Tablets

Which is the superior mobile OS: iOS, Android, or Windows 8?

Donovan Colbert believes that any of the three mobile OS platforms could be best for you, depending on your needs. Do you agree?

In a recent post on TechRepublic, blogger Seb Janeck admonished mobile platform pundits for their incessant rivalry over which mobile OS platform is the best. Actually, comparing Android to iOS to Windows 8 (RT or Pro) is really missing the forest for the trees.

The fact is that all three of these OS platforms have their strengths and weaknesses. Depending on what you're already using and what you want to get out of your computing experience, any one of these three choices may be the superior option. Understanding your own goals and each platform will deliver the most positive experience possible. Failing to understand this will lead to disappointment. Fortunately, I'm here to try and help you make sense of the options available.

iOS

Let's start with Apple's mobile platform. By far and away the most polished, prestigious, and arguably popular mobile OS platform, there's no doubt that Apple started the modern post-PC era. There's a lot to love about iOS -- it's reliable, the hardware is gorgeous and cutting-edge, and it has the largest library of content and applications. Honestly, it's the perfect content consumption device for end-users who simply want to absorb and aren't interested in doing a lot of creation.

I'm not sure why so many technology bloggers want to paint the iPad as a productivity platform. Of the three platforms, iOS is the weakest in content creation and productivity. iOS is aimed squarely at average consumer markets and it's hugely successful in reaching this group. The iPad is so simple that toddlers and chimps can pick it up and understand it. I like to tease about this, but that's the key to its success. It's an appliance designed to empower nearly anyone to enjoy the benefits of digital devices.

However, having an easy device comes with sacrifices, and the biggest one is that iOS is the least suited for professional use. Sure, there are exceptions. Some niche industries, most notable the medical and music industries, embrace the iPad and drive a lot of app designs. Ultimately, I think that a more powerful and flexible mobile OS platform will become equal to or exceed iOS even in those fields -- but for now, Apple enjoys a lead. Otherwise, if you're not in one of those very narrow niches, iOS is only the best choice if you want a machine primarily for consumer applications with little or no professional productivity in mind.

Android

I believe that not only is Android the most popular smartphone OS, but it's also now positioned to be the dominant tablet and hybrid OS by the middle of 2013. It's no wonder, because Android is (in many ways) the "Windows" of mobile OS platforms. With multiple device manufacturers competing on price, quality, features and other positions, Android devices offer a flexibility that iOS cannot match. There's something for every budget, goal, and desire among Android-based devices.

Android is the middle ground. With many of the features (and liabilities) of a true mobile OS, Google has tried to walk a line in offering the same kind of intuitive, light-weight mobile experience as iOS but with the power and flexibility of a traditional Windows desktop OS. They've done a pretty good job at this, which is reflected in the popularity of this platform.

However, the process has not been without compromise. In making a more flexible and powerful platform that supports more devices, Android has become less of a consumer appliance and more of a power user's playground. While that may sound good to a lot of potential users, it means that Android is not as stable, predictable, or well designed as iOS. Things are just a little less polished.

At the same time, for true power users, Android falls just short of being able to deliver a completely satisfying experience. I've been using Android daily for several years, chasing a replacement for my Windows laptop. Part of my shock that iOS users are chasing this goal is my disappointment with Android in this regard. I can leave the PC notebook at home for trips and travel, but I've had to adjust and learn "work-around" methods that include saving the heavy lifting for a real PC. For some users, this is good enough. If you want a little more power on the road but are still okay with needing a PC to finish things up when you return, Android may be a good solution for you.

Windows 8

Microsoft has positioned themselves to compete with the encroachment of mobile OS platforms on the traditional PC, but Windows 8 is a complex platform in all its myriad forms. Windows delivers much of the mobile OS platform nearly as well as the previously mentioned platforms, but it retains a distinct focus on corporate business productivity as its primary role. Even the ARM-based Windows RT is aimed at users who are strongly invested in Microsoft's business platforms. If you want the strongest integration with Windows domains, Exchange, Office, and Microsoft's cloud and intranet solutions, Windows 8 is simply worlds ahead of either iOS or Android. The business-oriented apps are also far more advanced for enterprise-oriented goals, content creation, and organization.

The sacrifice here is that Windows 8 reflects Microsoft's philosophy on enabling powerful business applications that reward a steep learning curve with tremendous competitive advantage. This is the least intuitive touch-screen platform, the social integration is the most uneven, and the apps and consumer content are the sparsest (at least on the mobile side of the OS). You've also got some platform fracturing that can be confusing.

Windows RT is aimed at people who want a very lightweight device that offers a lot of the hardware features of competitive tablets, with a somewhat crippled version of Microsoft's "Classic" Windows mode. The crippled Classic mode still offers the best corporate productivity platform of any mobile tablet device in this class for professionals in Microsoft shops.

Windows Pro devices are really just full-fledged traditional PCs with a touch-oriented GUI. They can do everything a PC can do, but they offer mobile, touch-oriented features too. These devices do not generally deliver the same true instant-on and true 8+ hour battery life as mobile OS platforms, nor the quiet fanless operation. But if you're a heavy professional content creator in a Microsoft business and you want a device that offers many benefits of touch-screen mobile devices, there may be no better choice for you.

Remember, there's no platform that's truly superior to the others in this roundup. They all have benefits and compromises, so you need to select the platform that appeals the most to you. Depending on your needs and tastes, however, you might end up picking a platform that isn't the best solution for you.

Which device platform best fits your needs? Let us hear your questions and feedback in the discussion thread below.

About

Donovan Colbert has over 16 years of experience in the IT Industry. He's worked in help-desk, enterprise software support, systems administration and engineering, IT management, and is a regular contributor for TechRepublic. Currently, his profession...

182 comments
Sergio.Kovalli
Sergio.Kovalli

I love computers, and all operating systems.

Each of them in one way or another may be more or less useful, depending on the location of various media (media) and different environment to work on different content.


You are absolutely right when they say that there is some better operating system. Thank you for an objective view. 

I think the best operating system is one that every man for himself to write individually.

MrRaven
MrRaven

what I am getting from this?? .. if your a windows PC  fan - you are more comfortable with windows mobile os, same with apple - those of us who are sick of both go with android, it is really as simple as that.

we can all argue till we are blue in the face, but the fact is that we use what we are comfortable with - and serves our particular needs. All of these products are good.. but just as in the computer market, the fight continues.

soybean765
soybean765

i am a foreigner.my friend was asking me to illustrate your article to him.But i was confused at the word "takeaway" .This word is at the begining of the article .can you illustrate it to me ?is it a name or means introduce ?Thank you !I am looking forward to your reply

eclecsis
eclecsis

Would you please help me on the above mentioned subject?

bkob024
bkob024

Ive been using all three of these OS for a long time now (windows 8 since it came out and since why in the early days of android and iOS). I totally agree with the post that none of these OS are gonna be better than the other since theyre all geared toward curtain markets. iOS does well because well, first off its apple, and we all know so many people have a huge hard on for anything for apple. They definity have their thing going for them with the nice flashy devices the constant updates, although i dont like it since i jailbreak any ipod/iphone right away since you can do so much more with it that way and the newest update usually takes a while to crack. I know the majority of iOS users dont do any of that but it feels so naked to me since i am a die hard android development fan. I dont like not being able to customize and make my device look unique. iOS is also closed sourced along with Windows and that means theres no way to have a development side of those OSs. iOS is so popular because it appeals to the majority, that being people who just want a really nice media consumption device. Its been amazing how well they do even when their devices dont have a LOT of the features out there on Android phones. I feel like Apple does that on purpose, like they totally could have made the iPhone 4S have 4G but it took them like a year to have that. But thats how phone companies get you, by releasing new features. Ive never seen anything major come from an iOS update either, just minor bugs and fixes otherwise it still looks like iOS did back at 3.0 with not a whole lot more options. Android has come from the very bottom and continually expanded and changed to better suit this technologically inclined age. Android 2.3 gingerbread is miles away from where they are now with 4.2.2, and googles suppose to announce Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie in May at Google I/O. before we know it android will pass iOS up with its updates. Notably though for android only 20% or so of all android users actually have the latest version most are stuck at 2.3.4 since those devices arent compatible with the new versions since android also has tons of low end devices as well as the higher end ones, it wasnt til lately that i noticed the phone manufacturers partnered with android are really starting to put out super high end devices that actually work well can show off what android can do, i think that a big part of that is that Google bought out android and they have the vision and resources to take it to unseen hights, i cant wait to see whats out in a year when i get my upgrade OOoooooo i get excited just thinking about how badass phones will have gotten by then. I hear from people the time that they hate android cause the phones are cheap and dont work right . you get what you pay for if you ask me, i use to have prepaid since its cheaper than contract but the trade off was that the phones that you could get ranged from barely functional to alright but super expensive. I had 5 diffrent HTC desire 4G on boost mobile within the first month i bought the first phone, on all of them the screen would go out in the middle and they would constantly hang up on people or call people on it own. I got rid of that phone real quick since it cost me 300$. I ended up with my Galaxy Nexus on verizon and im satisfied. You pay more on contract but at least my phone works, what good is a phone if it doesnt work right as a phone? I really think that the companies that make the prepaid phones make them cheaper on purpose so you have to constantly fuss with getting a phone that works and end up spending more money anyways. The only problems i have with my phone are just glitches that happen when i have a custom Rom and start changing to many things. Ok now windows is great for a mobile OS since its already been firmly established and porting it over to be portable was probably better and easier than redesigning a new windows mobile OS. I like Windows 8 on portable devices since you can have all the power of a laptop/netbook but the functionality of a tablet, Windows 8 was designed to be mobile and be on touch devices so its a bit different when using just a mouse since you cant move the mouse as fast or accurately as your finger. I also have a problem with the fact that they changed a lot of things about windows to the point where doing my development stuff is way way more difficult, thats because since its a mobile OS now they had to put in all sorts of safeguards so that less knowledgeable folks dont completely brick their device but its a huge pain in the ass to get around them since you have to do a special restart and disable those settings then wait for it to restart again to have it acknowledge the change, My computer takes forever to get off the initial screen when booting so that makes it even worse, very tedious work figuring out the intricacies of Windows 8, it definatly has a steap learning curve and there are almost no tutorials built in to teach people how things work now without the old start bar and hybrid functions. I can see why so many people are having a hard time liking it when they cant figure it out and have no help (although so many people overlook the fact that google is amazingly helpful when trying to learn something.) I always hear " oh man how did you figure that out?" and i always reply "Um, i googled it, first thing that popped up told me what to do." I learned all of the android development stuff from google and even an idiot can follow instuctions right from a website explaining all the ins and outs, the dos and do-nots. Even if you mess up you can always get back to stock and start over. WIth ALL of that being said I will just say that all three OSs have their merits and their problems. All of them appeal to their respective markets. Apple has the general user market, android appeals to the more experienced people while also having the option of exploring even more things like rooting and custom roms, windows is going to appeal to business people and mobile device users who want to maintain a user interface theyre familiar with and windows 8 is great for multitasking, besides the galaxy note line for android, windows 8 is the only other OS that can truely multitask and not just keep moving app to the backburner for easy access later, I still forget to use the recent app button on my phone instead i take that longer route, but thats usualy only a difference of one or two taps. I love a challenge though and like to expand my devices to do things that they weren't designed with like Themeing your UI, and changing fonts and icons on the status bar . Thats why i stick with android since all of that is impossible on the other two OSs, you cant even easily side load apps onto iOS or Windows, android just has a setting that you can disable to install apps from your storage, that allows for cracked apps and all sorts of other fun stuff, at least fun for me, other people just tend to look at me weird with all my smart talk and nerdyness and then ask me if i can do it to their phone, thats not a good isea to do though if you dont know how custom roms work and how to install them correctly cause you would have to bug me to fix it if anything goes wrong. Developing and Rom testing are my hobbies in my spare time, if it wasnt for what i know about development i would have had to wait for the newest update on my phone since verizon takes 4 extra months to release the new update for my phone, thanks to the Cyanogenmod Team and Google AOSP (android open source project) i had android 4.2 before most other people with my phone, i cant wait to see what 5 has for features.

jdawg011
jdawg011

These are hard to find. Although RIM (BlackBerry) certainly deserves some credit for starting the "modern post-PC era" along with Apple.

rboisjoly
rboisjoly

Thanks for the article. I cannot wonder though where some of this information comes from. You state that iOS is a less capable platform for creating content, but I'm wondering how the others are more capable, especially for students and teachers who need to create rich-media using tools like movie editing tools, podcasting tools, presentations, spreadsheets and such. The iPad has both the more traditional Office-like tools like Office HD, DocumentsToGo and such, which offer some options, but also the more focused and rich Pages, Numbers and Keynote, and not ignoring iMovie, Pinnacle Studio, GarageBand and the rest of the very capable audio, video and explanation-creating software. Tools like iStopMotion and Animation Studio and so many more which offer all sorts of creativity to create some pretty amazing documents. Sure, maybe not quite tied to the business world, but I find it very difficult to create this level of document on other platforms. It sure is not perfect, but I find it would at least require some sort of support of your claims, I'd be very happy to learn more. There are lots of unsupported claims which seem like they are obvious, but which others contradict. Is Android really taking over the tablet market in user-base or is it simply distribution before sales? Who can check this? And from what some are saying, obviously Apple themselves, but still, most of the Fortune 500 companies are using the iPhone or iOS in some sort of measure if I'm not mistaken. Thanks for supporting your claims so we can make better informed decisions and thanks for the article, it does try to paint a global fair picture.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Assuming your hardware has built in GPS, it probably won't matter that much. The quality of your GPS hardware is going to be the most important factor. But it also depends on your goal, task and budget. Android has the most robust free solutions in general for navigation and GeoTracking. But if you're willing to pay, there seems to be a lot of parity of 3rd party quality solutions for GPS equipped mobile equipment. Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 are probably the furthest behind in this regard, currently. Those are my thoughts - maybe someone else will have more to add.

Slayer_
Slayer_

That was unreadable. Please add some line spacing.

soybean765
soybean765

hi,what does "takeaway" mean in the passage?

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I realize English (American) is not your native language. I think I understand what you are trying to say. I would not recommend using an absolute statement because that absolute makes your statement un-true.

dcolbert
dcolbert

"You state that iOS is a less capable platform for creating content, but I'm wondering how the others are more capable, especially for students and teachers" article quote - Sure, there are exceptions. Some niche industries, most notable the medical and music industries, embrace the iPad and drive a lot of app designs. Ultimately, I think that a more powerful and flexible mobile OS platform will become equal to or exceed iOS even in those fields — but for now, Apple enjoys a lead. "Sure, maybe not quite tied to the business world, but I find it very difficult to create this level of document on other platforms." Article quote - With many of the features (and liabilities) of a true mobile OS, Google has tried to walk a line in offering the same kind of intuitive, light-weight mobile experience as iOS but with the power and flexibility of a traditional Windows desktop OS. They’ve done a pretty good job at this, which is reflected in the popularity of this platform. ...Android has become less of a consumer appliance and more of a power user’s playground. While that may sound good to a lot of potential users, it means that Android is not as stable, predictable, or well designed as iOS. And... Windows 8 is a complex platform in all its myriad forms. Windows delivers much of the mobile OS platform nearly as well as the previously mentioned platforms, but it retains a distinct focus on corporate business productivity as its primary role. Even the ARM-based Windows RT is aimed at users who are strongly invested in Microsoft’s business platforms. "Is Android really taking over the tablet market in user-base or is it simply distribution before sales? Who can check this? And from what some are saying, obviously Apple themselves, but still, most of the Fortune 500 companies are using the iPhone or iOS in some sort of measure if I'm not mistaken." Now come on - Maybe in early to mid 2012 the argument, "this is just distribution channel sales, but how many Android tablets are actually being *bought*," was a valid question. There is no doubt now that Android is ahead in global handset sales and catching up and on course to surpass Apple sales in tablets sometime in 2013 as well. If that doesn't happen, it will be because of Windows 8, not because iPads are going to rally. Apple is cutting demand for supplies for the iPad, iPhone and iPad mini. I'm not interested in a lot of supporting links to justify my claims that almost everyone has already read, anyhow. The fact is that with this kind of data, it is always interpreted subjectively according to individual preferences and biases, anyhow. Corporations are using Apple because they were way out ahead of the game and they were the only game in town for awhile, and they adopted early. That enterprise lock-in may be a good thing for Apple in the long run. But they face significant competition now, and long-term lock-in isn't the only criteria that keeps enterprises with one platform or another, or we would all be arguing on CP/M machines and using WordStar to type documents on Lantastic networks. iOS, as it stands today, is less well suited for content creation in the broadest range of environments. Can we cherry pick models where Apple has a superior platform? Absolutely. But for broad suitability, they're trailing in a 3 horse race.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

"I'd rather cannibalize sales from myself. If I don't do it, somebody else will." It appears his policy is still working.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

In the context of a news or review article, a Takeaway is essentially a synopsis or 'tease' to encourage the reader to read the full article. It may include a few words as summary, but is intended to make the reader want to read more.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Android is beating the snot out of iOS. That was my take-away, anyhow. :D

rboisjoly
rboisjoly

Still, I'm curious about facts, not opinions. My context is education though, not business. So things may be different there. Students of all ages have access to tools which offer more flexibility to create movies, presentations, explanations, digital stories, electronic books, animations, stop motion, combine photos and videos, music, science reports in less time, using more engaging tools. I guess you would consider education a niche. The context is quite different then. I'd say in this context, things are improving on Android and one could argue Windows 8, especially Pro, being a complete OS offers more here. For a price. And evidently more targeted at business. But simply stating that "There is no doubt now that Android is ahead in global handset sales and catching up and on course to surpass Apple sales in tablets sometime in 2013 as well." might be true, but I'd like to see the figures which support this. Right now, it just seems like opinion concerning tablets. It is obvious for phones, although there are also a whole categories of phones using Android that are barely smartphones and not "chosen" in the same sense. But your article is an opinion piece and does not claim to be anything else. The fact that the iPad is better suited or not for content creation has nothing to do with wether or not it is the #1 or #4 platform and I wouldn't care. But claiming that others are better at creating content doesn't answer the question: "How?" What kind of content are you talking about? Excel Spreadsheets or more rich-content like movies, animation or music? For education these are not Niche needs. For business, well, that's not my specialty and if all business people want to create are simple Presentations and Spreadsheets or Gantt charts. Thanks for interacting.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

"Article quote - With many of the features (and liabilities) of a true mobile OS, Google has tried to walk a line in offering the same kind of intuitive, light-weight mobile experience as iOS but with the power and flexibility of a traditional Windows desktop OS. Theyve done a pretty good job at this, which is reflected in the popularity of this platform." Your quoting this point emphasized something that was said by the CEO of KAYAK about how their web analytics show iOS hitting their site 3x as much as Android--specifically mentioning that most Android buyers honestly don't understand what they're using. Personal observation in my admittedly small region known as the Northeast Corridor has made me believe the ONLY reason Android has ever sold in large numbers is simply due to price. For almost four years now, when you saw an Android commercial on TV--no matter the network--about 75% of them were pushing some form of deep discount--usually either a TwoFer or half-price sale. Over the holiday shopping season, even Samsung's acclaimed Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note were included in those pricing schemes--whereas Apple itself didn't budge though admittedly Walmart* did offer the 8-gig model iPhone 5 for $127. Of course, $127 is still 2.5 times the $49 price tag on the Galaxy S3. But that's only one observation. Another observation shows that in some sales locations where the iPhone is sold beside Android, and honestly in contradiction to the KAYAK CEO's statement, people will go in and ask for an iPhone and get steered away to an android on the argument that, "It's just like the iPhone, only cheaper." I personally know of about seven cases locally that were given that argument while in another case a woman came home and brandished her new Motorola with the excited claim of, "Look! I got an iPhone!" Keep in mind that I'm not arguing whether Android is better or worse than iOS here, I'm only pointing out that a high proportion of Android users--perhaps as many as half of them--don't really know what they have and when it doesn't work the way they expect it to or becomes for whatever reason too difficult to use (remember, that half isn't the tech savvy half) they fall back on using it simply as a cell phone--ignoring almost all of its other capabilities. This is not really a shining position for android itself. Since 3.0 Android has been a much more stable OS. 4.0 and higher are improving it even more. But based on web usage alone, evidence demonstrates that it is not nearly as user friendly as it should be, though the Kayak CEO does mention that Android web hits are slowly increasing.

dcolbert
dcolbert

People MOSTLY use Android devices the way people MOSTLY use iOS devices, and the real truth is that for MOST people doing MOST things, either device is MOSTLY good enough to keep MOST of the people happy, either way. ;) Seriously. In my iOS or Android blog a few months back, I admitted that. It isn't about what the device can or can't do. It isn't about quality of hardware, battery life, openness of the platform... They've got a very rough parity in application. In fact, Android and iOS are far more similar in all ways than Windows and OS X... especially in that all important, "do they have the same apps" issue. For MOST buyers at this point, the question is, "are you invested in one platform or the other already" and "do you care about any intangible PRESTIGE factor"... be that nerd-credibility or Coffee House snobbery. If none of those matter to you, then it is a 6 of the 1 half a dozen of the other choice and you'll probably be just as happy either way. So, for Android app markets... first MOD related utilities. Second Games Social Media... Productivity For Apple Really the same demographic, just with #1 shaved off the list. For me personally, one reason I don't consider iOS platforms is retro emulation. That has a lot to do with the walled garden, and a lot to do with access to the file system... and it is all ubernerd geek cred, too. I can GET a narrow and limited selection of repackaged retro games that require no setup and plug into some pretty cool accessories on iOS... or I can have it ALL and work a little harder for it and have it be a little smoother, with far more control, on Android. That doesn't matter to MOST people... I get that.But these distinctions that drive people like you and I one way or the other, those don't matter for most people either - and all those prepackaged retro bundles are available for Android now, too... It is a real toss up... But I don't think ever painted it as anything but.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I won't deny that mod apps are the most likely ones installed by jailbreakers. However, what is the percentage of jailbreakers to non-jailbreakers in the iOS environment? Based on the arguments of many techie commenters on these tech blogs, it should be high--but I really don't read that many comments or articles that indicate even a significant minority of iOS devices are jailbroken, though we read about the OS getting broken within hours (or at most a couple of days) after an update. My guess is that only about 5% of Apple's iOS devices get jailbroken, which means the other 95% couldn't care less as long as it works. The iPhone also has the lowest return rate of any phone according to reports by Apple, AT&T and Verizon. (Considering AT&T and Verizon also promote and sell Android devices, I trust their figures more than Apple's in this case.) Yes, I will accept that games are the dominant apps on iOS--but after the utilities, what's the dominant genre on Android? That's right--games. (Yes, when I looked in the Android market and the iOS app store to make my references above, I did see the balance of the top 50 or so for both platforms.)

dcolbert
dcolbert

Price is one of the tough issues for Windows 8 RT and Pro to address. A $799 WiFi only 128GB iPad can't hurt on *perception*, though. There is probably room, and use justification, for all 3 platforms, to be honest.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Because Google ALLOWS system mod apps. You can't compare this fairly, because Apple makes you an enemy of the state if you try to do this. So there are no metrics in Apple with which to compare. You're comparing something that South Korea is open about to something that North Korea wants to bury as if it never existed. Many of those other "utility apps" you describe are there because you CAN do it on Android. If you look at Cydia, you'll find that those apps are far more popular among Jailbroken devices... they're the first things Jailbreakers install. So, another way of looking at it is ALL Android users and SOME iOS users prefer freedom and like utilities, but NO Android users go looking for solutions to make their devices more feature crippled like iOS. :) And I think the fact that GAMES are the top in iOS illustrates another thing... it is mostly a threat to Sony PSP and Nintendo DS platforms. It isn't really a productivity platform, except for among niches and sadomasicists.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I will acknowledge that iOS doesn't permit direct file access--but I consider that a strong point rather than a weak one. Too many times in both Windows and OS X I have tried to open a file without having the creating application on my machine and get hit with a 'choose your app or download it' dialog window. I simply don't get that through iOS because I'm not trying to use a mobile device as a 'desktop replacement' (a laptop is little more than a portable desktop after all). I won't argue that there are those who will continue to try and it is they who are essentially the sources of the type of supplemental apps you mention--but I disagree that all--or even most--of Apple's 'loyalists' demand those features. In fact, while games take six of the top 10 paid and free apps in the iOS app store, not one of those system modification apps is represented, navigation, productivity and social networking taking the remaining four spots in both categories. A quick glance at the Android Market has seven system mod apps in the top ten paid and not one (unless you count Skype) in the top free apps. Why? I acknowledge the argument about "customizability" with Android, but with seven system mod apps in the top ten, WHY do users want to change it? Is it because they feel it's not 'perfect' while iOS users are actually happy with the way their devices work? The first "utility" in the iOS Free apps was a flashlight app at #27 while the second, the Chrome browser, came in at #79. The first paid utility is AutoCare at #25 followed by My Calendar at #39. These aren't 'system mod' apps like the ones I see in the Android Market where Adobe Reader comes in at #16 on the Free chart (really, Android doesn't have a built-in PDF reader?) and Titanium Pro Backup comes in at #2 on Paid, followed by a keyboard app at #3, a file manager at #7, rom manager at #8, widgets at #10 and another rom manager at #11. Again, why? I do appreciate the desire for personal control--but really, is Android so bad that you HAVE to change it to make it work? Yes, I do admit that the things I list above makes iOS sound more 'content consumption' oriented, but productivity, not system mods, were in the top ten of both free and paid charts while productivity wasn't even in the top ten of Android's charts unless you counted Skype and Instagram. The perceived implication is more a NEED to change Android despite your discussion to the contrary. It could be read as "iOS just works; Android has to be made to work." As to "want to do content creation", I hate to say it but much of that capability is readily available and fully compatible with their OS X mates--and that's the iWorks package of Pages (word processing), Keynote (slideshow presentations) and Numbers (spread sheet.) You also have Garage Band, iPhoto and iMovie readily available which are again compatible with their desktop versions without having to manually drag files back and forth. It appears to me that it is Android that requires more effort, not iOS; though I will also acknowledge that I haven't tried using any Android app for those purposes.

radleym
radleym

..for the TF300 as far as pricing is concerned compared to a Win8 device, but that's just my (somewhat educated) impression.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I just picked up an ASUS Q200E. It is a 13" ultrabook format i3, Windows 8 notebook with 500GB mechanical drive. It sleeps in seconds, resumes nearly instantly, has great standby power. Not sure about run-time yet. Runs quiet and relatively cool, though. I don't see it as a threat to my Nexus 7 (which is really more like an iPad by intent and design in the way Google built it)... but it is a threat to my ASUS TF300. The question there is, "Can Windows be a better desktop OS with mobile-OS like features than Android can be a mobile OS with desktop like features?" Apple is just a mobile OS. The Nexus 7 is really designed to be a content consumption device. So is the Kindle Fire. I'm not saying there isn't a market for those kind of devices. There is a strong market. And I'm not saying you *can't* use them for content creation. But they're not the ideal devices for that last goal. I'm sure I'll let you know my opinions after I spend awhile trying this new rig out. So far, I really like it, and I'm feeling like the 10" Transformer tablets may have some challenges ahead of them. That should really be the take-away right now. This isn't about Android vs. iOS or Android vs. Windows 8 or whatever other direction you might want to compare. Right now there is a mobile platform all-out bar-brawl taking place. As someone mentioned above, it looks like RIM is standing on the sidelines just ready to jump in and throw some swings too. If Microsoft can produce a hybrid OS that runs on hybrid and convertible devices and deliver the best experience of both worlds on one device at a reasonable price... It might not matter if Android or iOS is "better" than the other for content creation.

dcolbert
dcolbert

As your argument keeps eroding, you keep changing the focus. That is the sign of a fighter that is up against the ropes. The reason that Android is better than iOS for productivity and content creation is in part the same reason that Linux, OS X or Windows are better than *Android* for content creation - and unhindered access to the file system is *absolutely* part of that. But so is an OS that is purpose designed to *allow* instead of to *impede* those kind of tasks. You can make excuses about this all day long - but when it comes time to really buckle down and create a complex document - I turn to a PC. I may start it on my Android, but the final version gets polish and finish on a real computer. My daughter prefers to use her Nexus 7 to using her real PC for writing stories. She is 11. By the time she is in college, I hope her content creation is a little more sophisticated. iOS is purpose built to be a content consumption device. This is why there are so many weird, kludgy solutions like "web server file transfer" apps and "wireless hard drives" for the iPad. All of the content creation was really reverse engineered into the platform *after the fact*, either by Apple or more frequently by third party solution providers trying to get around silly obstacles that Apple designed into the device. Now - if you want to spend your time buying expensive solutions that work-around built in limitations of your platform to try and be productive as a content creator, if you want to spend your time fighting with trying to bring more flexibility to a system that is designed to LIMIT those kinds of roles - then you can knock yourself out with iOS. But if you want things to work the way you expect them to without dancing through silly hoops and hassling with a manufacturer who is constantly telling you, "you can't do it that way"... then you'll want to look elsewhere. You're talking about movie editing and music editing and graphic design and lots of neat content creation niches. How many of those niches has iOS replaced Linux, OS X, Unix and Windows in among working professionals? We don't need to look this up. The answer is *none of them*. Pros still use real PCs. And Android is closer to the experience of a real PC for content creation than iOS is. But even *it* falls short, as I point out in the article. It falls short, and iOS has always been behind Android's lead, in that regard. Part of the problem, from an outside perspective, is that Apple loyalists *want* these kind of features and they go to a lot of extra effort in time, expense and just literally "jumping through hoops" to achieve somethign that "works"... and then, panting and out of breath with empty pocket-books they turn with a smile and say, "See... You can do ANYTHING on an iOS device you can on an Android..." Well... I guess so. But - there was a lot easier way to get to that point. Just buy a TF300 or TF700 and the dock and forget about all those other hassles. And... it would have been cheaper all around. Some people like to buy something that isn't designed to do something and then put a lot of aftermarket effort into making it do that. Other people just go straight for the stock option that is designed to do what the goal is. If you're buying an iOS device and you *want* to do content creation... you're going to put a lot more effort into getting there. There are stock options that are better designed to deliver that goal. An iPad modified to do content creation is the same as a Honda CRX modded to beat a BMW M3. It isn't going to be as reliable, as safe, as comfortable, as dependable or simply as nice. iPad content creators are like tablet hot-rodders or ricers. Always trying to make some grocery getter into a race car.

rboisjoly
rboisjoly

One of these contains factual data at least. Thanks for that. I'm wondering about content creation though. We've found many more tools which allow richer content to be created, wether it is for consumers, educators, students or professionnals. What makes Android better suited for content creation? Where are the good tools to do this? The tools which support creation of productivity documents, like Office HD and such on Android, are also available on iOS, and then, there is more variety of such creation tools on iOS from what we can see. Has anyone actually done a comparison of content-creation that is not just a statement that one is better than the other? Lists of document types or even workflow advantages? Having access to a file system in itself doesn't make it better, it makes it harder for some even if it is desired by the more technically-savvy. Sure, sending data from one app to another in iOS is either more complicated or limited in some situations, but not always and who has done a comparison of how this happens on both platforms? Surely, since you claim that Android is better at content creation as well as indicate you do not understand why other bloggers claim iOS is a content-creation tool, you must have something to support this? It would certainly be useful. I was able to find this article, but it only discussions the iOS is better for content creation viewpoint (on an Android-based site too), and then, it focuses on video mostly: http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/08/08/editorial-hey-google-whatever-happened-to-movie-studio-or-its-time-to-start-caring-about-content-creation-again/

dcolbert
dcolbert

Ok. Thanks for clarifying what you were after. I can provide that. Yes - I would consider the sort of use models you're talking about as niche oriented segments and that was why I quoted the disclaimers where I gave iOS credit for those niches in the piece. I felt like you were claiming I was saying something when I had really already said in the original article exactly the points you were trying to make. For what you ARE after - those are based on facts: http://www.technologytell.com/gadgets/105973/android-tablet-sales/ http://www.webpronews.com/android-tablet-beats-ipad-sales-in-japan-2013-01 I just googled because I knew these stories were out there, and linked to the first examples I found - so please don't respond about the credibility of the sites - these are widely distributed stories that were picked up by ZDNet, Gizmodo, Engadget, PC Magazine, Andriod Authority, The Verge, and countless other credible outlets. It isn't opinion. In April 2012 When I wrote: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/tablets/apple-will-eventually-lose-tablet-dominance/1110?tag=content;siu-container It wasn't really opinion. It was *inevitable*. I didn't ever consider it a bet, I considered it a sure thing. Lots of people thought I was risking my credibility when I wrote that. I never had any doubt that this would come to pass (barring some sort of complete catastrophic event against Android or for Apple). I mean, in as much as the data I link to is an analyst opinion - sure , it is opinion based. But the analyst opinion is based on expertise and research of numbers, trends, growth, and historical activity, which is really what I am doing here. It is informed, educated opinion supported by data. It happened with handsets, we know it. When people predicted it with handsets, Apple pundits dismissed it as unlikely. We know that. It is happening now with tablets, and Apple pundits are dismissing it as unlikely. I mean, we'll know by the middle of 2013 if this is going to be the year - but I think if we were making odds on this, you're getting the long odds on this track. :) To me, this isn't a "Will this be the year of Linux on the desktop" argument. This is a "2011 was the year of Android for Smartphones, will 2013 be the year of Android Tablets?" discussion. There is a precedent, and all the factors that applied in the first case apply in the second case and the numbers show it is on track to happen *again*.

dcolbert
dcolbert

or any other guidance system is any inherently better than GPS for preventing a dumb user from making a mistake. Driving into a lake, down a one way street, onto terrain that your vehicle can't handle, or any other mistake... That isn't the fault of GPS. That is the fault of the moron behind the wheel.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

It is about personal awareness. I blame the GPS devices not because of what they are, but because they have made their users too dependent on its accuracy--or lack thereof. A GPS can take you anywhere you want to go--as long as the user remembers common sense and doesn't expect the GPS to know every one-way road or dirt track that may or may not be suitable for the vehicle they're driving. In many ways, I think the On-Star and similar two-way radio systems (Jeremy Clarkson showed an excellent demo of the Lexus system in a recent Top Gear episode on BBC America) where the live person on the other end of the link is aware of the vehicle's type and capabilities. Still, even there the operator could miscue--leaving the driver stranded unless that driver remains aware of the environment around the car. With a Jeep Wrangler, I may be able to handle such a miscue but my older pickup truck might not. As long as users forget that a GPS is NOT all-knowing, we will continue to see catastrophic mistakes until the vehicle itself takes driving out of their hands.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Having moved from the West to the East, I think this is less a problem with GPS than a problem with people who don't realize that there are very dangerous parts of the world, even right within the borders of the United States. This is no different than the family that gets off I-5 in Compton or Crenshaw to go to the bathroom and finds themselves turning their mini-van down a road full of chain-link fences and pit-bulls wandering free in the streets. Almost always these families are tourists vacationing from the Mid-West or East Coast. They're not locals or natives. Locals know not to drive down an un-plowed logging road during a blizzard in the Rockies or Sierras. They know what a logging road looks like. I got off of the highway in North Jacksonville Florida on a trip down to Orlando a couple of years back. As I was filling up, I became aware of my surroundings, and hurried everyone back into the car and took off with less than a half of a tank to drive several more stops south to a safer gas station. This is about personal awareness. GPS can't help you with that, and neither can a paper map. Blaming these issues on GPS is silly. People are the problem, not the technology they're using to get from point A to point B.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I grew up using maps--the paper kind. Things like GPS didn't exist and I was around for the introduction of GPS into the military. I do understand its advantages. My point has always been that people have become too dependent on GPS and have forgotten how to think for themselves. This is proven almost daily by people getting lost despite having a GPS in their car. Maybe you'll remember the family that was guided by a GPS onto a road in Colorado a few years back during a blizzard. Not all of them made it back out. GPS is a tool, as is Google's Earth and Map apps and Apple's Maps app. A tool is only as good as its user and a good user understands the limitations of the tool. I would much rather use a paper map to plan my route myself and use a GPS to ensure I follow that route than to rely on the device to do it all. Unfortunately, not all mapping apps give you that ability and those that do make it much more complicated than it should be.

dcolbert
dcolbert

People who can only handle iOS devices shouldn't be trusted with GPS systems to navigate from point A to point B. There is far too much personal responsibility involved for the typical iOS user. You got me. ;)

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

But even in those 'hills', when you drop into one of those valleys--especially when you're riding the side of one of those 'hills', you still lose enough satellite signals to make the navigator's accuracy fall dramatically. Out in the Rockies the problem is much more noticeable unless you stay on the freeway. As such, you've verified my point that if you're not aware of your surroundings yourself, that GPS or the phone will get you into trouble and has been doing so for almost 10 years now. I also pointed out that the iPhone, even before the so-called Maps debacle (to get back to the initial point) is no worse than a standalone GPS and to a great extent notably better because it does have the ability to use cell towers as well as GPS for faster and even more accurate positioning. GPS' greatest advantage is in marking a location regardless of terrain features--it was designed for "eagles"--line-of-sight navigating for aircraft, ships and ordinance (missiles, bombs and gunnery) more than ground vehicles constrained to travel on roads and trails that may or may not be marked on maps.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I've driven between New York/New Jersey through Pennsylvania multiple occasions, as well as down to Hershey and through Harrisburg on my way to Baltimore and D.C. GPS has gotten me there with no problem. I've also driven through Western Virginia down I-77 on my way to Florida, GPS assisted the entire way. You understand that the things you guys out here think of "mountain ranges" aren't much more than foothills, right? Honestly, I *do* have more trouble in big cities with large skyscrapers, and with standalone GPS units (I always carry one on long trips as a backup to the phone) more frequently than with Cell Phone models. Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Chicago all are problematic. Generally that amounts to trying to have me take a turn the wrong way down a one way street, not updating until I'm past my turn, or thinking I'm a street over from where I am. That is where being a good driver used to making quick decisions in large-city traffic is indispensable. Neither GPS nor a paper map can fix that problem, if you suffer from it.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

There are locales in mountainous country where even straight GPS is inaccessible at times. Big cities also are culprits--especially in the skyscraper-laden 'downtown' areas. Interestingly, even cell has difficulties in those city areas, though it has improved enormously. All those 'dropped call' arguments against Apple so many years ago? Well, if you really paid attention, even the older flip-phones had problems there. The point is that we as a society are becoming far too dependent on our technology--to the point that some simply take what their device tells them as gospel. It is not poppycock when people are killed because they followed the directions of their devices too closely. This has been happening for years and will continue to happen until we either lose all technology entirely or it becomes much more aware of the situation around itself. Google's self-driven cars themselves do not rely solely on GPS, but use cameras and massive computers (compared to our typical home computer) to analyze and guide themselves. What few collisions they have been involved in have been the fault--in every case--of the other driver either not paying attention to their driving or doing something stupid. While I am not a fan of completely autonomous cars, I do believe they could--when properly networked--eliminate a lot of traffic problems.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I really just wanted to say that. I moved from Sacramento to the suburbs of North East Ohio over 5 years ago. There are lots of rellocated people where I live now - and car-mounted and dealer installed GPS units are very common to see here. GPS very rarely takes the same route I would have taken now that I know the roads - but it *gets* me there, and that is good enough when I am in strange area that I do not know. It isn't perfect, I've had an occasional hassle, but the point remains that most people use GPS units, their popularity is only growing, and its inclusion is an important aspect of a modern smart phone. That is why Apple finally included it. As for the "out of cell" issue - that is fairly uncommon to encounter. As I said, I drove from California all the way to Ohio navigating solely by GPS (of course, that is pretty much a straight shot on I-80 across the entire country). I've also driven back to Montana from Ohio, driving through the Rockies, Yellowstone, Wyoming, Utah, South Dakoda, and Idaho. On the Verizon network, which is very sparse in that part of the country. The only time I had any problems with signal was in Wise River off Interstate 15. Look it up on a map. A remote area, for sure. On the East Coast, I've never encountered an out-of-signal area long enough to really cause a problem. There isn't enough wilderness out here to make it a real issue.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

The problem is, the vast majority of users don't read the disclaimer and take its instructions literally. BTW, even without a cell signal, the directions should have still been available so they could have just used it as a paper map. Sounds to me like they don't know how to use one of those, either. Maps (and I don't mean the app) used to be a hobby of mine. I loved to get topographical maps and use them to visualize the scenery around a location. In fact, before Google Earth, I used those same maps to help me create gaming scenarios and later locations in my stories. As a result, I probably know more about maps than about 70%-80% of those who now use GPS. Don C.: If I might suggest, try using that same GPS to navigate to some of your local addresses, anywhere between 0 to 25 miles away and compare those routes to those you typically use. Are they the same? Are they more or less efficient? Would they get you to the correct door if you didn't know where you were going? I've used Magellan and Garmin and while they were both great for guiding you long distances over decent highways, they were less than ideal for almost every other use--I still had to search within the radius of about 2 blocks when the device told me I was at the door; especially if the place I was looking for was in one of two shopping centers across the street from each other. Apple's current Maps is significantly more accurate even than Google Earth for putting the pin on the 'house' and not just in the middle of the road.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

When you don't have a cell signal your Map Viewer doesn't work. I saw this early December when the wifes daughter was getting married. I offered to set the GPS in the car to the destination but I was overruled because one of the passengers had their Apple Phone and had the destination programed into it. They took off and promptly drove into a Cell Phone Black Spot and with no signal no directions or any idea of where it was that they where. As the driver didn't know where it was that they where going other than it was the Historical Village and no one in the car knew exactly where it was that they where going things got more than a little stressed. The In car GPS worked though no one in it knew how to set it to get them where they wanted to go. I should also point out that all GPS units specifically tell the people who bother to read the Destruction Books that they are a [b]Guide Only[/b] and you should look at the roads before following the given directions. If you blindly follow the directions you are likely to end up being charged with Neglect Driving and I should say Quite Rightly as the Car GPS's are not Military Spec Devices and are only accurate to a couple of hundred meters not millimeters. ;) Col

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Android is the new Windows--with all that implies. Apple I'm sure was perfectly aware that Android would eventually surpass them in numbers of units sold. I'm also sure that doesn't really bother them unless sales fall to the point that they start losing profits. As yet, we haven't seen any significant reduction in iOS device sales except for the traditional backing down in anticipation of the next newer model. Interestingly, we didn't see that backing down for the iPad when the mini/gen 4 models came out because the gen-4 was simply not anticipated. As a result, we might--only might--see out-of-cycle upgrades that don't stick to any kind of schedule. On the other hand, I also don't expect to see them reverting to the 'new model every quarter' schedule they had before Jobs' return because that didn't give buyers any confidence that they'd be getting the best available since the next newer model was just three months down the road. Apple's scheduled upgrades let you know it wouldn't be replaced as soon as you bought it. Apple isn't trying to be a commodity manufacturer. Sure, they took advantage of being the first to commoditize the smart phone and took the advantage of being the first to commoditize the slate-type tablet, but where the other companies profit on huge sales numbers at low margins, Apple focuses on a more balanced margin over market that still has them making more profit than all the Android OEMs combined. As such, Apple is more the Mercedes to Android's Toyota; they don't sell as many but make more money. They're different, and each may be innovative in their own way, but some will choose to buy the Mercedes over the Toyota because of that difference.

dcolbert
dcolbert

The problem is, your anecdotal evidence and personal preference isn't in step with the rest of society. Turn-By-Turn GPS is what society wildly prefers. I've used it to get me safely all the way from North East Ohio to... New Jersey, Canada, Florida and Montana. (And lots of destinations inbetween. Maryland, DC, points all over Pennsylvania and New York, and others). Pretty much to all the furthest corners of America. Plot that out on a map. And I'm not exaggerating. I've driven all of those miles in the last 5 years, frequently with a 30 foot travel trailer dragging behind my vehicle. Coast to Coast and top to bottom, using only GPS units. I've never even ended up on a roadway that I had to back up on because of a low overpass or weak bridge. I've never ended up on a snowed in logging road as a blizzard snowed me in. Your argument is invalid. ;) I'd argue that your sample is not large enough to draw a conclusion, on the last paragraph - and that numbers indicate that this is not typical.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I far prefer 'Directions' that tell me what to look for and shows me where I am than 'Navigation' that can have me turning onto railroad tracks where there isn't a road. I'm sure you've read at least as many reports about too trusting drivers getting killed because they turned when the navigator told them to instead of using common sense. Also, as I pointed out above, their routing algorithms are questionable at best--and honestly I don't care which brand you name--even Apple's. A driver who pre-plans their route is more likely to have fewer problems, though admittedly the navigator can help you find a place you've never visited before--as long as you don't trust it too implicitly. Again, even my own GPS experiences have shown them more as a driver's aid, not something to bet your life on. You might remember reading about the lady in Europe whose GPS was set to guide her to the 'local' airport sent her 900 kilometers out of her way--through four different countries. Worse, she didn't even realize that what should have been a one-hour drive forced her to stop to refill her tank. People are getting too lazy and too trusting of their gadgets to know when it sends them in the wrong direction. So really, is my argument invalid? Are you so willing to trust a device to take you where you want to go by the most efficient route? If you ask me, road navigators still have a long way to go before they're that trustworthy. As for Android, why can't it be both? I don't argue that tech-focused users like it, but I also know that several corporate IT people I'm personally familiar with switched from Android to iPhone due to its reliability and ease of use. I also know that other people who were once Blackberry owners and chose Android because it was less expensive than Apple switched to iPhone once their contract expired. One--only one--IT person I know switched from the iPhone to Android.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I think the problem with statistics, and I've proven this before with Linux, OS X and Windows, is that there is no consistent, reliable and easy to check way to confirm all the numbers. It is very difficult to get the numbers on a level playing field, and so you're left making some qualified guesses on either side. Here is what I think is readily apparent. Android is growing. Android has a lot of good will. Android has lots of forward momentum, Android has lots of flexibility. This kind of model in technology has always traditionally been a key component to success in the long haul as devices change from luxuries to commodities. Apple has never sold as commodity products - and this hurts them when their industries change from luxury items to commodity items. It happened with 8 bit, it happened with 16/32 bit, and it'll probably eventually happen with mobile computing. Really, it already is, and I think almost everyone knows that. The company is large, stale, not as innovative, making mistakes, slower to react, and losing consumer good will at an alarming rate. At one point Windows Mobile dominated the mobile device OS market. Even Palm was putting Windows Mobile on the Treo as opposed to PalmOS. Within a matter of months, Apple destroyed their market viability in mobile, and caused a significant cooling in their entire core business. Things can change rapidly in these industries. Samsung is supposed to be the most dominant smartphone builder globally at the moment. I believe that. They've replaced Apple as #1. Android handsets outnumber Apple handsets. That has been the case for awhile. Android tablets inevitably are gaining and are almost certain to exceed iPad tablet numbers next year, as I predicted months ago. The trend in that regard is clear. That doesn't mean all of your points are wrong. Sure, there are a lot of cheap and off brand Android devices in those numbers. Sure, customer satisfaction isn't as great (it has never been as great for Windows PCs as for OS X machines, either, but OS X has less than 20% of the market and Microsoft has just under 80% and that is a OS X HIGH and a Windows LOW), but that doesn't really matter with the numbers we're talking about. Android is on track to be the "Windows" of mobile platforms, in multiple senses of that thought. iOS looks to be declining into the role of the Macintosh of the mobile platforms. What you've got to wonder is where Microsoft fits in there. Sony once felt very secure as the king of console gaming. Microsoft is a determined competitor.

dcolbert
dcolbert

"While I will admit I have not used "Google Navigation" I have used Maps--both the old and the new..." We can stop right there. I've used both. Maps could not compare to an actual turn-by-turn GPS navigation solution until the latest revision. Google Navigation makes your device operate just like a stand-alone, purpose dedicated navigation device. A TomTom or a Garmin or any of those solutions that cost from $75-$500. The Maps navigation was not a competitive solution to actual turn-by-turn vehicle navigation for the first *five* generations of iOS. Listen, these apps were available on the Apple Market for around $75 and people actually paid that, because they're that much better. I can't believe there are iOS users out there who still don't actually GET this. You buy an Android, you've always gotten a free turn-by-turn genuine GPS device in the bargain. You buy an iPhone, you settled for Maps (which gives you DIRECTIONS, not *navigation*) or you paid another $75+ for genuine navigation. Android has always had Google MAPS, too. We very rarely used that, because we had a real turn by turn nav GPS solution built in. Maps are lame for most purposes. Nav is awesome. Like cut and paste, it is about TIME... and the things you had to go through to get there and how long you had to wait. I'd agree with you, my viewers are probably more technical. But metrics don't lie. When the industry was saying that Android wasn't surfing, my metrics supported that. When they said that Android WAS hitting, my metrics changed to reflect the same kind of growth everyone ELSE was seeing. My blog attracts as many if not more readers interested in metaphysics, fringe science and politics as it does technical readers. There is no reason to think they're likely to disproportionately be Android readers. But once again, you can't decide on your argument against Android. Is it successful because it is CHEAP, or is it successful because it attracts more technically savvy users? The truth is, (and you know this), both of those are part of the reason for Android's popularity, but they are not the only reasons. My metrics, like everyone else's, suggest that Android users are now using browsers to surf more frequently. With the number of powerful Android devices out there, this only makes sense. Android has, and will continue to increase their market share, in all likelihood, and Apple will continue to either maintain or see theirs shrink. Windows 8 is the biggest threat to that at the moment... but I don't think we'll see any effect from that for a while, at least.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I'm not going to deny more people buy Android phones than iOS; that's not yet true of tablets--which still comes into play with the overall article discussion. Price still plays a major role in that argument though, as the average price of Android phones is half that of the iPhone with the exception--for a while--of the Galaxy S3 which used to sell for the same price but dropped to only $49 each over the holiday quarter. As far as the third quarter was concerned, even the article you linked pointed out that the iPhone 5 was released during that quarter (only barely--on the last week of the quarter) which means the iPhone's sales were traditionally down in anticipation of the new model's release. At nearly 48 million iPhones sold over the holiday (4th) quarter vs only 14.5 sold the previous quarter, it's easy to see how the Galaxy sold more than the iPhone for that one quarter. Do you know what the Galaxy S3's numbers were over the holiday quarter? I admit I don't, but I find it likely their numbers were roughly equal or the iPhone somewhat higher despite the Galaxy's much lower price. AT&T and Verizon both separate iPhone numbers from Android (though not by brand for the Android's that I've noticed) and on average between those two carriers the iPhone tends to run at about half of all smartphones sold--plus or minus only a couple million each during an active quarter like the holidays. Of course, that is only the US market for those numbers. I can't speak for overseas and I know quite well there is prejudice against Apple's sales practices in the European Union which has slowed but definitely not stopped Apple's sales. On Windows 8, I don't believe we're in total disagreement; as you say, we need to see how it plays out. I personally believe that the desktop--or Pro version of Windows will fail on tablets as it has this entire past decade. On the other hand, by allowing the optional stylus the mouse is effectively eliminated as almost all mouse functions can be performed on screen with reasonable accuracy, especially if you're using a 15" or larger screen on a laptop/desktop machine. RT is great for mobility and still offers superior integration with the desktop as compared to any current Android iteration in my opinion.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Android continues to grow, though. If 3 out of 4 Android users were going to Apple when they were up to renew and 1 out of 8 Apple users was going to Android - that would reflect in the numbers, and it just isn't there. I see more and more Apple users breaking ranks and defecting to Android, and far fewer jumping to iOS. The initial, "we're not locked into AT&T" bandwagon has settled. Now granted, I see numbers that indicate that in polls, Apple users are more loyal and people considering their first smart-phone indicate a strong preference for Apple. I've seen those numbers too. I always wonder why that is never reflected in the actual numbers. Didn't the Galaxy SIII recently become... hold on... http://www.techradar.com/us/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/samsung-galaxy-s3-is-worlds-best-selling-smartphone-1111067 There we go. Point is, that argues AGAINST your theory that Android numbers are inflated *solely* by low-end disposable Android sales. As for Microsoft's approach - having a mobile with a point-and-click desktop that is not touch-centric seemed a strange choice to me, too. But the truth is, it is a BETTER approach for a certain kind of computing task than touch... or for certain ASPECTS of computing tasks. Scrolling a document quickly up and down? Touch is better. Highlighting text and cutting and pasting to insert in another document? Mouse and pointer. Solely having a desktop interface prevents you from having access to mobile, touch-centric features. Solely having a mobile touch-centric interface limits your productivity. Why *not* have both? Right now, in Windows 8... I tend to spend most of my time on the desktop. But it is quite possible that as the Windows 8 modern-UI market evolves, I'll find myself spending more time in Modern apps. I think it is too early to know for sure how that plays out. I don't disagree with your observation, I just see alternative scenarios that are just as likely.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

The vast majority of my arguments against Android are through direct observation of Android users. Too many of those Android users where I live loved it when they first purchased it--citing most of all it's significantly lower price for all that it gave them the same perceived capabilities of iOS. However, in more than three years of watching these people I have only seen one iPhone user switch to Android while more than 70% of the Android users switched to iOS. Admittedly I'm working with a relatively small grouping as compared to regional or national numbers, but if it's happening here, I find it likely it's happening elsewhere. To be blunt, Samsung's Galaxy S3 is the first Android phone to really offer the quality hardware Android needed. No, that doesn't mean I'll switch but it's more because I don't see the Galaxy and Android offering enough difference to encourage a switch; Let's just say it's not superior enough. I do have arguments against Windows 8, too; the same arguments I made against putting a full version of Windows on tablets 4 years ago when so many zealots claimed the iPad would fail and insisted they needed a full desktop environment. In short, once you get past that 'Modern' UI, the OS is still not touch-centric. While I acknowledge that a stylus does offer a more accurate 'mark' on a tablet screen, I agree with Steve Jobs that a stylus shouldn't be necessary simply to make the OS work. I also disagree that a mouse should even be necessary any more as pointing with your finger is far more intuitive and efficient than squiggling the mouse to find the pointer before dragging it to the place you want to click. I've seen how at least one of my clients has taken to touching the screen of her all-in-one Toshiba desktop to launch applications and files rather than hunting for the pointer in Windows 7. That said, WP8/RT offer the same advantages to the Windows user that iOS offers to the OS X user--much more ready integration and synchronization; automatic rather than triggered. This isn't to say Android *can't* do these things, but the user has to configure them in Android. Consumers want the functionality to be automatic--they don't have time to waste trying to make things work the way they feel it should. I won't deny some of my opinions are affected by postings on other tech blogs--but the ones I pay attention to are the reviews of hardware and software that don't show an obvious bias toward any given platform; I've seen strongly conflicting reviews even from the same publishers' bloggers whose prejudices are well known. Rose colored glasses? No. Realistic viewpoint based on a non-technical users' needs? Yes. My clients are not technical and I have to base my service and recommendations on what best meets their needs. I have already recommended Windows 8 to the client I mentioned above and will shortly recommend a new PC with Windows 8 to her husband, to whom I had previously recommended an iMac as he had an existing need for both Windows and OS X several years ago. The iMac's biggest advantage to him now is the huge screen at 24" as his eyesight is failing. If I could find a reasonably-priced large-screen Windows all-in-one for him and convince him he no longer needs OS X (the latter shouldn't be too difficult) she would more readily accept the upgrade to Windows 8 herself. Apple's "walled garden"? To tell you the truth, I appreciate it. While I acknowledge that Android has significantly improved, iOS is still more secure. No malware attack has worked against non-jailbroken iOS devices yet where Android even now falls short of enterprise security needs. I think Google took too long to fix the problem as I am already reading reports of Windows 8 devices at work in boardrooms that Android has failed to penetrate. As I've said before, Android--more than iOS--needs to fear WP8/RT. Microsoft has seen that the walled garden works and I believe WP8/RT will grow in the same way Android grew--from a tiny seed to mighty tree in about 2-3 years. Android, unfortunately, is a pine tree--fast growing but easily cut down. I think Win8/RT will be more like an oak--growing more slowly but living longer.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

While I will admit I have not used "Google Navigation" I have used Maps--both the old and the new--as a direct replacement for a standalone GPS. To be bluntly honest, unless you're a pilot or a boater where you don't have to follow specific roads, GPS is essentially useless for anything but mapping your current location as you drive; something that Maps does very well. What I have discovered is that GPS routing directions don't necessarily follow the best or even the most logical driving directions. Not even Google Earth, from which Google Navigation is derived, is all that good at plotting the best route even for short runs, much less for trips measuring hundreds of miles. How do I know? Experience. I might also note that at least some of those 'errors' are intentional--just as errors in different publishers' paper road maps are intentional--to avoid copyright infringement. I might suggest the same thing about the web metrics to your own personal blog; honestly, I didn't know you had one but even if I did, I'd be hitting it from my iMac unless I'm traveling--at which point I'd be visiting with my iPad. I am quite certain that most of your personal web hits are more due to having a techie-based following, not a consumer-based one. You will note that I have acknowledged that even the KAYAK article did report growing Android hits, which personally I will attribute to the marked improvements in both Android itself with versions 4.x as well as the more superior Galaxy series from Samsung finally giving the OS the quality hardware it needs to perform properly. The problem is that the Galaxy series is still less than half of Samsung's overall smartphone production as they try to cater to all consumer levels.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Seems to have a particular axe to grind with Android. I originally thought he had just drunk to deeply at the Fountain at the Temple of Steve Jobs - but his open mind toward Windows 8 speaks against that. In fact, his arguments against Anrdroid and in support of Windows 8 makes his view on Android make a little more sense. Many of the liabilities he points out for Android do actually exist. The question is how much of a problem those issues are. He seems to see them as significant. I think a summary of his opinion would be that iOS is the perfect mobile OS, Windows is a great touch-screen traditional OS, and Android is a compromise in the middle that suffers the worst aspects of both. That seems to be a "glass half full/empty" judgment call. I think in some cases he repeats what he has heard about Android without first hand knowledge - but there is a lot of FUD out there and I blame technology bloggers for a lot of that. Android malware has gotten a ton of attention and in my experience seems rare and easy to avoid. Don't install fart-apps from unknown developers. Stability and battery time have improved tremendously. Web traffic from Android clients is increasing, more devices are moving to ICS and JB. On the flip side, I think he sees iOS through rose colored glasses. I think unless you stay well within Apple's walled garden things begin to go badly with iOS quickly. Don't install aftermarket iTunes library managers/organizers - they can trigger failed iOS updates. Many iOS users don't even bother with iOS updates anyhow - so that kind of undermines the argument that platform fracturing is that big of an issue to users. If their apps work and they're not going to get some significant new feature in the OS itself, users don't like to upgrade their OS.

radleym
radleym

...since my observations contradict yours completely, including those about Android quality since I don't know anyone who has had the issues of which you speak. we'll just have to see - although I can't claim any bloggers as prognostication fans. You certainly can claim the highest volume output of any responder, though!

dcolbert
dcolbert

Is that isn't metrics for a photo-site. It is metrics for a technology blog. And I've seen the trends. If I go back far enough, iOS is more prevelant, Android hardly registers. That has switched. And I've seen it on a number of other sites where I review metrics... healthcare sites that I can't share here. Unique hits by Android devices are increasing. Unique hits by iOS devices are decreasing.

dcolbert
dcolbert

LOL... Is simply no replacement for a true integrated turn-by-turn GPS application. Comparing Maps to Google Naviagtion is like comparing edit to Word. Kayak's figures ARE outdated. Just because he discussed them less than a week ago doesn't mean they're accurate. I posted the link to Picasa because it had metrics showing iOS making barely a dent and Android second by only a few points to OS X for hits to my personal blog. It is no secret among people who monitor website metrics that Android's share of traffic is on the increase while iOS's share is declining. I think that is more than a correlary relationship.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Everybody I know who has owned an Android device loved it when they first purchased it, only to hate it before the first year was out. I will grant that the majority of the issues were due to crap hardware; something of which even Samsung is guilty with nearly every smartphone BUT the Galaxy series. Others have fought bugs, instability and outright choppy performance of the pre-4.0 versions of Android. I'll grant all of this. My point is that with the exception of the photo site that Donovan so politely offered (which is hardly a techie site) more than one web analytics group reported that actual purchases made online with mobile devices were dominated by Apple's iOS devices--effectively smothered with a huge ratio of iOS over Android in nearly every case. ZDNet, TR, PCWorld and others all carried at least one article to that extent during the holiday series. This implies that iOS users truly do use their devices as communications devices--not 'toy computers'. I will acknowledge that the CEO of KAYAK did note that the Android numbers were improving and I expect that's due to the improvements in Android 4.0+ and the Galaxy-series hardware that sold for a mere $49 (for the Galaxy S3) over the holidays vs Apple's $199 iPhone 5 for nearly everyone but select Walmart* stores (not at either of the ones I visited during the season.) Yes, I am willing to make conjectures and DColbert knows from experience that mine are fairly accurate. However, my conjectures are based less on emotion and more on observation of historical events with each product type. I have already made my projection concerning iOS, Android and Windows RT/8 and where they'll be in two years. Unless Android makes some significant changes (and I don't necessarily mean in features) it WILL lose its current dominance and will at best run in approximate parity with the other two. It will take WinRT that long to rise to parity--as did Android when it first came out. iOS' market will remain relatively steady though will continue to see some sales growth until the market itself plateaus.

radleym
radleym

..from 1 piece of (arguable) data. How about this - Android users are more into apps than iOS users, instead of trying to browse the 'net on an inadequate device (or will you argue that browsing is better on tablets than on desktops?). So really all those site hits simply prove that iOS users are less tech savvy than Android users, and use tools that are inappropriate for the job.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Just in different ways. I've been saying people shouldn't rely on gadgets as "perfect navigators" (in other words, don't be dumb) while you've been saying "people are dumb" to not be aware of their environment. Heh. We agree!

dcolbert
dcolbert

The web-traffic of Android devices can be attributed to any of a number of reasons (and has been) - but also isn't heard much anymore, because it is no longer the case. Around the time of the release of the Nexus 7 - those stats changed. https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/rsaT9NSE0MX-xwJjJsofKtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink This week Macintosh OS has made an unusually strong showing on my personal blog, with 11% of the traffic, matching Android, and handily beating the ~3% share of traffic that iPad, iPod and the iPhone contribute combined. Android traffic to websites has increased significantly. So, to address the first point - it is true that at one point Android wasn't causing a lot of web traffic - and I still haven't seen a good explanation. I personally think Android Browser wasn't very good and Chrome Mobile for Android is much better (and hardware is powerful enough to make it pleasant now). I didn't used to surf much on Android, but Chrome changed that for me - so that is fairly anecdotal. But - if half the Android users don't know what they're doing - 95% of iOS users don't. I can't count the number of times I've been in a discussion with someone and mentioned Android GPS as something the iPhone can't match and had them respond, "Oh, I've got GPS..." and then show me Maps to prove it. :) Cheap stupid folks buy Android discount handsets. Spendy stupid folks buy iPhones. :) Seriously. Even the Apple people who KNOW what they're doing like their Apple phones because it gets out of their way and they don't have to think about anything. Come on, Vulpine. That is a pretty shallow argument. I may exaggerate the 95% figure up above - but the shallow high school girl who would be as well served with a feature-phone as a smart-phone - she wouldn't be caught dead at the football game with an Android phone. Those are for nerds and math champs. She has an iPhone. That _is_ the iPhone market. Whereas I tend to run into ubernerds all the time. It is like they can sense that I am a member of the pack. Whenever I get into conversations with a guy and I'm thinking, "this dude is in the deep end of the geek pool," he has an Android device. When I meet IT guys professionally and they pull out Apple devices, their tech-credibility instantly goes down a notch with me. iOS IT guys are generally professional and driven and smart - but they don't have the kind of passion for technology that Android IT guys have. And I'm not really saying one is better or worse than the other, either. They're different. One is better for some things and one is better for others.