The principle difference between the way that Google deploys its Android mobile operating system versus Apple's approach with iOS is that Google licenses Android for use on many different devices. The problem with this business model is that, although it gives consumers more options in terms of hardware, with more devices available to meet a specific customers' needs, it also makes it incredibly difficult for software developers to create apps that will work as flawlessly with one handset or tablet as they will on another.
By contrast, developers who write iOS programs can count on the fact that the operating system is only running on a handful of devices with very similar hardware specifications, which means their apps will take less time to create and make available to consumers. This contributes to a more polished experience for customers, who simply want things to work and don't want to worry about whether a particular program is going to operate smoothly on their device.
A recent article in Wired Magazine goes in depth on this subject, providing some insight into the problems that software makers face when working with both operating systems. On the one hand, Apple has very strict guidelines about what kind of apps will be sold in its App Store, which raises the barrier to entry. Google allows virtually any program to be sold and downloaded to Android devices, but the variations in screen resolution, processor speed and memory make it difficult to calibrate apps to work optimally on each piece of hardware.
"You go over to Android, and it's like, 'Geez, Louise,'" Todd McKinnon, CEO and founder of Okta, an app developer that creates login and identity solutions for IT departments. "You have, first of all, about six major versions of the platform. Then you have, beyond that, minor versions that are forks and configurations…"
The problem that McKinnon is describing is known as fragmentation. When Apple releases a new version of iOS, as it plans to do next month when iOS 7 comes out, the vast majority of users make the upgrade to the new system. For a programmer, that's a major advantage, because they can write code that takes advantage of new features knowing that virtually all customers will be able to run the program without a glitch.
The same cannot be said for devices that run Android. The latest iteration of the operating system, code named "Jelly Bean", is only being used by 37.9 percent of those who have an Android smartphone or tablet. Many other consumers are still working with older versions such as "Ice Cream Sandwich", "Honeycomb" or "Gingerbread", which means they don't have access to whatever new functions have been integrated into hardware.
These problems have major implications for customers when it comes to making a decision between purchasing an iPad 4 and iPad mini versus buying a similar Android tablet. Third party apps can make or break your user experience: If you don't find the programs available for your device as handy or fun as you thought they'd be, then there's a limit on how much you'll enjoy it. This is exactly the problem that Microsoft has had with Windows Phone 8: Because too few users are adopting handsets and tablet computers with Microsoft's mobile OS, most software makers aren't writing their apps for these devices.
Apple doesn't have this issue. People can purchase an iPhone or iPad knowing that whatever apps are available will work for the device they are buying, and if they own an Apple Mac computer, it's likely that their are syncing features with that device as well. To learn more about why Apple computers and mobile devices provide a superior user experience, visit the PortableOne online store today.