Google announced Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) on October 19, while Apple released their next generation OS for phones and tablets, iOS 5 on October 12.
PC World compares Apple’s iOS 5 vs. Android 4.0, by Google. The new iPhone 4S comes with iOS-5 while the new Galaxy Nexus will come with Ice Cream Sandwich, which will work on both Android phones and tablets.
ICS offers a host of new features, including improved voice commands, an enhanced browser, facial recognition, photo enhancements, and changes to core apps such as Gmail and Calendar. IOS5 offers better voice command, ease of use and hardware/software integration.
- Ease of Use:
- Android 4.0: Google took major steps towards unifying the look and feel of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich by introducing a new system font, adding the ability to create folders on the home screen. Android still suffers from complexity with deep settings menus that aren’t always intuitive. The trade-off is a much greater degree of customization. Custom ROMs (think Cyanogen Mod) can be used to take any Android device to the next level (though security often takes a hit).
- iOS 5: iOS 5 grows more complicated with each revision, but is still the easier of the two. Apple has not changed the general look and feel of iOS since it was first launched. This has pros and cons. The home screens are easy to navigate and adjust, but the settings menu grows deeper and deeper each year. Still, it is easier to make adjustments to the iOS system settings than on a typical Android device.
- Android 4.0: Android integrates natively with Gmail, Google Contacts, Calendar, Documents, Maps, Search, Google+, Google Voice, and the like. If you’re invested in Google’s services as a consumer–or Google Apps as a business–Android destroys iOS with respect to Google integration (as it should). Android also supports Exchange and POP3/IMAP4 email, and can import the contacts, calendar, and email info from those systems.
- iOS 5: iOS 5 supports Exchange, Gmail, and most POP3/IMAP4 email systems. The iMessage feature has been integrated into the “Messages” application on the iPhone. iOS 5 will integrate contacts, email, and calendar info via Exchange. If you’re a Google services user, however, the integration requires work-arounds. The email program has inexplicably remained a weak link in iOS 5’s armor. While it is serviceable, it doesn’t offer the wide array of controls that are available via Android 4.0.
- Social Tools:
- Android 4.0: Android leapfrogged iOS early on with respect to social skills. By using its own APIs and taking advantage of the APIs offered by Facebook and Twitter, it has built social networking into the platform itself. Facebook integration, in particular, is extremely strong with Android. For example, Android integrates Facebook contacts into the native contacts application.
- iOS 5: iOS 5 continue to lack deep social skills. Apple did add some respectable and appreciated support for Twitter into iOS 5, but even that falls short. In iOS 5, it is possible to share pictures, web sites, and other content to Twitter without first launching the Twitter application, but that’s about as far as it goes. Facebook and Twitter for iOS are great applications, to be sure, but they offer a siloed approach to social networking and not one that’s integrated into the platform to the same degree it is in Android.
- Voice: Siri, built into the iPhone4S, lets you do various tasks via voice command. Siri is much more advanced than the Android platform. Voice Actions for Android let you control your Android phone just by speaking. Google Voice allows voice input & output. Android users can augment Voice Actions with a number of third-party apps such as Vlingo (free), Speaktoit Assistant (free) and Voice Actions Plus ($2.99)
- Music: Apple has iTunes and the iCloud while Android doesn’t even have a competitive music store (yet).
- Camera: Both systems now allow the camera to be used from the lock screen, though Apple has added full grid lines and pinch-to-zoom features. Apple has the best camera but Android has a new panoramic stitching feature that makes a single wide shot from multiple photos.
- Apps: Android offers developers and users more free and open-source technologies to add in to their systems. That is good and bad. Apple exerts more control over apps.
- Browser: Browser capabilities have been enhanced for both phones. Android now offers a mobile browsing experience parallel to the Google Chrome desktop interface, while Apple introduces an iCloud-enabled “Reading List” syncing system.
- Hardware Integration: Apple has an integrated hardware/software approach that delivers more performance per watt. On the other hand, Android offers LTE, Near Field Communications, HDMI and USB on the Go connectivity.
- Wireless: Android 4.0 phones support LTE, and can exchange data such as map details or links over NFC when held together. Ice Cream Sandwich allows for direct Wi-Fi connections (Wi-Fi Direct) while IOS-5 provides wireless sync between iOS devices and your Mac or PC over a shared Wi-Fi connection.
Android 4.0 will make its debut on Samsung’s new Galaxy Nexus phone, which will be released in November. The Nexus S is also expected to receive an update to Ice Cream Sandwich. Other 2.3.x Gingerbread-based devices may also see updates.