Apps: Android vs iOS

I keep hearing the argument that the App Store is somehow superior to the Play Store because it's got better apps. Yet, I have yet to hear anyone come up with any app that would really make me admit that that is indeed true.

There are two categories where the App Store is clearly ahead:

1. Games. This is part because the revenue is faster through direct purchases than through in-app advertisements. It also helps that there is a lot few screen sizes and phone configurations to code for. Stellar GPU doesn't hurt either.

2. Music creation. I'm not even going to develop this point because it's moot to me and to almost everyone that uses a smartphone and/or tablet.

OK, I'm not a big gamer and when I do game, I'm not fussy. I like small and quick puzzle games and there are plenty of those. I, personally, don't feel that I am missing out on some great entertainment that could be delivered through a small screen and a poor interface.

Now let me enumerate why I think Android is actually ahead of iOS when it comes to apps and not the other way round. It's called functionality. I'll just give a few examples to illustrate my point.

1. Keyboard. iOS has one keyboard that you're stuck with. Most Apple users claim that they are perfectly happy with it but when you have no choice, how can you really tell if it's bad or good if there is nothing to compare it to?

Android has just about any kind of input method that developers could think of. From cryptic ones like Messagease, to predictive ones like SwiftKey, single touch swipe based, double touch swipe, to even the iOS keyboard if you so wish so. You have choice.

2. File manager. Just consider that you can actually peruse files, move, delete, rename, at will. If you've ever owned a PC, having this as an options seems like a given. Yet, iOS does not have one.

3. Better file format support. There was a recent news about VLC being relaunched on the App Store. A player that can actually handle more than one video format. Some cynical journalists have even advised users, tongue-in-cheek, to get it before it's pulled. Android can open just about any file format that you can think of. Video, music, pictures. You don't need to waste time converting files.

4. Speaking of converting, you can actually do that with your phone. Yes, an Android device can convert files. That's just one of the benefits of having number 2 as an option.

5. Launchers. With a launcher you can change the way your phone looks and moves. You can make everything 8-bit, pink, Black & White, you can emulate Windows Mobile, iOS, Ubuntu and make everything look like anything.

Basically, the main point of Android apps revolves around choice. But there is a hidden cost to choice. Some people don't want it. They want a standardized experience. Choice and customization can be a huge time sink. And it can be a never ending quest to make your phone/tablet perfect. I can understand people that are comfortable with fewer or no choices but saying that that is the better way is a fallacy.