Different computing platforms have always had zealous advocates who beat their chests and pontificate about the virtues of their preferred computing system. Whether it is SQL Server versus Oracle, Windows versus Mac OS versus Linux or iOS versus Android – there’s a sure bet that any debate about the virtues of any platform will eventually devolve into name calling and a call for a schoolyard fight behind the bike sheds.
So, it’s with some trepidation that we step into this debate and look at the business benefits of Android and iOS.
Before either side of this debate gets too riled up, it’s our view, after using both iOS and Android extensively over the last few years with market-leading handsets (from multiple vendors in the case of Android) that there’s not really a huge amount of difference between the two platforms with respect to functionality and developer support.
Aesthetics aside, Android and iOS deliver very similar functionality albeit in different ways.
There are dozens of potential criteria to assess different platforms. We’re going to focus on three: apps, security and support.
Leading application developers, such as local company Outware (www.outware.com.au) develop apps for both Android and iOS. And, if you look at the iOS App Store and Google Play Store you’ll find remarkable similarity in the lists of most popular apps.
One significant difference is IBM’s partnership with Apple to deliver enterprise apps. With the first ten or a suite of about 100 apps delivered, it’s clear that Apple is making a serious push towards businesses.
Android isn’t without its own enterprise software but most of the push has come from the phone makers rather than major partners.
Other business applications such as productivity software are available for both platforms and MDM makers such as Good Technology have solutions for both platforms so there’s not much difference there.
And the old chestnut about Android being a difficult platform to develop for because of differing form factors and screen resolutions is pretty much dead. The most recent versions of Android allow developers to create apps that can work correctly across devices. That said, there’s still a push by the hardware companies to tweak Android so that their own apps work best so you can find some apps work better on some devices.
Apple’s walled-garden approach offers both benefits and challenges. The curated App Store imposes strict limits on what apps can be distributed and, unless you jailbreak a device, there’s no way to sideload apps that aren’t approved.
However, with iOS, you’re putting all your trust in Apple. And their track record, while solid is not perfect. The ‘gotofail’ issue identified in February 2014 was an embarrassing flaw and there’s their slow reaction to other issues is a cause for concern.
Android is supported by Google’s Play Store that is also curated although Amazon and others also run their own Android app stores. However, apps can also be distributed and loaded outside the app store systems. As a result, there are millions of pieces of Android malware in the wild – over 10 million according to Kaspersky.
Support and Warranties
Apple has been rapped on the knuckles by the ACCC over representations made to customers over customer guarantees. However, our experience and countless anecdotes tell us about Apple’s service, particularly when customers are able to visit and Apple Store.
AppleCare offers an extension over the normal 12-month warranty that’s provided of either an extra year for iOS devices or two years for Macs.
With Android devices, it will largely depend on what devices you buy as each manufacturer will offer different warranty conditions.