At the beginning of the year, I handed my Windows Phone 7 over to a co-worker and decided to try out the latest Android devices available via AT&T. I now am testing with Galaxy S from HTC.
My take on Android is that it iPhone is designed for ease of use (for most beginner users of smartphone). Even my wife can use an iPhone and likely she could use my Android but it’s a bit more technical. Which also translates to flexible? The android operating system has been the worst in 1 area in particular: connecting to older versions of Exchange Server. I assume this is part of the OS and due to its limitations; I had to move to a 20 dollar exchange email app which works great.
In general Android has lots of settings you can configure. Linux users like a lot of custom settings and advanced editing of the OS tasks. Android is a lot like Linux. It seems geared toward the right brained user.
The visual appeal of simplicity is a powerful benefit to any smartphone system. Windows Phone 7 and iPhone are both simpler for the broadest range of users. I have been using my Android now for about 2 months and I am not complaining about it except occasionally it has more time out issues. I like three buttons to move around, I also like how the iPhone navigates. Ideally, a user should be able to choose how many buttons they want to use regardless of the device buttons.
Not as advanced capabilities in the App Market especially for filtering the list of apps the way Apple does. Apple at this time seems to have the most mature application for managing “sales” of apps.
The Android feels more like open source in its approach of having “many versions” at once. There is no easy upgrade path for most devices that run these older versions of the Android OS. So as devices mature and their life becomes more like the PC of today (I know people that have not upgraded for over 5 years) and many OS updates will be expected to remain relevant.
I sort of like the notifications tab that fills up and sometimes makes me take too many steps to stop it from annoying me. Android has static icons for applications. iPhone’s use of the left icon corners and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7′s panels are a great use of design space. This is something Android does not have. It uses icons on the top bar coupled with notification alerts which is less efficient. The email program on the Android was terrible in my opinion. Web Links, phone numbers, and formatting are poorly supported in my version. I switched to Touchdown Pro which does a great job of email for Exchange Server.
Next up…which mobile OS wins this year?