As promised, here’s the follow up to my first post on this topic, Google, Apple or Amazon: Which Tech Ecosystem Should You Choose?, just in time for Black Friday 2011! As a short recap, I started to look at some of the issues surrounding how your various devices, and the media you purchase for them, can interact. I suggested that deciding on the type of smartphone that works best for you might be the easiest/smartest way to build a tech foundation. So here’s a look at the big three, focusing on their strengths and weaknesses, with the goal of helping you decide which might be best for you.
When you think about Google, you don’t necessarily think of devices. It’s true, most of their product line is intangible – web services for personal and business use, and of course, ads. But now that Google Music is available to everyone and Android phones/tablets are becoming more and more popular, it’s necessary to think about Google in a different way. As I said in my last post, having a free Google account is almost a given these days, especially with the potential for Google+ to add so much to your social media mix. But should you shell out your hard earned cash for Google-powered devices?
I think that Android phones and tablets are best for people who aren’t heavily invested in Apple technology already and don’t really want to be (check out my post on Android vs. iOS for more on this). They are versatile and highly customizable, unlike most Apple products. And they work totally seamlessly with your Google accounts, which can’t exactly be said for Apple (although it is quite close). They are also good if you’re on a budget and can’t justify springing for Apple’s higher prices, which is totally understandable and an important part of any tech buying decision.
Also, Google-run devices can be quite powerful, but there’s a trade-off for all that muscle: lower battery life. Depending on how frequently you use your Android device and what you use it for, you might find yourself charging it seemingly all the time. So, all that being said – the important thing to note is that you don’t need an Android-powered device to use the vast bulk of cool Google products.
I’m going to try desperately not to be a fanboy here, but please forgive any lapses in objectivity. I think that in terms of overall value and quality of product, Apple is going to come out on top every time. Why do I think this? Isn’t there ample evidence that Apple products have fairly serious issues sometimes? Isn’t it a pain how Apple makes it nearly impossible to upgrade or perform maintenance on their products yourself, always relying on their overpriced tech support services? I hear you loud and clear, and have been very frustrated by my inability to just pop out and pop in a new battery for my old iPod, for example. But hear me out.
Apple products are intentionally designed to play extremely well with one another within the Apple ecosystem. Unlike with Android, you’re not going to have (for very long anyway) the sort of issues that I talked about in my post on Android vs. iOS, where one update knocked out a very critical hardware component on my Droid. Yes, Apple software updates aren’t perfect, but at least you know that all your devices will be able to play all the media you might purchase through iTunes, so you don’t have to do elaborate workarounds. Plus, you get the advantage of still being able to use your Google account and its great features, only on better, more efficient hardware and software.
And now iCloud simplifies everything, really, storing and syncing all your content in the cloud between Apple devices. It’s kinda like logging in to your Google account on everything…except you don’t have to (but can if you want!). It’s all already there. Again, all Apple products are specifically designed to work with every other Apple product, unlike Android, which manifests itself on a variety of hardware manufactured by a variety of companies. So if you have the funds, want the best hardware out there, and love the Apple approach to software, make life easy on yourself and go all-Apple. I doubt you’ll regret it.
Before this post gets any longer, I’m going to save Amazon and an overall wrapup for a third and final post in this series. Comments are welcome on what I’ve said so far. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!