So I keep seeing debates online regarding Android vs. iOS, and I just shake my head.
They’re both capable mobile operating systems, but I would never, ever advise anyone without technical expertise and an IT background to use Android. Ever.
Several reasons for that.
1. Android is a Linux computer. Beyond that, it is quite vulnerable to virus infection, via certain websites (rare), the Google Play Store (less rare) and 3rd party app stores (quite likely).
2. As a computer, it requires regular updates to avoid said virus infections, and other security issues. Non technical users don’t think about updates. Odds are they’re still running the exact OS that came with the phone 3 years in. That’s not safe, smart, or something they should even have to worry about. Also, there was a lovely article recently detailing how antivirus apps for Android are mostly fake, and don’t actually do anything.
3. For some odd reason, when you look at benchmarks and performance, an android handset requires more than double the processing power to achieve similar results to competing platforms – a quad core, 3.0 GHz Android handset with 2gb of RAM will compare pretty evenly with a dual core, 1.6 GHz Apple device with 1gb of RAM.
4. Android is just barely getting to the polish level of iOS – if you can install the latest version, which you probably can’t. If your device isn’t supported, you can always go with an alternate OS build, but that falls into the realm of developers and technical users. Your average user wouldn’t have a clue how to do that.
5. Updates. If a security flaw is found, once Google issues a patch, it takes vendors MONTHS to release them. They have to test and make sure it doesn’t cause issues with their custom skins, apps and modifications. Nexus devices are the exception to this, since Google supports them directly – if you bought it from Google. if you buy it somewhere else, well, some of those are still supported by the manufacturer, and still get delayed. Also, a non technical user probably won’t install them anyways.
A technical user – a Linux aficionado, a hacker, a geek… Users like that will probably enjoy having an open source OS phone that they can hack and modify and play with, and users like that are well set with Android. Your uncle who doesn’t know how to log on to a computer, grandmother, or other non technical relatives, friends and colleagues? They should be in a walled garden. They’re much better off with iOS, Windows, Blackberry or (shockingly) a feature phone. They don’t know that it’s a computer that needs attention on a regular basis to keep them safe.
Plus there was that whole incident where google’s lawyers said that no Google user had any right to expect privacy. While I doubt anyone really can, saying that the way they did is just rude and uncalled for. Even without that, the whole Android ecosystem is broken badly, and just not a good environment to be stuck in.
I don’t know what you want out of your phone, but I know why I’d never recommend Android to anyone, ever. And I’d absolutely advise against it for anyone who isn’t a computer geek willing to keep on top of updates. Along with that, I’d definitely say avoid any device that isn’t a Nexus device, because most of the rest can’t even be updated anyways, and remain insecure and dangerous to use, even if you know what you’re doing.
On the bright side, you can stare at your pretty weather widget while your phone is participating in a DDOS attack on some random web server as part of a global botnet, all in the background that you’ll never know about, or sending your personal data via premium text messages to random numbers around the world.
There are plenty of other options that are high quality and secure. Android is not either. It was just free for the manufacturer to install, and has a lot of features the average user would never even use, think of, or care about.