As of 2019, the market share for phone operating systems is only a two-horse race – iOS and Android, with Android controlling just over 75 percent of the market and iOS with just under 23 percent. Kai OS and some others like Nokia’s OS were next with a negligible market share. It’s become a matter of fact that in this world there are Android fans and iOS fans, and people don’t tend to cross over to the other side. We all know folks who would never give up their iPhone for say, a Samsung, and we all know people who tell you iPhones are overpriced and more of an accessory than a necessity. However, which operating system is the best? That’s what we’ll try and find out for you.
Before we get to the pros and cons of each ( ios vs android ) system, let’s first have a look at the history of these two OS.
We’ll start with Android. The company Android Inc. was founded in 2003 by a bunch of guys, but the one you’ve most likely heard of is Andy Rubin. At first, the idea was an operating system developed for digital cameras, not phones, but soon the creators changed their minds and announced that their technology would soon rival Microsoft Windows Mobile. Not many people believed that and it wasn’t easy getting this company going. It’s been reported that they were so broke they couldn’t afford to pay for their office space and even the founders’ closest friends didn’t believe they were on to something. Google, however, did believe in their OS and acquired it from Android Inc.
Along with key members of the company. There was much secrecy surrounding Android and its acquisition, but the rumors started to get out that Google was developing its software for mobile phones, and little did we know how quickly this software would be in most of our pockets. Then in 2007, Apple dropped a bombshell and released its iPhone. Prior to this, Google’s operating system was developed only to run on standard phones, not ones with touchscreens. When the iPhone came out, the Android team knew that they had much work to do.
That same year a group called the Handset Alliance came together and made the bold statement that they would create “the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices.” Members of this alliance were Google, Samsung, HTC, and Motorola as well as others. They weren’t just full of hot air either, and soon we saw a bunch of different versions of Android.
These were “Cupcake,” “Donut,” “Eclair,” and “Froyo.” Later we got “Kit-Kat.” You might be wondering why computer software was named after things that you eat, and Google later answered that saying it was because the mobile devices running this software made life sweet. The first Android phone was the T-Mobile G1, or HTC Dream as it was called outside of the USA. The reviews were mixed, but many people did say that the OS had lots of potentials.
Now for the iPhone and iOS. In 2005 the one and only Steve Jobs had a tremendous job to do – shrink the Mac and make the perfect handheld device. In 2007, Apple announced this new phone along with its operating system. The first of the systems was called iPhone OS 1, and unlike Google, Apple didn’t go for sweet-sounding names and just kept counting up in numbers. So far, we have only mentioned phones, but as you know, both operating systems ran on various mobile devices.
The first iPhones were praised as a spectacular device and only added to the mystique of Jobs who for some, was like a techno-god. You have to read those early reviews to find fawning praise about how the iPhone was sleek, fantastic, innovative, a superb device for surfing the web, like nothing else before it. Gizmodo wrote, “I’m thumbing through my own iPhone like a teenager with his first Playboy.” It was in a league of its own. It wasn’t perfect and lacked a few features, but hey, no one was saying negative things about this device except perhaps one thing.
This was the fact it was so darn expensive, coming in at a base price of $499. Compare that to the first Android phone which launched at $179. But the price didn’t matter to many as iPhones were being hailed as the future of mobile devices. That’s kind of been the story ever since, but as we’ve seen in the years since, many high-end Android phones are also now very expensive. They might have cost a lot of cash, but that didn’t stop people buying the iPhone.
If you look at the best selling phones of all time, you’ll see that it’s topped by early Nokia phones. Also, it makes sense, you could throw them against a wall, and they wouldn’t break, and the battery lasted longer than any human could stay awake. That said, the third phone on the list is the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and it beats any Android phone by a long way. 220 million people bought that phone, which is more than impressive.
The best selling Android phone of all time is the Samsung Galaxy S4, and that sold just 80 million units, a long way behind. It ran Android 4.2.2 “Jelly Bean.” However, then just below that, you have the iPhone 5 and iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus which sold 70 and 65.9 million units respectively.
The iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S aren’t too far behind that, while various versions of the Samsung Galaxy have done ok too. If you look at the historical market share of operating systems you’ll find in 2009, and Android was barely getting out of the blocks and iOS was in front. The operating system, called Symbian, used by a bunch of big manufacturers like Nokia, was ahead of them both, but that soon changed. What you see in the years ahead is Microsoft Mobile taking a huge nosedive and Android rocketing to the top. We will say, though, that over the years iOS has taken some small dips and rises but mostly it’s stayed quite stable. Only lately has the iPhone been in a bit of trouble.
That might say something about its dedicated users over the years. However, since about 2013, Android has enjoyed an 80 percent market share, give or take a little now and again. No one can deny that Apple has very devoted fans, but it’s impossible to contest that Android is king of the market. However, just because something sells more doesn’t mean it is better. As we know, the iPhone is very expensive, which we’re sure puts a lot of people off. We went to an article by Fast Company and along with the staff at the website, some designers and technology big thinkers talked about what phone they thought was the best of all time.
The article was released in 2018. Also, you know what, the list of phones selected was mostly populated by various versions of the iPhone. Some old school phones such as the early Blackberry got a mention, as did those poplar Motorola flip phones and old Nokias. We couldn’t even find an Android phone on the list. Maybe those guys were just fond of the good old days… or maybe there just hasn’t been an almost-perfect Android phone yet.
What about 2019? We looked to see what people were saying we’re the best phones you could buy in 2019. Well, now it seems Samsung phones running Android top the list, although some lists do include the iPhone XS. It doesn’t matter where you look, Samsung Galaxy phones top the lists right now, with various types of Galaxy phones filling most of the top spots give or take the odd Huawei phone.
Some of the top ten lists right now don’t even include the iPhone, which is surprising given similar lists you would have found published a few years ago. From what we can see, according to the experts, Android phones, whether Huawei, Samsung, Xiaomi or One Plus, are favored over the iPhone. While the iPhone was almost always at the top of reviews not that long ago, these days people are talking about the fall of the phone.
That seems to have begun in 2018. It looks like these days that sleek design is just too expensive for some people and they think you can get a better machine for a lower price with an Android phone. This still doesn’t tell us which is the best operating system, though. Again, the experts have chimed in, not just about which phone is best but what operating system is best. The first thing most people point to is that Android gives the consumer more variety. That’s why it sells better, there are just so many phones out there with all kinds of features and at all prices. But it’s more than that.
The number of apps available for Android is approximately 3.5 million, while for iOS, it’s 2.5 million. Wait, though, because while there are more free Android apps and a greater variety, at least one reviewer says Apple has better quality apps, especially if you play games. Some people also say that Apple is better at weeding out questionable apps than Android, and the App Store is better to navigate than the Play Store.
Another big deal is maps. We looked at a few comparisons of Apple Maps and Google Maps and not one person said Apple Maps was better. Most reviewers did say that Apple Maps is getting better and better and isn’t far behind, but in the end, you have to go with Google. What concerns many people, too, is the battery life of their device. It’s a massive thing as no one likes seeing their battery run out on them when they need that phone working. Again, it’s all about variety.
The iPhone doesn’t have a bad battery at all, but you can find many Android devices out there with a superior battery. The experts the public agree on this one. It’s looking like Android wins in most areas, but where Apple looks to be superior is offering updates. When it comes to adding new features, some bug fixes, and also security updates, Apple is ahead. Two other things talked about are how you can customize your phone and how easy it is to use. In terms of customizing, Android just has more options, as you’d expect when there are so many phones. But in terms of sheer simplicity, most people seem to think that Apple wins here.
But what if you want to sell your phone and buy a new one? Which system holds its value better? There is only one answer to this and no one disagrees. It’s the iPhone. You can still get a reasonably decent amount of money for a phone two years old. You might also know people using iPhones even older than that which still works very well.
In the end, it seems like most people said that it’s all about personal preference and there is no definitive better OS. If you prioritize the volume of choice and range of customization, then you have to go for Android, but if you value design and ease of use then you can’t go wrong with an iPhone…if you can afford it. However, no matter if you prefer Android or iOS.