Breakdown: Android 2.3 vs iOS 5 for iPhone

When it comes to rivalries in technology, Apple and Android may be relatively new to the ring, but that doesn’t mean the two don’t make for some of the most interesting headlines in the industry. Well today, the next round of the mobile-tech fight is about to kick off. Apple has announced iOS 5 and all the new features that come with it. How do those features compare to what Android already offers? Are there any big advantages of one OS over another? Let’s take a look.

Notifications

iOS users have been asking for a new notification system for a long time now. In iOS 5, users will be able to see notifications from the lockscreen, as well as from the Notification Center. What is the Notification Center you ask? It’s a pull down window accessible from the status bar at the top of the screen that houses all of your ongoing and incoming notifications. Instead of those little blue pop-ups in iOS 4, iOS 5′s notifications will appear in the status bar.

The Android way: In case you couldn’t tell from the description above, the new notification system in iOS is nearly identical to Android’s. Of course Apple has put their own graphical spin on the system, but overall it’s very familiar.

NewsStand

NewsStand is rather difficult to to form any new comparisons around between iOS and Android, because essentially, it’s an enhanced version of iBooks but for newspapers and magazines.

The Android way: Android has plenty of options for consuming written material, from nook to Google Books, with a plethora of apps between. Look for Google to come out with something that more closely rivals NewsStand sometime in the future.

Twitter

Twitter integration with iOS is something that was recently rumored, that should make for a solid social experience. The big news with Twitter and iOS is that you will sign into Twitter from the main menu, and all apps will use that single sign in for any communications with Twitter related apps. For example, sign in in the main menu, send photos and links through the camera app and browser with that username.

The Android way: You’ve always been able to use Twitter with any app on Android through the commonly found “share” function. The Android way simply let’s you choose which Twitter app to use.

Safari

The new Safari for iOS includes several changes like tabbed browsing, a “reader” function, and a “reading list”. Tabbed browsing is self-explanatory, reader mode formats webpages to be easier to read (think big blocks of text), and the reading list is a bookmarked list of articles that you can save for later reading (it also syncs across devices).

The Android way: Multiple windows in the Android browser have been available from the beginning, but real tabbed browsing has yet to make an appearance. The reader function in iOS is a no show as well. It will be interesting to see how Google handles these features.

Reminders

In the amount of time I’ve spent with iOS, I’ve never seen any shortage in GTD (getting things done) apps, but apparently Apple wants to take it to the system level. Announced today, there will be a new reminders service in iOS 5 that syncs across devices.

The Android way: Our very own John Walton has spent quite a bit of time finding the best of the best when it comes to GTD apps on Android, and there are certainly some great ones out there. Syncing, web-support, different UIs; Android’s got ‘em all.

Camera

According to camera statistics out there, the iPhone camera is among the most popular on the planet. So how will Apple change it up to make it better? First off, they are making picture taking times quicker. You’ll also have access to the camera from the lockscreen; there’s been changes to the focusing and zooming functions; there is now built in picture editing in iOS; and you can use the volume up button to activate the shutter.

The Android way: The camera on the iPhone is difficult to compare to Android as a whole, since there are so many out there. Extremely fast picture taking has just debuted on the Sensation 4G from HTC, and there are several devices being manufactured right now that have a dedicated camera key. If you’re looking for picture editing, give PicSay Pro a shot, you won’t regret it.

Mail

The mail application for iOS is one aspect of OS that has always seemed behind compared to others. Available in iOS 5, users will find a ton of changes that will attempt to make your mail experience smoother: flaging, pre-formatted messages, better search capabilities, draggable addresses, enhanced security for enterprise users, and a built-in system wide dictionary.

The Android way: If you use GMail, there is no better mobile mail experience than on Android. Unless Apple was to simply copy over every aspect of GMail on Android, it just wouldn’t cut it.

PC Free

Yet another long-awaited feature for iOS comes in the form of “PC Free”. From iOS forward, users won’t need to connect to iTunes to use their devices. iOS will utilize wireless connections for everything from iTunes, to OTA updates.

The Android way: Wireless sync has been around for Android for quite some time. Music, pictures, updates; you name it.

Game Center

If you are a big gamer on iOS, you’re sure to appreciate the changes made to Apple’s Game Center which include photos for friends, turn based game support at a system level, recommended friends, and recommended games.

The Android way: Unfortunately, Android has a ways to go before catching up to the gaming department on iOS. Open Feint and the Amazon Appstore have been a big help, but the platform is still rather lacking.

iMessage

Of all the new features and functions coming to iOS 5, iMessage, in my mind, is the biggest. If you took BlackBerry Messenger, and and put an Apple spin on it, you’d get iMessage. It’s a messaging app the works over your data connection, and can communicate with any iDevice, allowing you to send messages and pictures. It also enables real time updates, showing you when a recipient has received a message, read a message, and is typing, along with the ability to sync across devices.

The Android way: Android has a wide selection of data messaging apps, including Google Voice. When BBM is made available on other platforms, it will be exciting to see how the standard in messaging apps fares against iMessage and Google Voice.

So that’s it for the top ten new features that will be added to iOS, and how they compare to Android 2.3, Gingerbread. As you can see, Apple likes to do things themselves, while Android gives you lots of options and lets users handle it in their own way. When it comes to which platform you choose, it really adds up to personal preference.

There is one important thing I should mention, before I go, that definitely puts a new spin on this list: iOS 5 won’t be available until this fall. By then, Ice Cream Sandwich will be out, and the game could be entirely different. The complete feature set for ICS is still a mystery, but we do know one thing: for mobile competition, this fall is going to be great.

Pictures via This is my next

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