As you may know by now Apple just released the latest version of its smartphone operating system, iOS7 and some new models. Since then we have had a few clients ask us “what phone should I get?” or “what is the best smartphone?”. The quick answer is that if you use a Mac, iPad, and generally live in the Apple world stick with the iPhone. If not, buy an Android phone, but only models with the latest software.
Android Can / iPhone Can’t
If I wrote this article last year I would probably lean towards an iPhone for use in business. However Google’s upgraded Android software and a new generation of great Android smartphones have been released tipping the scale. When buying an Android phone it is very important that you get one with version 4.1.2 or greater of the operating system (the latest version is 4.3 with 4.4 around the corner). Anything older and your experience will be much different (in a bad way). So what does Android have over iPhone that will help business productivity?
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- Google Now– Google Now learns about you and your daily travels. It learns where you work and where you live. Then it tells you how long it will take you to get there (or any place you travel frequently) and when to leave. It knows your car rental, tracks your packages,and updates you on your airline airline reservation status. Most of the time it requires no input on your part. It can extract this data from your email and your environment.
- Widgets – Widgets allow you instant visibility to things such as your inbox and calendar (and much more). No need to click on an icon first to see who emailed you or to take a look at what appointments you have today. Think about how many times you check your email per day and subtract a few seconds for each time you do not have to click on an icon to see who emailed you.
- Built in USB drive – Plug your Android phone into a computer’s USB port and it shows up as another drive (like a flash drive). A quick and simple way to transfer large files, music, or anything you may need. The standard micro-USB port means you can find a connection (and a recharge) most anyplace.
- Expandable and Repairable – Need more storage, just plug in an SD Card. Battery died, just replace it. iPhone cannot do either.
- Better Sharing – With iOS your sharing options are limited (Message, Email, Twitter, Facebook). With Android you can share with any app that has sharing enabled (Microsoft and Google cloud storage, Instagram, Kindle, etc.). On top of that some of the new Android phones support NFC which allows you to touch two phones together to transfer data instantly.
- Voice Recognition – iPhones has Siri, which nobody uses. I have yet to meet an Android user that does not use the speech recognition on a daily basis. It is that good. Make appointments, get directions, ask questions, etc.
- Separate Profiles (Android 4.3 Only) – If you use your phone (or tablet) for work and business you know that sometimes mixing the two can be a headache. What you may not know is that if you sync your phone to your business network you hand over some control to your company. If you lose your phone, the one with both work information and all the pictures of your family, your IT department can erase everything (sorry family). With the latest version of Android you can have separate work and business profiles (or profiles just for your kids).
- Extensions / Sync – With Android your web browser bookmarks you use on your PC (must use the Chrome browser) are on your phone (and tablet). Use an extension such as ‘Chrome to Phone’ to send map directions from your PC to your phone and automatically launch the navigation app. Google Keep is a great quick note taking app that also syncs between all your devices. It is the little things that save you time and increase productivity.
What Phone do I Purchase?
There are lots and lots of Android based phones. Most are so-so but a few stand out above the crowd. Which one is best for you depends on personal preferences (screen size vs camera quality vs cost, etc.). The top three as of today are:
- Samsung Galaxy S3 / S4
- Motorola Droid Maxx
- HTC One
Both the iPhone and Android phones work great. iPhone is not horrible and Android isn’t a solution to everything. The constant changing nature of technology may make this article obsolete in a year. However, right now Android leads the way. Outside of the US it is by far the #1 phone type and you can ignore Blackberry and Microsoft phones (both dead ends). I hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any questions about integrating a little bit of mobility into your business please contact Wireguided anytime.