Apple iOS 4 vs. Android 2.2: Which is Better for Business and Professional Users?

Submitted by lalit on July 22, 2010 - 4:27pm.

Apple has the crown of best smartphone operating system for past few years, but Android has been gaining strength. And the latest Android 2.2 release is fast becoming a default iPhone alternative. To find out which one was better for business and professional users InfoWorld Test Center compared capabilities of both the mobile OSes related to professional users.

InfoWorld used Nexus One running Android 2.2 and iPod touch running iOS4 for testing. The capabilities they compared included email, calendars, contacts, applications, web/Internet, location support, user interface, security and management. The results of those tests were as follows:

Email, Calendars and Contacts: The winner iOS 4, by a wide margin. The difference between the two operating systems is a classic case of the specs not telling the whole story. iOS 4 has a much more intuitive interface that makes using e-mail, contacts, and calendars far easier than on Android OS 2.2, and overall it has more capabilities. When it comes to corporate usage, Android simply fails the requirements of most organizations. The TouchDown app can work around much of this gap, but at the price of poor integration with the rest of the device.

Applications: The winner iOS 4, but not by much. Its app catalog is large, but mainly as a function of its installed user base. The Android Market is slower than the Apple App Store, and the UI for managing and working with apps is clunkier in Android than in iOS 4 -- a common theme in Android. But most users will quickly adjust to each operating system's approach.

Web and Internet: iOS 4 is the winner, by a whisker, thanks to its easier UI and its ability to copy graphics. I can't yet credit Android for Flash Player support, given it's a beta product not included in the operating system, and I have reservations over its slow performance.

Location support: A tie.

User Interface: The winner is iOS 4, by a mile. Android's poor text-handling features are inexcusable. People used to regular cell phones, BlackBerrys, and Palm OS devices will be thrilled with Android OS 2.2's UI; certainly, the friends and colleagues I showed Android to felt that way. But if you're familiar with the iOS or even Mac OS X, the Android UI will feel clunky and a bit awkward, as if you were being forced to use Windows or Linux.

Security and management: It's not even close. Of the two, only iOS 4 can meet corporate security and manageability requirements. Small businesses and independent contractors can probably get away with using Android OS 2.2 -- if they keep a tight rein on their servers, passwords, and so on.

Overall: There's no question which is the better mobile OS: iOS 4 beats Android OS 2.2 in almost every category.

Galen Gruman wrote at the end “In the United States, the flawed AT&T 3G network continues to give users a reason to want an alternative to iOS, thanks to the carrier's lock on Apple, and that fact just adds fuel to the Android fire. Android's momentum with users and the support from developers and device makers alike give it a real opportunity to catch up to iOS at some point. No other would-be iPhone-killer can make that claim today.”

The fact is 70% of all Android handsets are sold in US. In other countries were iPhone is available on multiple carriers it is crushing Android handsets, even though there are only two iPhone models compared to about 50-70 Android handsets from various cellphone makers. Apple should bring iPhone to other carriers in US also.

The article on InfoWorld has more detailed comparison of each feature and it is a must read to get a clear idea of differences between the two operating systems.