We love both Android and iOS, but the open nature of Andorid just means it can do things others just can’t. Here are our favourite Android apps and features that you won’t find on its Apple-clad brethren.
A note on flame wars: We love iOS, and obviously it has many of its own things going for it. This post isn’t meant to flame or troll the iPhone; it’s more of a “If you’ve decided to go Android, make sure you’re taking advantage of these awesome exclusive features, since they’re part of what makes Android great” post. Please keep the flame wars to a minimum in the comments.
10. Alternative Keyboards
From text predictors like Swiftkey to the innovative ideas like Swype and the downright adventurous like 8pen, you have a lot of different keyboard choices on Android. Typing on a tiny phone keyboard isn’t anyone’s idea of fun, so it’s great that Android provides so many options to make it as painless for people as possible, and super-easy to install. The iPhone has other keyboards, but they’re usually separate apps that require you to import text to another program—it’s just the kind of system-level functionality that’s hard to get around.
8. Custom Home Launchers
6. Removable Storage and Battery
5. Wireless App Installation
4. Custom ROMs
While there are a lot of third-party apps that give you advanced features on Android, one of the coolest parts about the entire OS being open source is that people can take it, tweak it all over, and install their version instead of the one that comes with your phone. Whether it’s the feature-filled CyanogenMod or the interface-overhauling MIUI ROM, there’s little limit to how much you can tweak your Android experience. As with launchers, these give you a lot of system-level tweaks that you just wouldn’t be able to get this easily on other platforms—and it puts them easily within users’ reach. Whether it’s tweaks that speed up your phone or features like FM radio, custom ROMs are without a doubt one of the biggest advantages to Android’s openness around.
3. Controlling Your Phone From Your Computer
1. True App Integration
We do love the iPhone here at Lifehacker, but we also love tweaking and hacking our phones into oblivion, and Android just does it better than any other platform. These are just a few of the many tweaks you can make to an Android phone, but they’re certainly some of the most special. Got any of your own favourites that weren’t featured? Be sure to share them in the comments below.