Tech Brief

Tech Brief

Just how important is your smartphone? As it turns it many place a hefty value of importance on their smartphones. In a recent study by the Pew Research Center it was found that 64% of U.S. adults own a smartphone. Of that nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults, almost half (46%) said they could not live without their smartphone (Anderson). With numbers like that shouldn’t you make sure your getting the right device for you?

Let’s start off with a brief overview of the history of how the modern smart phones came to be. In 1993 IBM’s Simon was the first smart phone having several features including being a PDA, pager, mobile phone, and fax machine. In 2001 Nokia released their 9000-series, the first to feature a colored screen. In 2002 the Sony Ericsson P800 was the first phone to include a camera. In 2004 Research in Motion’s BlackBerry added the ability to send and receive emails. In 2007 Apple’s Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone – the first fully touch screen phone on the market. In 2008 the first Android phone – the G1, is released with a sliding keyboard and limited touch screen abilities. In. 2009 the Motorola Droid added a host of features such as proximity sensors, an accelerometer, digital magnetometer, LED notifications and more. In 2010 Android has its first full touch screen device in the Samsung Galaxy S series (Mukherjee). The iPhone and Galaxy S models take off becoming larger and adding more new innovative features each year for the top spot as the “best” smartphone. Now that you know who to thank for all of those features that we have come to expect as part of our smartphones, let’s take a look at which is the best choice for you.

The first choice in what device is right for you should be the operating system (or OS). The two most prominent operating systems are Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Let’s start off with their respective market shares worldwide and in the U.S. and how they have grown over the years. Worldwide, in the beginning of 2009 iOS held a respectable 10.5% of all smartphone device operating systems. By the end of 2015 it had risen to 17.7%. Android on the other hand, which began in 2009 with a mere 1.6%, now at the end of 2015 has grown to be the operating system on 80.7% of all smartphone devices (Pew Research Center). In the U.S. at the end of 2015 it was reported that 46.7% of smartphones were Android users and 42.9% were iOS users, with the remaining made up of Windows, BlackBerry, and other less well known OS (comScore). Just because so many others have chosen to go with Android does not mean its necessarily right for you. That said let us look at some of the finer differences between the two.

Android is often credited with have the apps with more functionality. Apps such as TrueCaller, Smart Spends, and Walnut either do not work as well or do not work at all on iOS due to the difference in capabilities of the OS. Further, Android continues to have cheaper prices on phones and accessories. In most cases the prices of Android phones, originally priced to match Apple’s products, quickly fall to rates as much as half of what a new Apple device costs. This saving of money continues to the accessories such chargers and some phone cases. While an Android charge costs between $10-15 on average Apple’s chargers run between $20-25. Android has a number of new and innovative features such as double-sided displays, curved screens, and wireless charging. Google and Android apps go hand in hand working seamlessly together. Android makes it money through the selling of ads. Android has deep roots in its ability to be customized. From the home and lock screens, to the font, to the way icons swirl on and off when you change between your home screens (Naravane).

Apple’s iOS is credited with timely OS updates and support for older devices. Due to the way Android roles out its new OS it causes a wide variety of different Android OS to be running simultaneously. iOS on the other hand updates everyone to keep them on the same page making it easier for developers to update and release new content for apps and the like. iOS also has a number of its own innovative features including Retina display, fingerprint scanning, and 3d Touch-toting. iOS has a number of apps that are considered to look better and more diversified than Android’s google play apps. Apple tends to have less ads due its primary income being the upfront cost of the device and the apps it sells. Apple has less customization options and is thus quicker and easier to set up. Due to this lack of customization to the OS, intolerance for apps from outside the App Store, and third party installers Apple is considered to be more harden and have better security – unless you jailbreak it to pick up some of Android’s fun features (Naravane).

There are many differences and similarities between Android and iOS. They have over the last several years, and will continue to, push the boundaries of our imagination with the newest and greatest features of their own as well as play catch up with adding one another’s newest features. In recent years it has also become relativity easier to switch from iOS to Android and vice versa. The next important item to look at is the device itself.

While there are numerous manufacturers for Android we will be looking at two of the top in the U.S. (Samsung and LG) as well as Apple, iOS’ only manufacturer. According to comScore at the end of 2015 it was reported that 42.9% of smartphones were Apple devices, 28.4% were Samsung devices, 9.9% were LG devices, and the remaining was made up of Motorola, HTC, and other lesser known manufacturers (comScore). Now let us take a look at each manufacturers latest and greatest.

Apple’s newest, the iPhone 6 series, has a five separate products the iPhone 6, 6S, 6 plus, 6S plus, and 6 SE. All come in silver and space gray. The S and SE versions also come in gold and rose gold. The S and SE versions come with the latest A9 chip, 3D touch, ultrafast LTE Advanced wireless capabilities, and a 12MP iSight camera. The standard 6 and 6 Plus come with an A8 chip, Touch ID, ultrafast LTE wireless, and an 8MP camera. All are available in 16GB and 64GB and the S versions also come in 128GB. The SE comes with a 4-inch (diagonal) screen, the 6 and 6S come with a 4.7-inch screen and the plus versions come with a 5.5-inch screen. The 6, 6S, and SE have 326 pixels per inch (or ppi) and the plus versions have 401 ppi. The SE is 4.87×2.31×0.30 inches and weighs 3.99 ounces. The 6 and 6S are 5.44×2.64×0.27 inches and weigh 4.55 and 5.04 ounces respectively. The plus versions are 6.22×3.06×0.28 inches and weigh 6.07 and 6.77 ounces respectively. The 6, SE, and 6s have up to 14 hours talk time and 10 days standby time while the plus versions have up to 24 hours talk time and 16 days standby time (Apple). In summary if you want just the basic phone get the iPhone 6. If you want something that fits a little larger in your hands get the plus, cutting edge features get the 6S, and if you want it all get the 6S plus.

Samsung’s Galaxy S7 series has two choices, the S7 or the S7 edge. Both come in dark grey and gold. The edge has a silver color as well. Both are also available with 32GB or 64GB storage with an expandable microSD card slot for up to 200GB additional storage, 4GB RAM, contain a Samsung Exynos 8890 processor, have a 5 MP front facing 12 MP rear facing camera. The S7 has a 5.1-inch display with 577 ppi while the S7 edge has a 5.5-inch display with 534 ppi. The dimensions of the S7 are 142.4×69.6×7.9mm and weighs 152 grams while the S7 edge is 150.9×72.6×7.7mm and weighs in at 157 grams. Lastly the S7 has a 3000 mAh built in battery while the S7 edge has a 3600 mAh built in battery (Grothaus). In summary if you want a larger screen and battery and don’t mind paying a little bit extra than go with the S7 edge. If you want a smaller screen, want to save a little bit of money, or do not care about the edge features, then your best off going with the S7.

Lastly we have LG’s G5. The G5 has a 5.3-inch screen with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad core processor. It has 4GB RAM, 32 GB storage with the ability to add up to 200GB via microSD card slot. There are 16 MP and 8 MP rear facing camera and an 8 MP front facing camera. The G5’s dimensions are 149x74x7.7mm and weighs in at 159g (Goodwin).

Each of these phones have their own benefits and each has their own draw backs. If you are looking for features go with the Galaxy S7 or the iPhone 6S plus. If you want the cheaper or smaller phones go with the LG G5, Galaxy S7 or the iPhone 6. The G5 and Galaxy S7 series have a few differences – primarily in the slightly better camera and the removable battery pack in G5 but ultimately are close in the rest of their respective specifications.

Works Cited

Anderson, Monica. “6 Facts about Americans and Their Smartphones.” Pew Research Center RSS. Fact Tank, 01 Apr. 2015. Web. 29 Apr. 2016

Apple. “IPhone – Compare Models.” Apple, 2016. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

ComScore. “ComScore Reports December 2015 U.S. Smartphone Subscriber Market Share.” ComScore, 4 Feb. 2016. Web. 8 Apr. 2016.

Gartner. “Global Market Share Held by the Leading Smartphone Operating Systems in Sales to End Users from 1st Quarter 2009 to 4th Quarter 2015.” Gartner, Feb. 2016. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.

Goodwin, Richard. “LG G5 Review: The Most Interesting Phone of 2016 So Far.” Know Your Mobile. Know Your Mobile, 3 May 2016. Web. 5 May 2016.

Grothaus, Michael. “Samsung Galaxy S7 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 EDGE: Is Life Better With An Edge?” Know Your Mobile. Know Your Mobile, 4 May 2016. Web. 5 May 2016.

Mukherjee, Sangeeta. “Smartphone Evolution: From IBM Simon To Samsung Galaxy S3.” International Business Times. International Business Times, 08 May 2012. Web. 5 May 2016.

Naravane, Rohan. “IOS or Android, Which One Should You Pick?” NDTV Gadgets 360, 25 Sept. 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2016.

James Caughey (c)

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