Smart operators, but which phone has the best software of them all?
Android Jelly Bean, Windows Phone 8 or iOS6? Getting the software right is critical for smartphones
The smartphone market has become a battleground in recent years as Google, Apple and Microsoft go head to head to win over consumers.
Apple has managed to carve out a niche for itself with the iPhone, but it’s a constant battle against the rising tide of Android handsets, which has put Google’s platform at the top of the smartphone market.
A major factor in success in the smartphone market is getting the software right. All three platforms have had updates lately: Apple rolled out iOS6 in September ahead of the iPhone 5 launch; Android Jelly Bean is available on newer Google- powered handsets, and is being slowly made available to existing customers with certain phones; and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 was unveiled a couple of weeks ago.
So how do they compare? We looked at the strengths and weaknesses of each platform to see how they stack up.
Each of the smartphone platforms takes a different approach to how users interact with the systems. With Apple, you know what you’re getting, regardless of what version of the iPhone you’re using. The iOS interface doesn’t vary much in aesthetic terms, although it has been tweaked over the years to add things like a notification centre.
The options for customisation are fairly limited. Sure, you can change the lock screen and the wallpaper but, with the exception of a few accessibility options, there is little you can do with iOS to make your own mark on it.
It’s a grid of apps, and the only significant change in recent years has been the addition of folder apps. If you open iOS 6 on an iPhone 4S and an iPhone 5, the only major difference you’re likely to see is the extra row of apps that the latest handset’s larger screen allows.
At the other end of the scale, you have Android, which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Each has its own way to display the basic Android icons, and there are different widgets to allow access to certain functions on the phone.
Google’s own handsets have Google Experience overlaid on the basic Android software. Samsung has Touchwiz; HTC has Sense. Each gives the interface something unique and distinct.
That’s both an advantage and a drawback. While the phones can look very different, a poor interface can slow up the phone and make it practically unusable.
Windows Phone 8 has more or less the same features from phone to phone, but it not only has the dynamic live tiles of its predecessor, it also now lets users choose the size of the tiles on the start screen. Colour themes can be customised too.
Winner:Draw. Each system has its strengths and weaknesses here.
Each of the phones has its own way of dealing with instant messaging, SMS and even video chats. Apple has iMessage, which can be used only between other iOS devices and the messaging app on Macs. The latest version of iOS brought in the ability to use FaceTime over 3G, a function that had previously been reserved for wifi only. Facebook and Twitter are now integrated too, so you can tweet and update your Facebook page from within iOS.