From the very beginning of the Android Revolution iOS has been nipping at its heels or following in its tracks, however you choose to look at it. The revolution started in 2008 with the release Android 1.0 and iOS 1 then called iPhone OS with pretty basic versions and feature lists. Both shipped with a browser, maps app, clock, texting capabilities, phone app, and meager app market offerings.
We then travel ahead to April 2009 with the release of Android 1.5 Cupcake and the dessert influx begins. Bringing with the newest version of Android, Google blessed users with the “universal” search box allowing you to search anywhere on your phone or the Net. This new update brought with it the first virtual keyboard and a revamped Market that, from meager beginnings, has swelled to 250,000 apps today; a new camera and in app video cam toggle shipped with the updated treat. iOS, trailing again, released iOS 2 several months later with App Store/iTunes integration, push email and home pages to make room for app icons on the homepage because they didn’t and still don’t offer an “app drawer” to stay organized. This update brought with it, as well, native screenshot abilities and emoji (which they are in court about as we speak).
July of 2009 brought iOS 3 which was an incremental release of the Apple platform patching up the many holes left behind and filling some request gaps by the users. Many of the fixes released had already existed in their closest competitor…Android. Improved GPS accuracy and a compass was introduced as well. Apple finally caught up with video recording, before iOS 3 video capture wasn’t available. Tethering finally made it to iOS with this update also.
Looking ahead to September of 2009, Android 1.6 Donut lands down and our sweet tooths are tempted even more. Navigation and improved voice-to-text accompanied this update along with an improved Market including advanced searching capabilities and built-in screenshots of the app offerings.
With Donut being a smaller update for Android 2.0/2.1 Éclair landed down in October and brought some quite nice features with it. Searching within saved text and picture messages, an adaptive dictionary that learned the words used instead of just a spell checker, and double tap zooming in the browser were introduced along with live wallpapers that would bring a phone’s background to life.
In April of 2010, iOS 3.0 was updated to 3.2 (another incremental update) to facilitate bringing out the iPad. Apple users finally have the option to change their wallpaper and use landscape mode rather than portrait all the time. The dock was expanded to hold 6 apps and a new keyboard was introduced too.
May 2010 was a chilly month bringing with it 2.2 Froyo. It increased memory management with App2SD support and Adobe Flash 10.1. This was also a time in which a flurry of tethering apps hit the Market and after carriers “requested” the apps be removed, there became many available outside of the Market that could be “sideloaded” for users that were so inclined.
In June iOS finally got multi-tasking abilities. Prior to this update to iOS 4, if you wanted to do something other than the app you were in, you had to quit and lose any and all progress as the ability to save your spot or info wasn’t available. This was also the first time Apple decided to allow the creation of folders and photo albums. Zooming abilities were also introduced and the Apple GameCenter was released, housing a well-loved game on all devices, Angry Birds.
Google staying several steps ahead, in December 2010, they brought with them a glimpse into the future with Near Field Communication shipping on the Gingerbread carrying Nexus S. We were blessed with an even tastier treat, Gingerbread. A newer-faster-keyboard, enhanced cut and paste, front facing camera support, and greater power management greased the speed and fluidity of the new AOS (Android Operating System). Gyroscopes and barometers were now natively supported as well.
Riding closely behind the Gingerbread man was the next dessert, Honeycomb, AOS 3.0. This update was released for tablets and had increased support for the larger screens and greater 3D graphics. Video chatting, full-screen mode camera applications and image browsing, side-by-side browsers, and Bluetooth tether graced this update as well. Initially, users could not resize their widgets (this changed with 3.1), but they were able to hook joysticks and games pads up through their tablets.
iOS 5 landed down near the middle of 2011 with the addition of many new features. Many users had issues with the platform they so lovingly cower to and were used to. Apple brought out a BB Messenger type of messaging app, photo editing abilities, “offline browsing” of internet pages, a new split keyboard for tablet applications, and users were finally graced with a notification bar (AOS 1.0 option)
Ice Cream Sandwich, perhaps one of the most “game changing” updates for the AOS, Android 4.0 brings some great native features that would, and do, make iOS users green with envy. Android Beam technology (NFC), offline Gmail search, re-designed widgets (still not available in iOS), facial recognition technology, revamped homescreen folders, and HD 1080p recording for the video camera with damn near instant photo snapping as well.
So what, you may ask, was the real point of this great amount of information? For starters we put this together to try and figure out, ourselves included, what the draw to the iOS platform was. Looking back at the timeline provided here, we see a lot of shadowing of the Android innovation. But isn’t iOS touted as ground breaking? According to the facts, not so much. With a few of their own innovations, and don’t get me wrong some are pretty cool, there isn’t a whole lot to squawk about besides the brand that users have gathered to since the 80’s when they released the Apple One.
So with all of this information available to us and so many more good things coming out of Android in terms of innovation, creativity, great features, and an all around very user-friendly device with great community support at thousands of websites, why aren’t more people on board with Android and why do so many people think that Apple is so great? I think the answer lies in advertising. Browsing on the Web, watching TV, and reading billboards, what do you see? Apple this and Apple that. It’s really annoying to me personally.
On occasion you will see or hear an ad for an Android device, but there is really nothing being done to tout how awesome the underlying OS is. The Apple slogan “It just works” is so worn and tired it’s like the shoes I threw out last week from there being holes in the welting…beat up. The Android OS does so much more than just work, it is amazing.
So back to my original point, manufacturers cover the AOSP (Android Open Source Project) up with overlays like Blur and TouchWiz. And freedom over the look and feel of the OS is their right, so why not run with it? Where, though, is the advertising and the shouting from the rooftops about Android, not a device, Android the operating system? Why isn’t there greater promotion of Nexus (pure Android devices) lineup of phones? In an Android world with handfuls of different skins and overlays, why wouldn’t Google push the true unadulterated user experience? Where does this responsibility lie? Does it lie with those trying to sell the devices? No, they are only trying to sell devices pure and simple, the Android OS is a merely a selling point for them, which at times is overshadowed by the hardware they are trying to push. It seems as though Android takes a back seat to the device itself, but why? Is it because they don’t care as much about the operating system as they do the device? That’s a tough one to answer; I think the true reason is they, as device manufacturers, are a channel for getting Android to the masses, they aren’t the creators.
Who carries the responsibility for promoting the Android Experience and all of the cool features that have been integrated into the work of art that is produced to be run on all of these devices? Google. The primary responsibility lies within the hands of the creators themselves, once again…Google. You would think that a company that loves the creation they are growing and building would do more to promote their product and in turn, themselves. How many users out there actually know that Google is the creator of the Android revolution before they buy the device? How many people out there using a fruit phone know the real differences between them and how far behind the curve iOS really is? Looking at the cold hard facts about the two operating systems competing head to head daily makes you wonder if iOS ever would have come about if Android hadn’t come along first to provide them with ideas to use and create their substandard excuse for an OS. We as users, creators, testers, guinea pigs, and enthusiasts are a great resource and marketing team for Google as we are on the front lines telling our friends and family about the greatness of what we experience daily and we are the ones that end up with a loss for words after talking for 20 minutes about the endless possibilities this platform affords those that adopt it. It would be nice to have a little help from the purveyors of what we hold so dear to our hearts. Are we, the proud Android community, carrying all of the water in pushing this platform to the masses and not just pushing a device that’s going to wear out in a couple of years? We may make recommendations to those we know or those that ask about what device we like at the time but what are we really pushing them towards? Android, pure and simple, Android; the rest is just a vessel for the coolness that tells the hardware what to do.
The business practices of Google are widely known, they are a company that cares very much about its customers and values its employees like no other. From the moment you walk in the doors at the Google main office you are surrounded by an environment that is designed to stimulate creativity and growth. This is the company, these are the people that need to utilize their creativity and ingenuity and find a way to figuratively “yell” as loud if not louder than Apple so the masses that are walking around with fruit shaped blinders on can see the truth in which operating system is truly the better product and the one that deserves more respect. Yes, there will always be those that love the brick carrying iO-whatever because they either don’t know any better or don’t want to know any better. They’re happy that their phone works at all, oh wait, “It just works” that’s about it. Trying to convert them is damn near impossible because they’ve been so brainwashed they thing the egg came before the chicken because that’s what they’ve been fed, I mean, told from the beginning.
As a community we should go to Google and ask the questions this article has touched on, danced around, and flat out stated: “Why isn’t there good advertising about the “Real” Android OS?” “Why is Apple the only one really pushing their “creation”? It is time to fight the good fight, it is time to step up and fight the fight that needs to be fought. It is time to squash the company that piggybacks on all of the good ideas Google comes up with for Android and the files suit saying they are theirs “We came up with that idea in a dream in 1985, we just never implemented it”. It was said, well a couple of months back, by who I unfortunately don’t remember, that Apple can’t beat Android in sales or activations, so they have to try and beat them in the courts. Isn’t that the truth, brass tacks and all?
I, for one, am going to continue down my path of pushing Android every chance I get and to anyone that will listen with or without the help of Google. I can only hope that one day when I’m/We’re on the front lines receiving heavy fire that the Google powered tanks will come rolling up from behind us and give us the support and advertising fire power we need to quell the opposition and stick the Android Flag in the heart of the “fruit”, rip it out, and free those that have been subdued and blinded by a brand, a name, and not real results or ingenuity.
ACS Writer: Zachdroid
Sources Info: Slashgear / Techie Lo Bang / Cult of Mac / c|net / Redmond Pie
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