iPhones vs Androids: Personalization vs Optimization

What's new in 4.1? It started Android on a path towards optimization that may rival iOS very soon.

One of the major benefits of Android smartphones is that they are completely customizable. Don't like the keyboard on your phone? Download a new one. Don't like your home screen? Add new widgets, folders, live wallpapers, custom skins, and more. For the tech savvy among us, Android phones also allow you to edit the core functions of the device (details of which you can find at xda-developers.com among other sites).

Being an owner of the Nexus 7, I do enjoy how Android lets you edit the layout of your device however you see fit. Apple products such as the iPhone, are much less flexible, and the extent of your personalization is basically the image you choose as your wallpaper and whatever case you decide to get. That is not necessarily a bad thing for some people, as the simplicity of this system allows iOS to be as smooth and efficient as it is.

For example, though my Nexus 7 is set up exactly how I want to to be, it is often hampered by screen lag due to the widgets I've chosen to place on my home screen. Additionally, things like live wallpapers, while awesome, create a noticeable detrimental effect on performance when browsing the web and navigating the device in general.

Still, it is nice to have the option to customize to your hearts content. In a few years, when hardware on tablets and phones is exponentially faster than it is now, I believe that Androids will be able to benefit more from the numerous personalization options it offers by taking advantage of this new technology.

In the present day though, having both a Nexus 7 and an iPhone 4S, I have to say I prefer Apple's methodology. I will take a smooth, hassle-free operating system over a less reliable one that allows more customization any day. That being said, Android will definitely have the upper hand if they can find a way to get the same amount of personalization while also providing the user with a smooth experience comparable to iOS 6. Android 4.1 is a great start, but there are still a few hitches, mentioned above, that hamper the experience when compared to iOS devices.

Whoever wins the mobile operating system war will be the one who can hit that sweet spot of a consistently smooth and user friendly interface while also having numerous personalization options. For the time being, Android and iOS both seem to be lacking enough in optimization and personalization respectively that it is impossible to declare a clear winner on this front.