A year and several devices after its introduction, the Google Andorid operating system has emerged as a powerful piece in the smartphone world. Are there ways it can top the iPhone? Absolutely there are.
Unlike the iPhone, Android devices like the Nexus One by HTC (pictured here) can multitask and run background processes. And how much do we love that notifications bar? A lot.
As you'd expect from an operating system by Google, Android offers seamless integration with a variety of Google services including Gmail, Google Talk, Google Goggles, YouTube, Google Calendar, Google Maps, and Google Search. Sure, the iPhone integrates with some of these services too, but Android does it better.
Android offers more freedom with icon customization on the home screen. You can add shortcuts at will and organize related serves into folders. Widgets for Facebook, Twitter, news, and weather also surface a range of information at the top level. What's more, you you can access connectivity options like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi right on the home screen.
Though the Android Market may have fewer apps than the iTunes App Store, Google does not take a heavy hand in removing apps that it doesn't like. While Apple continues to proactively remove or deny apps for various reasons, Google offers developers much more freedom.
The basic Android browser is just as easy to use and feature-rich as the iPhone's Safari browser, particularly on those handsets that have full multitouch. Don't like the standard Android browser? Don't worry, because you also can use another option like Opera. And what about Flash Lite? You won't find that on the iPhone.
You can't swing a dead cat without hitting an iPhone user who's unhappy with AT&T. With Android, however, you can choose Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. And if you prefer AT&T, you always can choose the Motorola Backflip (not that you should).
The iPhone is a well-designed device, but you're stuck with that hardware if you want what is inside. With Android you can choose from a broad range of handsets that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. And if you prefer a real keyboard, then Android is your bet.
Android allows people to really customize and change handsets to their liking. Similarly, developers can add to the OS and enrich the larger Android community through their own design and feature enhancements. And speaking of personalization, most Android phones offer more camera editing features.