Smartphone operating systems often inspire dire loyalty in their users. Once someone owns an iPhone/Android/Windows Phone they rarely switch. But sometimes it’s good to put emotional attachment aside and take an objective look at what each OS really offers – you never know, you might be persuaded to switch.
Rosemary Hattersley, of PC Advisor, took the time to write a multi-page look at the most recent versions of the iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry operating systems. Here’s a recap of some of the pros and cons of each OS:
- The latest version of Apple’s mobile OS … offers the broadest choice of apps of all smartphones and comes with plenty of Apple’s own apps.
- The likable Safari web browser supports multiple web pages.
- You can easily add multiple email accounts from Outlook to iCloud Mail, Yahoo, Google and Exchange, then designate contacts as VIPs. You can view inboxes separately or show all messages in a single inbox view. Mail is searchable by name or subject via a field at the top of the screen.
- Integration with audio hardware is impressive via both Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay wireless streaming.
- Aside from the sheer number of apps in the App Store, one of the big advantages of iOS is that Apple curates all apps, so rogue installations (and malware) are less likely than with Android.
- The lack of support for Flash means some websites don’t work.
- Voice search via the Siri digital assistant is largely a gimmick and requires a Wi-Fi connection to use.
- [Document attachments] can be saved locally only if you have certain apps installed which support those file types.
- Google Ice Cream Sandwich (the version before the current Jelly Bean) covers all the basics, with fancier media management options (Samsung. HTC and Sony) and prettier weather and contact features (HTC in particular) being added on some handsets by manufacturers.
- One clear advantage is the well-developed Google Maps app. Strong mapping, 3D and satellite views are accompanied by built-in voice-control and turn-by-turn navigation.
- Android also offers built-in voice search, NFC support, screen mirroring and contactless content sharing. You can ‘throw’ photos and music to devices across the room and queue up actions in a form of home automation.
- Google Now (which is now available for iOS devices, albeit in a slightly more limited form) serves up useful information based on your past behaviour, but also on location and time of the day.