The latest quarterly report on smartphones for the fourth quarter of 2016, released on 15 February by leading research agency Gartner, shows that Android is the most used operating system (OS) with a market share of 81.7%, globally. Apple’s iOS comes a distant second with a market share of 17.9%, despite the fact that it is considered more robust and secure than Android.
Here are some key factors which make Android more popular than iOS.
The price factor
A reliable Android smartphone capable of handling most heavy tasks and games without any stutter or heating issues is easily available for less than Rs15,000 these days. The most affordable Apple smartphone is the iPhone 5s, which is a three-year-old device running on a fairly old processor, has a modest battery backup, offers just 16GB internal storage which seems quite less now, and a small 4-inch screen. It costs Rs17,999.
Unlike iOS, one doesn’t have to spend Rs40,000 or more to buy an Android phone with a big screen or a dual camera.
The latest iPhones with storage capacity of 128GB cost more Rs70,000. Xiaomi’s Mi Max Prime offers 128GB internal storage and costs only Rs19,999. It also supports microSD cards allowing users to expand the storage to another 256GB.
Apple’s iOS is a closed ecosystem and runs only on Apple smartphones and tablets. Better software optimisation makes it more consistent but the level of customisation it allows is fairly limited. One of the charms of using an Android phone is the sheer flexibility it brings to the table. Users can change the look and feel of the phone’s user interface by applying new themes and changing app icons. Even if the phone’s default UI looks cluttered and complex, users can always make it look simpler by installing an Android launcher from the Google Play Store.
New and unique features
The presence of multiple phonemakers in the Android ecosystem has its own benefits. To outwit their rivals, many phone brands install tweaks for the Android OS to integrate new and unique features into their smartphone. HTC offers BlinkFeed, a unique news and social media posts aggregator. Micromax adds a feature called Around YU, where users can hire a cab, order food, book movie tickets and even get score updates from the same page. Chinese brands such as Xiaomi and Huawei offer options such as Blue-light filter and Reading mode to reduce the stress caused by smartphone screens on users’ eyes. Some Lenovo smartphones have a battery mode which not only closes a few apps and processes that drain more battery, but switches to a different and plain interface altogether. LeEco Le Max 2, on its part, offers a screen resolution of 2,560x1,440p on a 5.7-inch display, which is more than what you can get on any Apple smartphone.