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Android vs. iOS

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The battle continues

The battle rages on between Android and Apple iOS. For consumers it can be confusing to go shopping, particularly since devices today have so many similarities. Plus, Android and iOS both inspire fierce loyalty, which is why it's important to do your homework before purchasing. If you're in the market for a new smart phone, consider the following before choosing an Android or Apple's iOS.

Historical differences

In general terms, Android and iOS are operating systems and should not be confused with the smart phone or tablet itself. Most consumers do not really deal with the operating system aspect of the phone, as it is built into the device. From a historical standpoint, this is the equivalent of the long time rivalry between PC and Apple. But again, today's platforms are much more compatible, whereas in the past there was a definitive separation.

Common apps

When considering Android or iOS, keep in mind that the two systems have many apps in common. Each system has its own versions of certain apps, but some of the more popular apps for gaming, social networking and communication offer versions for both platforms. Therefore, one consideration when looking at a smart phone is whether there are particular apps you want to use that may not be available for all platforms.

Particular functions

Two examples of proprietary apps are Apple's Siri and Android's Google Now. Both are virtual assistants that can help you with a variety of tasks, from voice-activated dialing to driving directions. Other apps that may come bundled with an operating system are cameras, web browsers, maps and media-sharing software. Some consumers may not care what they use, but others are more particular.

An entire system

The operating system of your smart phone should not necessarily dictate the rest of your technology purchases, but there is certainly incentive to do so in some cases. Today's devices are much better with cross-platform compatibility, but it certainly helps to have other devices that go along with your smart phone operating system. This includes desktop computers, laptops and tablets. As consumers do more work in the "cloud," there will be an increased demand for devices that offer platform-independent communication.

Price considerations

For some people, cost is a key consideration. Overall, iOS-based devices tend to be more expensive. An example is the new iPhone 5, which starts at $199 for the 16 GB model. The iOS family of products is rarely discounted or given away when people sign up with a cellular provider. Android-based products are much more flexible, which means that new devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S III are often on the market faster than iOS-based products. This leaves room for cheaper device costs and special deals.

Shop around

Obviously people want to make the right choice when they buy a product. However, when it comes to smart-phone technology, there is the opportunity to eventually buy something new if the current device does not live up to expectations. The good thing about Android versus iOS is that both are very solid operating systems that can meet the needs of a wide variety of consumers.

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