The Google vs. Apple battle continues, as both tech giants are busy preparing themselves for new versions of their mobile operating systems. While Apple’s users are hard at work hitting update buttons to download the much-awaited iOS 5, Android fans would have to wait for a month or more before they get their hands on Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).
Whether you’re an iPhone user or an Android lover, the coming months will bring some great new features to your device. So, if you don’t know much about the changes, read on as we compare the upcoming versions of two of the best mobile operating systems around.
When it comes to iPhone, one can’t expect any major UI change, as Apple has always been consistent about how their phone looks. However, there are some minor design improvements that take iOS a step further. For example, iOS now sports a completely redesigned notification system that looks very much similar to the one on Android. Starting with iOS5, you can now view and interact with all your new notifications right from the lock screen. Whilst you are using the phone, swipe your fingers downwards to see the current notifications. This is a new feature that’s very much similar to what Android has been using since the start. Even though there haven’t been any lawsuits yet, Android fanboys are calling it a hypocrisy on Apple’s part as Apple themselves have accused Android of copying iOS’s UI. Other design changes include the new multitasking gestures for iPad and camera button on the lock screen.
Coming to Android, Ice Cream Sandwich includes a completely redesigned interface that draws from the Honeycomb UI. Though there has been no official unveiling of the new version, various leaked screenshots have sprung up giving a closer look at what’s in store for us. Android 4.0 will feature a new holographic interface, new homescreen widgets, a redesigned multitasking panel and much more. With ICS, Google is making sure that they have one interface across all their devices, which will hopefully alleviate the fragmentation problem on Android. When compared to the iOS interface, Android has a darker look, very much like a gadget from the movie Tron Legacy. Whether or not the new look will be able to impress users is something we’ll have to wait for till November. However, iOS5, which is released a while ago, has managed to cure most iPhone users of their droid envy.
Since iOS5 runs on only one device and ICS runs on multiple devices, performance of both operating systems can’t be compared head to head. However, if Android 4.0 manages to run smoothly across older devices, Apple’s going to have a tough time keeping up with the droid invasion. As of now, Google hasn’t given out any details as to what hardware is required to run ICS, but judging from the leaks we’ve seen this far, it seems as if the interface is designed for high-end devices.
Apple, with their new messenger feature in iOS5, is trying to convert BBM fanboys to their club. The new iMessage service for Apple brings all the goodness of BBM to Apple’s iPhones and iPads. Google on the other hand, is doing something similar by pushing the messenger app through its Google Plus social suite. While iMessage will run only on Apple’s devices, the messenger app (previously known as Huddle) will run across all devices. Of course, there’s no dearth of group messaging apps for Android and iOs, but having something built-in makes it even more popular. When compared head-to-head, Apple’s iMessage completely beats Google Huddles simply with the amount of features it comes packed with. Google’s Huddles is a bit more obscure and not that easy to use when compared to iMessage or even BBM. If you’re on Android, and are excited about iPhone’s iMessage, be a bit more patient as Android 4.0 will feature a completely reworked G+ app that will include improved Huddles.
Note: According to various leaks, the Huddles feature might be renamed to Chords.
More Social Integration
With iOS5, Apple has integrated Twitter right into the operating system. Considering the popularity of Twitter, this feature will surely impress a lot of Apple users who missed having any built-in social functions for their device. Android users too will be getting more social with ICS as the new operating system will include the G+ app by default. Also, more and more core features in Android will be integrated with Google Plus.
When it comes to cloud integration, Android has always been leading the pack with built-in services like Google sync and Google Docs. Now, with iCloud, iOS is catching up with its competitors, making sure that no one snatches the number 1 crown off its head. With iCloud, users will be able to backup all their important data to the cloud. On Android however, we already have similar features built right into the device. To learn more about them, check out a comprehensive guide we wrote earlier about backups on Android.
With features which Android users have already been enjoying since day one, iOS 5 brings nothing wow-worthy to the table. Having said that, iOS5 is a major step up for Apple as it knows that its mobile monopoly is on the verge of a downfall and that it has to leave no stone unturned to keep Android from taking over. ICS on the other hand, will further consolidate Android’s position on the mobile as well as the tablet market, giving open source enthusiasts something more to cheer about. As to who will win this war, only time will tell.