Samsung’s newest phone, the Galaxy S6, is without question one of the best phones you can buy.
I’ve tested several Samsung phones over the years, and the Galaxy S6 is the company’s biggest leap forward in design and hardware. It has the best camera, the best screen, and it looks and feels nice thanks to its metal and glass construction.
But there’s still one thing holding me back from recommending the Galaxy S6 over the iPhone, and it’s not entirely Samsung’s fault.
The problem is Android.
To be clear, Android is a great operating system, and I enjoy using it. It can do everything iOS can do and then some. But the problem with Android is the app ecosystem that surrounds it. Android may have all the top apps you want, but those apps tend to be uglier and buggier than their iPhone counterparts.
Why? The biggest reason is because developers still prefer to offer their best apps and new features on the iPhone before bringing them over to Android. When a new app launches, such as Twitter’s live streaming app Periscope, it almost always starts on the iPhone before moving to Android.
Android may run on 80% or more of the world’s smartphones, but developers still make more money on iOS, so they tend to put their best work on the iPhone. That trend is shifting slightly, but it will take more time.
This chart from BI Intelligence sums it up nicely (even though Google Play is rising, Apple App Store is much bigger):
In short, developers go where the money is. As a result, you get the best apps and features on iPhone, not Android.
Whenever I test a new Android phone, it’s always a jarring experience to see how much worse the apps are compared to their iOS counterparts. Even major companies with tons of cash like Facebook and Twitter treat Android like a second-rate operating system. I recently tested an Android phone from the Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi and could barely get Twitter to function.
It’s great that Android is capable of running on a variety of hardware, but it’s a burden for developers to test their apps on every unique device. The iPhone only comes in a few variations that developers need to test.
The app ecosystem is the most important part of a phone. Apps are the gateway to most of your mobile activity, and I don’t think you should settle for anything but the best. Android is great on its own, but until developers start favouring it the same way they favour iOS, it will always rank second.
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