Probably the hottest point of contention in the Tech Insider newsroom is whether Android or iOS is the better ecosystem.
I tend to come down on team Droid. The affordability and openness of Google’s ecosystem offers huge advantages over Apple’s closed iOS. But I understand the case for iPhones: They’re reliable, always up to date, and (mostly) just work.
Ask the average iPhone user why they stick with Apple’s increasingly boring, expensive lineup though and the answer is simple: They’re used to iOS. It’s simple, beautiful, familiar, and easy to use. Trying to convince one to switch to Android is almost like trying to convince a Windows or OS X user to switch to Linux (the niche, techy PC operating system on which Android is in fact based).
But Google is on the verge of striking a major blow in the ease-of-use wars: Project Abacus, Google’s plan to do away with smartphone passwords almost entirely.
With Abacus, due to release in the next several months, Android devices will keep track of biometric markers like walking gate, typing patterns, the look of your face, your location and other things to build an up-to-the moment “trust score” — a degree of certainty that the person holding your phone is in fact you. Different apps will be able to set different trust score thresholds at which you can use them.
This plan could largely kill the lock screen, finger presses, and other obstacles built into the current every day experience of phone use. In other words, it will make the average Android much more simple and easy to use than the average iPhone.
Do I think that will be enough to unseat Apple’s throne atop the luxury phone mountain? No. But a huge majority of the world’s smartphone users already use Android devices. And as iPhones get less and less interesting compared to premium Galaxies and HTCs, Abacus is exactly the kind of standout feature that could cause buyers on the fence to flip.
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