Android or Apple? How about agnostic?

Android is criticized for its lack of apps versus iOS. But that gap is closing. Fast.

Apple, Google

Whether it's Apple or Android, a Nexus tablet or an iPad, it just isn't that big a deal anymore.

For me, that is. A couple of years ago the iPhone and iPad were easy choices. Today, Android is, well, Android. It's everywhere.

Apps: Just mentioning apps in the context of Android versus iOS can be provocative. That said, the essential apps that I need are now on both platforms.

That includes lesser-known apps like OnStar RemoteLink (for my car), AT&T U-verse, and birding apps, in addition to the usual suspects like Netflix and Skype.

My iPad 4 (top) and Nexus 10: I can use them interchangeably.
My iPad 4 (top) and Nexus 10: I can use them interchangeably. Brooke Crothers

So, I was intrigued by a release from market researcher Canalys this week that listed the most popular iPad apps under the headline "Half of top iPad apps either unavailable or not optimized on Android."

Take a look at the two lists (below) for yourself (original PDF here). It does practically nothing to sway me. More than a few of those paid apps are published by Apple (e.g., Pages, iMovie) and many others like Wheel of Fortune (both platforms) and Clash of Clans (iOS platform only) are not exactly critical.

While developers in the past have favored iOS, I don't know how true that is universally today. A recent article in The Guardian makes the case that Android fragmentation makes it more difficult for developers on that platform.

But I think it's a more complex argument now in light of the fact that Android momentum is unmistakable. Again, the upshot for me is that I get what I need from Android now.

Hardware: A quick word about hardware. Google has achieved hardware parity -- certainly on tablets. Though the first-generation Nexus 7 had issues with lag (scrolling) and frame rates, that's not the case with the second-generation Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10 (both run Android 4.3).

In fact, Google leapfrogged the iPad Mini with the newest Nexus 7 (in some respects): better screen, faster processor.

And the Nexus 10 (which I use a lot) is thinner and lighter, and the weight is distributed better than it is in the iPad 4. And the Nexus 10 is plenty fast too, with a higher-resolution screen than the iPad has.

Of course, all of this could change in the next few months when Apple rolls out iOS 7 and an expected high-resolution iPad Mini and a highly anticipated thinner, lighter iPad 5 .

But for now, I'm an agnostic.

Most popular paid iPad apps: right columns indicate availability on Android.
Most popular paid iPad apps: right columns indicate availability on Android. Canalys
Most popular free iPad apps: right columns indicate availability on Android.
Most popular free iPad apps: right columns indicate availability on Android. Canalys
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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