We spend a lot of time for our clients working on and thinking about mobile apps. Inevitably, they’ll ask about the difference between Apple’s iOS platform and Android. The quick and overly simplified answer is that while they are both excellent in many respects, iOS is more mature and therefore has worked out some of the kinks that Android has still to get through. But what does that mean?
Take a moment and think about the word “market.” If you want an Android app you now go to the Android Market – sounds good, right – a different take on Apple’s App Store that lives within the confines of the iTunes “superstore,” perhaps? Someday, maybe, but not right now.
Because the App Store only features products that meet Apple’s development standards, users can be assured that whatever they download has, to some degree at least, been vetted by the team in Cupertino. While the idea of this closed system is philosophically off-putting to some developers, no one can argue that the end result is a “market” with a wide selection of “products” that will do more or less as advertised. Long ago Apple decided to sacrifice some of the open-source vibe of the web in favor of a tremendous user experience (assuming you hold the gadget correctly – sorry, couldn’t resist that little jab.)
Now imagine you’ve wandered in to the Android Market. Along with some really great products on the shelves there are others that don’t look so hot. Where the Apple App store was neat and tidy, displaying more apps than you could ever want, or need, the Android Market looks a little under whelming. Random developers wander in and put their homemade products on the shelves. Because there is no streamlined, single operating system for Android as there is for Apple, the developers can’t be sure that the apps they just stocked in the market will work properly for everyone. And to make matters worse, when Android gets its latest operating system many of the products that did work, may not after the “upgrade.”
The bottom line is that – right now – we have a great deal of confidence when it comes to iOS apps and less so for Android. We’re certain that Android will soon live up to its potential, and that its Market will be a thriving place for all sorts of amazing apps. Until then, however, we’ll continue to view Android with cautious optimism rather than outright enthusiasm.