What I'm about to attempt--comparing Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Apple iOS 5--is a little like tiptoeing through a minefield. Most of you won't be happy and somebody could get hurt. (Read: me.)
Yet, this comparison must be done. For one thing, Google and Apple have both recently unveiled huge changes that respectively make their mobile operating systems far more powerful, and in some ways more similar to each other. For another thing, weighing the pros and cons of each platform against the other is a scenario that's played out daily among many people who are deciding which phone to buy.
Just a few parameters before diving in. First, I'm overwhelmingly looking at software, not hardware, but I'll point out where hardware does factor in. iOS 5 runs on multiple devices, but is the most powerful right now on the iPhone 4S. Ditto Ice Cream Sandwich. The unreleased Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the one phone that can currently show off the OS update's full spectrum of features, since it was purpose-built to be compatible with them all. That will change for both operating systems as additional future devices are built with the hardware to support the new software.
Second, I'm not just talking about new additions, but trying to look at the OS in its entirety.
Third, I'm looking at what each OS can do natively. Yes, there are scores of third-party apps you can download to do just about anything to satisfy something that one OS lacks that another has, but what we're looking at here is what Apple and Google have decided to bestow, not clever external developers. And I'm not talking about anything you can achieve only by jailbreaking or rooting. Official, but optional apps created by Apple and Google are OK--like Find My Friends and Google Voice.
Third, I'm throwing in two "fun" features for each (these will be the last two). I wouldn't recommend buying an iOS 5 or Ice Cream Sandwich device solely because of them, but they're pleasantly show-offy conversation pieces unique to each platform.
Got all that? Let's go.… Read more