Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 5th Dec 2013 09:51 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

About 2 years back, I read this article on Michael Degusta's personal blog. It was a revelation. Michael ripped the Android ecosystem apart with a simple chart. The chart converted me from an Android user to an iPhone user. I hope this chart helps other folks make an informed decision when their next smartphone upgrade is due.

Charts like this do great in certain areas of the web, but it's too simplistic. First, it does not take into account that many core aspects of Android are updated through Google Play, such as Chrome, Gmail, Maps, the keyboard, and so on. Whereas iOS needs an entire update to fix a small bug in, say, Maps - Android does not. Many core parts that require an entire OS update for iOS are updated weekly on Android.

Second, it does not mention that even though older iPhone models get the latest version of iOS, some functionality of these latest versions is disabled due to marketing, and in some cases due to hardware constraints (if you were to believe Apple, that is).

Third and foremost, though: I'm betting each and every one of those devices has at least an Android 4.2 or 4.3 release (and some have 4.4 too, like my Find 5) from, for instance, CyanogenMod - and countless other ROM makers. Installing a custom ROM is one of the strengths of Android, and not nearly as hard or difficult as some make it out to be. If your iPhone becomes unsupported or really slow due to iOS7 - you're screwed. You have no other options. If Samsung's TouchWiz crap makes your Galaxy slow, run out and get a quality phone install a custom ROM.

I see this all the time: people ignoring core strengths of Android because they don't understand them or because they don't belong to their interests - "this is just for nerds and geeks, so it's irrelevant!" Take discussions about application on iOS and Android, for instance; those arguing in favour of iOS routinely ignore that Android has access to types of applications iOS users could only dream of. If you leave those out, it's easy to make Android's application offering look weaker. The same happens when looking at Android and updates.

All this doesn't negate the fact that updates are by far Android's weakest link, although not nearly as much of an issue as it used to be during the gingerbread days. Moving more and more parts of Android to Play will eventually all but solve the issue completely.

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Comment by Froyton
by Froyton on Thu 5th Dec 2013 15:25 UTC
Froyton
Member since:
2013-08-29

I would give props to Apple for having a consistent update system, but they lose serious points when half of their updates break something. My wife has an iPhone 5, and I swear the most stable it's ever been was when it came out of the box. The first update she received caused her wifi to stop working and her battery to drain horribly, forcing her to plug it in halfway through the day. Several subsequent updates would not fix these issues. The update to iOS7 fixed her wifi issue, but her battery still drains just as fast. She had comparable issues with iPhone 4 updates as well.

I'm not saying Android phones are immune to this problem - everyone I know who had a Droid X said the updates made it worse in some way. But I will say none of the Android phones I've owned had given me any issues with updates.

Furthermore, I honestly stopped caring about the supposed update "problem" with Android a while ago. I'm still rocking 4.1 Jellybean and I honestly have no strong incentive to upgrade anytime soon. 4.1 is awesome and already gives me pretty much everything I could want in a phone OS. I'll definitely upgrade eventually, but I don't feel like an abused customer with 4.1 by any means.

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