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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Misleading chart but...
by dennisma on Thu 5th Dec 2013 11:14 UTC
Member since:

The chart is a bit misleading on its idea of major upgrades but besides that the person does have a point. The upgrade path for Android phones is pitiful compared to iOS.

Face it... it is why Google started Nexus phones and tablets. The hardware manufacturers would screw people over making them wait (sometimes forever) for upgrades to be rolled out.

Telling customers to install a custom ROM is NOT what they want to hear. When people spend that kind of money on a phone they should expect some upgrade path to go along with it; not some answer that says "well go install cyanogenmod and if you have a problem go post on the forum and maybe someone out there will feel sorry enough to lend you a hand."

Listen... contrary to popular belief people actually have other things to do than sit around and figure this stuff out.

Your other points about Android devices having more capabilities is correct however but your mindset on how to treat the customer is just wrong.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Misleading chart but...
by henderson101 on Sat 7th Dec 2013 08:56 in reply to "Misleading chart but..."
henderson101 Member since:

Okay, so - here is the thing. Older Android releases are pretty well supported by Google. My kids phones run Gingerbread and they got the latest Hangouts recently, as an example. But, most of these apps seem to require Google Play Services to function and the amount of space on their phones is stupidly small already, so one had to delete a lot of apps to install (edit: and even then the app was slow and missing a lot of features), one just stuck with Google Talk for their IM's. What I'm trying to say is this : just because Google chose to make something available for a legacy device, really doesn't mean that the legacy device can actually handle it. Apple tends to remove features if there's and sniff that it will not work at 100% of some imaginary scale set during development. That sucks for the consumer, but having seen the other side of the coin, not sure it is all bad.

Also, let us look at what Google just did with KitKat - no Google experience launcher on my Nexus 4, and no OK Google in my search.... Seems like features being left out to me. How is that any different to Apple? Seriously?

Edited 2013-12-07 08:57 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2