The new generation of Android surpasses the Apple iPhone 5 in virtually all aspects: hardware, software, operating system and applications. Can the Cupertino firm withstand this onslaught in 2013?
At CES we’ve begun to see some of the trends that are coming on Android devices this year: Full HD screens, more powerful processors and GPUs, more RAM, better software, etc.. Although I am a faithful follower of Android, I acknowledge that Apple has very good devices. It would be very foolish to deny the great performance that offers a Mac Book Pro or an iPhone. However, after seeing the new generation of smartphones this year, my first thought was that Android devices will surpass the iPhone 5 in virtually all categories: hardware, operating system and applications.
After seeing some progress and some research, I think the hardware of Samsung, HTC, LG and other manufacturers have eclipsed Apple devices. After five years with smartphones, users have gained extensive knowledge about the devices and are fully familiar with specifications such as size, density and brightness, speed and number of cores of the processor, RAM, camera speed, their megapixels, physical dimensions, weight, battery life, among other things. The vast majority of consumers have acquired much knowledge about these topics and many have begun to look for devices that have at least one or another feature according to your needs.
By contrast, when we talk about Apple products, specifications usually go into the background, being the brand the main reason for purchase. The Cupertino firm usually offers few high quality products, so that users do not look much in product characteristics but acquire it because it is an Apple product (at least most of the people I know). This is not good nor bad but depends on each consumer (as well as the product in question). Some users will be more “rational” and analyze the characteristics of each product to base their purchase, while others will be more “emotional” and take into account other aspects when deciding on their purchase.
One area that the iPhone has always been prominent is design. The iPhone are really attractive devices, with an elegant aluminum housing. However, the rest of the manufacturers have evolved greatly in this regard. For example, the HTC Droid DNA includes red accents as part of crossbranding with Beats Audio, the Samsung Galaxy S3 also has an excellent design and the devices come in more and more colors and varieties to suit all tastes.
Recently, the mobile application developer Ralf Rottmann, said the new generation of Android 4.x Jelly Bean is a better operating system than iOS because it has a better rendering, better cross-app distribution, better integration applications-SO, is more polished, among other things.
Beyond that one agrees with this or not, I think what can not be denied is that the most important aspect of Android and one that gives one of its biggest advantages over iOS is the customization of the screen. Instead of static icons integrated with iOS notifications in Android the applications are in front and center and show the time in different time zones, weather, appointments and commitments, emails, texts and all we want on numerous topics that can completely reinvent the UI.
Beyond this, the operating system is not as important as the applications, and this is where Android starts to shine even more.
In a world in which the hardware and the operating system have become commodities, applications are the differentiator, and are heading to become a window to a cloud service.
The vast majority of Internet users spend more time using Google Search, Maps, YouTube, Mail, and applications such as this rather than the OS itself.
As people are beginning to notice, with few exceptions, Google applications are much better than those of Apple.
Perhaps as has been rumored for some time, Apple start buying cloud services, like Waze. However, it is difficult to purchase and integrate a new type of product category in a large company that does not have it in their DNA. Competition with Google, an entrenched and dominant player in machine intelligence, is not an issue at all easy.
Beyond Google applications, the reality of the application market is that all the applications that really matter are now in Android, and if the trend continues, will soon have more apps than iOS.
In addition, developers feel limited by the patterns of iOS user interface and its applications skeuomorphic and begun to diversify and move to Android that provides greater freedom.
One can sympathize more for Android or iOS but the numbers speak for themselves. Android has 75 percent of the market share of smartphones worldwide, with Samsung being the manufacturer at the forefront especially in Europe and Asia. While Apple is regaining market share in the U.S. with the iPhone 5, is about to face an attack from Android 5-inch smartphones with specifications that far exceed their flagship. Wall Street sees clearly the change that is coming, and has hammered the stock price of Apple last quarter.
Will have to see what happens but one thing is clear. Apple has to do something or otherwise will be overtaken by Android. Will it be the low cost iPhone the answer? Only time will tell.