There are many new innovations that have been introduced to the Android platform and it has come a long way from being just another app store. We will take a look at the history of the Android OS and see what is changed compared to iOS.
What is Android?
First released on May 15th, 2010, Android was created by Andy Rubin who was then working for Danger Inc. as the CEO. At that time, he wanted to create an open-source operating system that would be more flexible than Apple’s iPhone OS. The idea behind this was to allow developers to create apps for the phone without having to go through Apple. The first version of Android did not include any native apps (apps written specifically for the platform) but instead used web apps. This meant that users could access information and perform actions like browsing the internet or making calls with their existing software installed on their computer. This was a huge improvement over the iPhone OS because it allowed people to use their existing programs on their desktop computers and transfer them onto the phone. With the release of Ice Cream Sandwich, we now have the ability to install “native” apps which means you can find your favourite games, music players, etc all in one place.
How does the OS work?
Android uses a Linux kernel which is the same as the Linux kernel found in most computers around the world. It also uses Dalvik VM which is a virtual machine that can run Java bytecode. This makes it possible to write applications that are compatible with both Windows and Mac machines. The only thing that isn’t compatible with other platforms is Flash Player. It also uses the Open Handset Alliance specifications which are basic guidelines that help companies make sure that they are using the same features across devices. For example, the camera on the HTC Sensation XE has the same resolution as the Galaxy Nexus so if you buy a cheap smartphone, you know you aren’t missing out on anything. Android allows you to customize the interface based on how you want it to look and feel. You can change the icons, colours, fonts, and even move buttons around if you don’t like where they are placed. There are plenty of themes available to download and there are even custom ROMs that let you completely change the appearance of the entire OS
Why is Android better than iOS?
There are several reasons why Android is better than iOS:
- More Apps: One of the biggest advantages of Android is that there are thousands upon thousands of apps available for it. While there are some pretty cool apps for both platforms you will never get bored with Android because there are always new ones coming out. If you own an iPad, you probably use it less than once every two months while Android gets updated almost daily.
- Customization: Another major advantage of Android is that you can customize everything about it. You can change the wallpaper, icon packs, font size, and even the layout of your home screen. On the other hand, you cannot change much about iOS. The only thing you can do is add widgets to your home screen and customize the lock screen.
- Hardware Support: Although Android is designed to work well with almost any device, some manufacturers have made things easier for themselves by including hardware features such as NFC (Near Field Communication). This is a technology that lets you pay for items by simply tapping your phone against another device. In fact, Samsung included it in the Galaxy S4 while Google decided to leave it out in the Nexus 4.
Another great feature is the ability to unlock your phone using your face. You can pair the phone up with your Google account and when you put your phone in front of the camera it will automatically unlock.
- Battery Life: Because Android runs on a Linux kernel it is able to give you longer battery life. In fact, it has been shown that the battery lasts twice as long on a Galaxy Nexus compared to an iPhone 4S. Of course, this depends on how you use your phone but it is definitely something to consider.
- No Restrictions: In order to keep the cost down, Apple doesn’t offer its products to third-party stores. As a result, you can’t purchase apps directly from the App Store. Instead, you need to go through iTunes which locks you into buying apps from Apple.
- Faster Updates: Since Android updates are automatic, you don’t have to wait for them to roll out. If you own an iPhone, you have to update manually, and often times you have to wait weeks before the latest version comes out.
- Better Security: When you buy an Android phone you know that it will receive security patches for a very long time. In fact, manufacturers usually promise to support the phone for three years after the initial release date.
We’ve already gone over some of the main differences between Android and iOS but here are some of the newest features that came out recently.
- Notifications: The notification bar has become one of the most important aspects of any smartphone. Most people check their notifications multiple times throughout the day and sometimes even more than once per hour.
One of the big improvements in Jelly Bean is the addition of quick replies. Now you can reply to texts and emails right from the notification bar. This can save you a lot of time especially when you are busy doing something else.
- Voice Actions: Before Jelly Bean, Android didn’t have voice commands and therefore couldn’t compete with Siri. However, since Jelly Bean, you can now ask your phone questions like “who won the game?” or “how old am I?”
- Multi Window: With multi-window, you can split your screen in half and view two different apps at the same time. This is useful when you are watching video content like YouTube and you want to read a comment at the same time.
- Gesture Typing: You can type faster with gesture typing because you don’t have to lift your finger off the screen. Just swipe left or right to select letters and you are done!
- Split Screen Mode: Split screen mode works similar to multi-window except that you can still view two apps at the same time. This is perfect for viewing two social networks at the same time.
- Smart Stay: This feature activates your phone’s screen when you are looking at it. It senses whether you are looking at it or not and turns the screen off until you look away again.
- Doze: This feature turns off background data usage when your phone goes into standby mode. This saves lots of battery power and helps extend the battery life.
- App Bundles: This is a new feature that allows you to bundle together certain apps from the Play Store. For example, you can get the Facebook Messenger app along with WhatsApp for free.
- Picture-in-Picture: You can now watch videos in picture-in-picture mode. This is really handy when you are watching TV shows or movies and you want to browse the Internet at the same time.
- Notification Dots: These are small dots that appear next to each app when you receive a notification. They let you quickly dismiss the notification without opening the app.