ANDROID users rejoice – your phones come with a range of unique features and functions that your fruit-flavoured rivals can only dream of.
Despite the two companies actually working slightly more closely together in the last few months, it seems that the battle for smartphone hearts and minds is set to continue for a while yet – but Android fans can at least take heart from the fact that their devices can boast the following stand-out features.
1. Get More Choice In Their Device
To begin with, Android has long been viewed as the more open and inclusive system.
Apple is the only company currently making devices that run iOS – and that leaves customers with less choice.
In contrast, Google’s open-source operating system is open to everyone, with manufacturers building everything from cheap phones to high-end flagship devices.
Far from being stuck in a one or two-year product cycle, Android users have a huge amount of devices to choose from to enjoy their software – and, processing power apart, many will in fact inter-relate and work well together, with setting up and getting running a quick and simple process.
2. Personalise Their Device
Another well-publicised selling point for Android devices is the sheer amount of customisation available.
And it’s not just the wider array of hardware styles and sizes. From a software perspective, Android devices again offer much more.
Almost all leading Android manufacturers allow for the creation of customised backgrounds, lock screen images, colour schemes, even the service you use to type.
Whether it’s a picture of your pet, loved one or even just a snappy picture, the ability to set your phone to your liking is a major selling point for Android owners.
Many leading devices also allow users to mould and personalise how the software looks.
HTC recently added the ability to use custom stickers to represent apps – letting users transform their grid of apps into a cartoonish work of art, with each character representing a favourite Android app.
Regardless of the quality of the end result, it’s undoubtedly more personal than Apple’s clinical grid of app icons.
Another key part of the customisation is Android’s use of widgets.
Going one-step beyond apps by acting as a constant presence on your home screen (or any other screen, if you’d prefer), widgets make getting the information you need, when you need it, quick and simple.
Without needing to fire-up an app, users can check the weather, monitor calendar appointments for the day, or track your footsteps or other fitness information – all speedily at your fingertips.
Android devices will come with a wide number of widget options pre-installed, or offer up a number of new alternatives via the Google Play app store – meaning you need never miss out on key information.
Apple did introduce its own version of widgets last year, but these are much more limited than their Android counterparts, and are imprisoned within the notification area.
4. Add Extra And More Flexible Storage
Lots of us today use our phones for much more than just calls, as many Android devices now carry a camera powerful enough to take extremely detailed shots.
But what if you want to quickly move and upload these pictures on to your home PC or laptop?
For iOS users, this often requires the fiddly installation of extra programs, and going through several steps to ensure that the files you want are going to the right place.
However Android users are able to just plug and play their devices, thanks to the ubiquity of USB and USB-C chargers that power the majority of devices on the market today.
All that’s needed is a quick swipe down to tell the device that you want it to act as an extra drive, and you’re all set to use it as you would a regular USB stick, able to drag, copy and shift around all those precious files.
Adding extra storage space to Android devices is also far easier than Apple phones, as the former often come with support for microSD cards, which let you hold on to more of your treasured content without having to make tough decisions about what to keep or delete.
5. Multi-Tasking Via Multi-Window
With all these apps and widgets on your phone, sometimes things can get a little cluttered – especially if you don’t have a particularly big screen.
Phone manufacturers have in the last few months finally woken up to the idea that multi-tasking can be done on smartphones, and for now at least, Android is leading the way.
Many of the top devices, including Samsung’s flagships, offer multi-screen views when using your device, similar to the split or quad screen experience you can have on a Windows PC, meaning you can have multiple apps in operation at the same time.
This is often hugely useful for those of us who like to work or check various news feeds on the go – but for iOS users, the function is limited to tablet devices such as the iPad, whereas smartphones are left behind.
6. Smoother Notifications
Notifications are a key part of staying on top of both your important communications and various social media feeds, so its often vital that they stick around where you can see them.
However for iOS users this can often be tricky, as unlocking and relocking their device will cause lockscreen notifications to disappear – meaning you could miss something crucial.
Android devices however, will keep both their icons and notification presence until dismissed or accessed, meaning there’s no danger of missing out.
7. Free Up Space Quickly
Some of the apps you use will often download photos, videos and other data onto your phone whilst you use them.
This is particularly true for apps that use photos and videos such as Vine, Twitter and Instagram, which often use a lot of storage space to keep information related to these downloads.
If you have an iPhone, you can usually only get this space back by deleting and re-installing the app (unless – like Google Maps – the developer has included the option within the app itself) which can be extremely restrictive, particularly if you have a smaller capacity device.
However for Android users, these apps often include an option to simply clear the cache, quickly freeing up space that iOS versions cannot – and even if not, you can also clear the cache of an app in the Android software.