A Week Without an iPhone: Day4

I didn’t get a chance to write on Day 3, but click here for Day 2.

Today’s post is going to be all about basic apps on the phones.

For basic apps, I wanted to go through some of the ones that most people would be using on their phones, ones where an iOS and Android version could be compared head to head.  I went back to the most popular apps on the Android and iOS platforms to decide which apps to go over and chose:

  • Google Maps
  • Facebook
  • Angry Birds
  • Twitter
  • Whatsapp
  • Skype
  • Reddit
  • Salesforce
Google Maps
Google Maps on both the Android and the iPhone is very good.  On both platforms, it kills at finding locations and showing where you are relative to them.  That all being said, it’s ridiculously better on Android.  Not really fair here, as Google is the developer.  It’s sharper, responds faster, goes 3D, gives turn by turn, and syncs with a compass view to show which direction you’re pointing.  It’s also where Google tests out all sorts of cool features like, as of today, enabling downloadable sections of the map so that you can use it without needing data.  That downloading piece is handy if you’re going to travel somewhere you’re not covered by a data plan.  For my usage, they both do the job, but being able to jump directly to turn by turn navigation with the Android is a great option when travelling.

Facebook
I’m a basic user of Facebook.  Let me comment on or like a post, pop up pictures as I take them, and I’m a happy camper.  Either app covers me here.

Angry Birds
Identical experience on either phone, which is a testament to the developers.

Twitter
I found the official Android app to be a bit quicker to get to filtered lists and hash tag searches, two more advanced functionality I need on a regular basis in Twitter.  But since I use these features so infrequently, the two apps could be considered equals.

Whatsapp
I found the navigation of the app easier in the iPhone but on a feature level, it appears that they’re near parity.  If you’re not already using Whatsapp to replace costly MMS or text plans, or if you’re planning a trip abroad, check it out.  It’ll save you some coin.

Skype
The Android version is way behind the iPhone.  Video chat depends on hardware and firmware support.  The Android version also crashed the first time I logged in.  BUT, the Android version did a better job of background tasking it.

Reddit
Here we’ve got 2 different apps: Alien Blue on the iPhone and “Reddit is fun” on the Android.  Both are passable portals into the Reddit world, although I really like the dark background version on “Reddit is Fun”.

Salesforce
Absent in Android.  The iPhone version is a bit weird, choosing to cache odd parts and change searches on you, but at least they’ve got one.  On Android, you have to use the regular site, and it’s a bit cumbersome on a little screen.
Earlier in the year, when I was looking over the Galaxy Tab, I found that the app divide was pretty big.  Now, mid-way through 2011, we’re definitely starting to see feature parity on more big name apps.  There’s still a notable gap on Android when it comes to video calling and B-list app developers like Salesforce, but A-listers have got their apps fully sorted.
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