Aug 20, 2012
My love affair with Android has been rekindled thanks to Jelly Bean. I have it installed on three different devices: the Nexus 7, the Motorola Xoom, and even a custom ROM on my Samsung Captivate. I find myself almost at a point where I could all but realistically dump iOS. Everything I want to do is doable on Android. Even games feel more playable on Android now thanks to the improvements of the OS and the capable hardware in the Nexus 7.
In a way, Android hardware is starting to shove Apple’s around. Right now, the iPhone 4S has 512 MB of RAM â€“ the Nexus 7 and last year’s Galaxy Nexus have 1 GB. The Galaxy S III has 2 GB. I talked to a developer recently who said that the 512 MB of RAM was starting to be a hindrance to game developers wanting to push the capabilities of mobile gaming. While a new iPhone (and likely, a new iPod touch as well) are likely to be announced in the next month or two, the RAM alone may be lacking compared to that Galaxy S III and other phones that get announced very soon. The processor capabilitye of the A5X may be beefier than some recent chips, but it’s still a few months old given the tech in the iPad 3. But there’s a good chance that the iPhone 5 won’t be the most powerful phone out there.
Software-wise, iOS 6 has useful new features, but it also seems like the OS has remained somewhat stagnant since iOS 4. Yes, the Twitter/Facebook integration is useful, the notification bar aped from Android helped as well, but the OS is really not seeming all that different. The layout of apps in folders is identical, there’s still no widgets, and multitasking is still extremely limited. Meanwhile, Google is not only bringing Jelly Bean up to the general smoothness of iOS, but Google Now is something that has the potential to be more useful on a regular basis with automatically-generated information from searches. Even just the OS is set up better to enjoy games and regular apps with Project Butter.
Given the hardware and software improvements, I can say that Android is quickly becoming something that could possibly surpass iOS. I find myself liking using my Android devices more than my iOS devices, and this is a welcome change. iOS is a good OS, and Android may still not be as casual-friendly, with more technical details revealed to the user, but it’s showing some real potential.