actively sell into has grown significantly and they are no longer just a browser on the internet.

Their approach to mobile phones is significantly different, in a philosophical sense, to that of Apple. Apple have always pretty much adopted the approach that they ‘do it all’.  That means that just about everything on the iPhone is designed and built by Apple or under their direct control.  By contrast, Google’s approach has always been rather more inclined towards having cooperation between both software and hardware manufacturers and the use of a set of general technical standards and aspirations that people should comply with.

This led to their development of the Android operating system (which started when they acquired Android Inc in 2005)** and associated bolt on software components.  This development was in conjunction with the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of around 80 hardware, software, and telecom companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile device). It is why today, there is a large range of devices manufactured by different companies all of which are using Android.

This has led to a great conceptual and commercial battle in terms of who is going to secure dominance in the future mobile phone marketplace. There's no real way of predicting where this will all end.

At the moment, some pundits are pointing out the rapid expansion of the Android marketplace and the improved choice this is providing to the consumer. However, some Apple devotees are pointing out that, in their opinion, the iPhone, iOS and the Apps for it, remain a better environment for delivering a cohesive and integrated ‘user experience’.

Of course, to perhaps some users, this debate will remain somewhat academic.  The major drivers behind personal device selection may continue to be price, appearance and functionality rather than the underlying operating system.

In the end, if Android is able to generate an open environment where multiple manufacturers offering multiple boxes are able to use it easily, then by definition that may increase consumer choice and encourage yet more manufacturers to adopt Android. Once those manufacturers begin to catch up with the chic style and brand presence that the iPhone has achieved, Apple may have to work hard to retain their market share by keeping at the front-end of radical innovation (as per the iPad etc).

So, if you didn't know any of the above, you may now be able to put some of those passing comments in context as you search for your iPhone insurance.



** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_%28operating_system%29


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