Android devices come in all shapes and sizes, with vastly different performance levels and a massive number of screen sizes and display capabilities.
In addition, there are many different Android versions currently in the wild, adding even more levels of fragmentation. Developing apps that work across the whole spectrum of Android devices and operating system versions can be horrifically challenging and time-consuming. For this reason, beyond the fact that Apple iOS users are proven to be better educated and richer, many developers treat Android as a second thought, releasing inferior, dumbed-down ports later, if at all.
Despite the significant drawbacks that the growing fragmentation issue presents to Android – or “fragmandroid,” if you will – Google’s latest TV commercial attempts to turn a negative into a positive using stock footage of animals and a cutesy song. The ad is actually incredibly representative of the mess that is the Google Android zoo: myriad devices, running many different forked operating systems, each one with its own UI “skin” and none of which share a common enough language for seamlessly communicating with each other as Apple’s iOS device and OS X-powered Macs do so well via Continuity and Handoff.
Unlike the incoherent and uncommunicative world of fragmandroid, Apple users can start writing an email on their iPhones and pick up where they left off on their Macs. Or browse the web on their Macs and continue from the same link on their iPads. It all simply happens automatically with Apple devices. Apple iPhone, iPad, and Mac owners use Handoff with favorite apps like Mail, Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar, and Contacts. And iOS and OS X developers can and do build Handoff right into their apps as well.
In fact, unlike, say an orangutan and a dog, Apple’s iOS and OS X devices communicate so well that Apple product users can make and receive phone calls on their Mac, iPad, or iPhone. Incoming calls on Mac and iPad show the caller’s name, number, and profile picture and users just click or swipe the notification to answer, ignore, or talk. Of course, making phone calls from iPad or Mac is just as easy – users simply tap or click a phone number in Contacts, Calendar, or Safari. Plus, it all works with your existing iPhone number, so there’s nothing to set up.
Another useful thing for Apple users is that, if you’re out of Wi-Fi range, your iPad or Mac can automatically connect to your phone’s personal hotspot when your iPhone is close by. Using Apple’s Instant Hotspot feature, Mac and iPad users see the name of their iPhone in the list of Wi-Fi networks in Settings on their iPad and in the Wi-Fi menu on their Mac. They simply select it and, that’s it, they’re connected. And when they’re not using their phone’s network, their Apple devices intelligently disconnect to save battery life.
This is the sort of thing Google’s fragmandroid will never be able to deliver. Still struggling even to get to 64-bits, which Apple has been delivering for quite some time, Android devices —— that use an off-the-shelf handset OS skinned in myriad, inconsistent, developer-vexing ways, slapped onto off-the-shelf processors stuck into an endless array of dead-end devices that are doomed to never be upgraded —— will never seamlessly communicate with each other like Apple’s iOS and OS X devices already do with aplomb.
Yes, it’s true: Compared to Apple’s operating systems, Android will always be as efficient, streamlined, and communicative as a gopher riding a turtle.
Now, for your entertainment, please enjoy Google’s ad celebrating one of Android’s most debilitating disadvantages:
Aw, so cuuuuute!
SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, former web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section who also basically called the iPhone over five years before Steve Jobs unveiled it.
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