Android stalwart Damien McFerran is getting green over Apple’s latest hardware
Long time readers of Know Your Mobile will be aware that I’ve been an Android user since day one. I had the very first Android phone – the HTC Dream (or G1 as it was otherwise known) – and aside from a brief dalliance with an iPhone 3G (which I used concurrently with my first Android phone) I’ve stuck with Google through thick and thin, snapping up the Nexus One, Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 – not to mention an Xperia Play, Motorola Xoom and Nexus 7. Basically, if you cut me, I bleed red, yellow, blue and green.
With each new upgrade of the iPhone I’ve stuck to my guns, laughed off the feature-copying which is passed off as innovation by Apple and generally been the typical Android fanboy: blinkered, self-important and totally insufferable. iOS has traditionally held no appeal for me; I treasure Android’s open nature, the ability to play retro gaming emulators and the tight integration with the Google apps I rely on for work.
However, times they are a-changin’. iOS 7 – despite its initial teething issues – is more like Android than ever before, and it’s clear that the two rival operating systems are converging in terms of features, which means there’s little to choose between them. Android no longer has supremacy in terms of functionality. Couple this with the gorgeous-looking iPhone 5C and powerful iPhone 5S, and I’m starting to feel a sensation which has previously never manifested itself: jealousy.
It all started when Apple lifted the lid on its two new handsets. Yes, the 5C was a long way off being the much-hyped “budget” offering which would allow Apple to dominate the lower end of the market, but even so, it’s a lovely looking device which puts most Android phones to shame in purely aesthetic terms. Then there’s the 5S, bearing that iconic design and built to specifications that Android users can only dream of. As much as I love my Samsung Galaxy S4 with its massive screen and powerful internals, the plastic casing feels terribly cheap when compared to the sleek yet robust metal body of Apple’s challenger.
Other little things – such as the oh-so-cool fingerprint scanner which works much better than expected – are genuinely making it hard for me to sleep at night. In the mobile world, my whole belief system is built on the idea that Google is power users and Apple is for “the sheep” who tirelessly follow the latest trends but know little about what makes their phone tick. I’ve avoided Apple products my entire life, passing them off as overly expensive and depressingly locked down.
While I’ve steadfastly resisted the urge to rush out and blow my cash on one of the new iPhone models, the temptation has proven to me that at the end of the day, it’s quality which counts and not the name on the box.
The iPhone 5C and 5S are fantastically constructed pieces of technology which stir up feelings of desire in all who lay eyes on them – Google and its partners would do well to consider this fact, because what we’ve seen of the Nexus 5 so far is curiously uninspiring. It’s just a black slab, like so many other Android phones.
Android is winning the smartphone battle in terms of pure numbers and Google will be pleased that Apple didn’t release a budget option, because that would have seriously eaten into Android’s market share. However, Android phones need to become a lot sexier if they’re going to maintain that dominance, because right now I’m growing bored of ever larger screens and faster processors and have a craving for gorgeous unibody designs and more intuitive user interfaces.