We’ve seen what a strong developer following has done for both Apple iOS and Google Android; it both promotes/protects the future of its existence and it makes the operating systems resilient to our fast paced technological society. Most importantly, it helps us realize that one company does not make a product great – and that it’s only as great as the innovative pioneers that join their bandwagon. Though iOS 5 incorporates a wide variety of features, can we really consider them all new?

The one feature in iOS 5 I’ve found most amazing thus far has been Siri Voice Integration. And frankly at this point in time, any other voice interpretation service is left in the dust. With Siri, there is no “pre-defined” way of requesting a task, it simply understands. Pre-iOS 5, Android dominated iOS in voice commands from the very intuitive Vlingo application to the pre-installed Voice Search and Google Car Home applications. Apple’s innovation through Siri’s “fuzzy logic” will make Android stronger – and soon I’m sure.

Unfortunately, this appears to be the only new material that iOS 5 has really brought to the table. iMessage allows iOS 5  users to message one another over their carriers network or WiFi, a feature Google Talk has had since its first debut on the T-Mobile G1 – the first Android device. Yes, its great to include an application such as iMessage, but I can’t see it fairing well against modern SMS texting, Facebook Messenger, or even Google Voice for iOS.

Newsstand is a new application in iOS that collects one’s magazine subscriptions from the App Store. Is this really a new feature? If I buy a subscription from Nook for Android isn’t it doing essentially the same thing? Advertising relatively old functionality in technology as brand new seems silly to me. Along the same lines, “Reminders” was also introduced; a helpful tool that can be compared to Android’s Google Calendar and Jorte. Both released well before even the iPhone 4.

Yes, iOS 5 integrates Twitter right into the OS. This is a great feature, but can also be accomplished through a simple download of the official Twitter app or TweetCaster in the Android Market. When Apple introduced the App Store, they knew relying on developers to produce amazing programs would be a great success. In iOS 5 it seems they are trying to rely less on these third-party applications and tie their functionality straight into their own pre-installed software. What happens when a crafty developer pushes an amazing app to the App Store that tops Apple’s standards? In the end, users will always choose what works best. This is the ideology that the Android OS has built its empire upon.

And don’t forget, we will be live in Hong Kong, China for the Google/Samsung unveiling of the newest device to run Android Ice Cream Sandwich. Stay tuned-in 10PM EST on October 19th!

  • Maff Mace

    Speaktoit (speak to it), been around a while, you can talk normally to it to do various tasks and ask it questions
    (“what am I doing today?”
    “what’s the weather like?”
    “play songs by Green Day”
    “how are you?”
    “where is my nearest petrol station?”
    “send an email to (name), subject hello, message this is the message of the email”
    “tell my friends that I am in Leeds” etc etc)

  • Anonymous

    Based on this example here, I can also say that iOS 5 functionality has always existed on iOS as well…the thing isn’t in downloading third party applications…it’s in OS integration…where you don’t have to add stuff that slows down your experience…iOS 5 actually makes it faster! so what you get is a very fast and capable experience out of the box…that’s what iOS is…then comes the feature list… its all about optimization!

  • Thank you for the auspicious writeup 

  • Jeff Cleveland

    @fforblack, this is not a rhetorical question, but I am curious if after you get an iphone, with functionality out of the box so to speak, does the iphone user then go to the app store to get other apps and then when compared to an android device that goes to android market and pulls down all of the apps to attempt to mirror or better the iphones accoutrements, are you saying that the iphone then has more functionality in it’s apps than an android device can have? Or, are you simply saying that you don’t have to download functional starter apps with an iphone? Or, something else entirely?

    PS: I compose this post using the android voice recognition application. Full disclosure, I did have to go back and edit a couple of words but boy this is really nice.

    • Anonymous

      The point with integration is that since all of these features are integrated into the OS, the performance is just better…that’s the point…anyone can download stacks of third party applications that “take their phone to the next level”…that was the whole thing of, “There’s an app for that”…but that doesn’t fly anymore…the operating systems now have to be faster, and less resource consuming…listing third party apps that do something that a software update does doesn’t mean anything because iOS 4 can also do exactly this…in fact, every one of these features and a lot more can be accomplished with third party apps…the whole point of this is integration…this is why this article is either a way of helping the envious or the moans of a hater…

      • Anonymous

        no, its the otherway around, the more useless service you “bundle” into the OS, the more bloated and slugish it becomes. Just look at Windows and what it has become.

      • Anonymous

        Sorry…I forgot to mention opimization… A key characteristic of iOS 5…

      • @fforblack does intergration means a process will still exist on the OS for the app to run. Same as if the app had to be downloaded. therefore, it’s using system resource even when you don’t want it to. So intergration is not alway what people want.

      • Anonymous

        That’s true…but that happens with every software update to everything. If all you want is a resource manager heavily dependent on third party applications for anything, then you end up with quite a mess on your hands…a device should be able to perform some specific tasks out of the box and some. I’m pretty sure that each of the features in every new OS release can be performed by third party applications(something the intelligent author of this article isn’t aware of). If that was the case, then any iDevice is significantly more powerful than any android device simply because iOS has more developer support…does that make any sense? NO! Developer support isn’t everything about a platform(it destroys or supports it though). There’s other things, polish, customisation, speed, stability, efficiency, manufacturer support(future updates) and more. I understand that this is a fanboy site, but people should really try to let go of these heavily tinted glasses…

  • Roger Moum

    I notice most of the people are using the: it’s integrated into the OS so its alot smoother. Yes i can understand this argument, but however you are still letting Apple decide for you what’s “best” to use, if not and you download something else from appstore you are back to square 1 except you also have more bloat on your device you don’t use. On pure Android we don’t have many OS installed apps, just a few key apps that are essentiel to get started so to speak, cause Android knows you are gonna download what YOU like the best anyway, and with so many users noone can say: hey, this app is best to use for this on this phone, that is all up to the user and his/her expectations of each app. iOS will NEVER meet my expectations off neither apps or the OS the way they lock down their devices and force users to use their product how they see best.

  • Omar O’Hara

    What does the PC Free app do on Android, and why can’t I find it on the App Market?

    • PC Free is for iOS. It allows them to sync their files without using a wire.

    • Sam Koutroulakis

      PC Free is actually a term Apple uses, not an actual application; meaning that a PC is not required to sync with your iPhone/iPad. Android has been “PC Free” from its initial release.

      • Omar O’Hara

        Ah, the penguin icon probably should have been an android icon then. Just confused the hell out of me. I went to the market looking for that app.

  • Jesse Newton

    since downloading extra software qualifies as “functionality already existed” I feel I must point out that most of these apps have also been available for the iphone for a while. the key difference is that they are now part of the OS, rather than separate apps.

    • It’s different, iOS can’t be extended with an app the same way android can be. For example, on iOS you can’t just install a T9 keyboard from the store to have a T9 keyboard.
      This is the same issue with twitter. If you install twitter or facebook or whatever on android, you ALSO get the share option (share to twitter, share to facebook, share to whatever) in any app that support sharing (e.g. any picture browsing app). On iOS, this is impossible.

      • Jesse Newton

         That is true, but this article isn’t about that. it’s about iOS functionality that already existed on android, with the help of apps. while neglecting to mention that iOS could also do it, with apps.

      • Anonymous

        yes, but with very poor integration into the OS. in Android, many apps feel part of the experience as a whole, while in iOS every app lives in its own bubble. Imagine iOS5’s twitter integration but applied to anything you install: photo sharing, facebook, any twitter client… much much much much much more powerful. 

  • Impe83

    omg again another artcile where imessage is compared to gtalk.. thery are diffrent systems! #androidusersthatneverusedaniphonefail

  • Shailen10

    why dont google take apple n nokia in court about the notification bar feature used by them in thier latest release of os’s..

  • Photo is awesome btw, well done Sam!

    • Sam Koutroulakis

      Thanks man haha

  • Mike

    You obviously don’t understand iMessage. I’m not saying this as an Apple fanboy, either. I was extremely disappointed by the 4s and am anxiously awaiting the Nexus Prime to see if it’ll be my first ever Android phone. But I just updated my 3GS to iOS5, and iMessage is a pretty awesome feature. It works exactly like a text message, except that if you’re texting someone with iOS5, it sends as an iMessage, and costs you nothing. So saying that “it won’t fare well against modern SMS texting” doesn’t really make sense, because you use it exactly like a regular text, except that sometimes it’s free. I don’t know about you, but enough of my friends use iPhones that if I were to stick with an iPhone, I could eliminate unlimited text messages from my plan, due to the use of iMessage. To me, that’s a way better feature than Siri, which I can’t find myself ever using.

    • Sam Koutroulakis

      AT&T is the only carrier that currently has an option to charge “per text”. Both Sprint and Verizon include it in their data package. I did not include Google Voice as an optional alternative – but using it eliminates all texting fees as it only uses the data connection. If wanting to eliminate SMS from your device is that important, then I stand by the data messaging services Android has offered; many friends of mine do own iPhones – but not all of them. If iMessage were available on more than one OS, then it would be worth more to a much wider audience. 

      • Mike

        I’m not saying that you can use iMessage to eliminate text messages. But if you can convert a certain percentage of your texts to iMessages, you can move down a tier in text messaging. In my case, about 50-60% of my most commonly texted people have or are getting an iPhone. So that will enable me to switch from unlimited texts to a lower tier. And the best part of it is, texting them remains exactly the same. Same app, same procedure. It’s just free. I realize this is completely dependent on the individual person, but it is a pretty valuable addition to the OS, one that no other OS offers. It would be great if Android would offer something like this. For as much as some of Apple’s decisions drive me crazy, I have to hand it to them for throwing this in the faces of service providers; they couldn’t have been happy about it.

      • Chris

        iMessage is a pretty good feature IF you know people with iOS 5.  I only know 5 people in the world that own an iPhone and I text 2 of them 2-3 times a year, and I don’t know anyone else with an iPod Touch, so my iMessage app is sitting in a useless folder and will probably stay there.  It only really does anything for someone like you that has most of their contacts on Apple products.  Everyone I know has an Android or WP7 device.  I rely on texting and I’ve been loving Samsung’s new ChatON service all weekend.

      • Mike

        You’re right, iMessage is definitely only useful in certain situations. I wasn’t trying to say otherwise. And I definitely do a lot of gchatting on my phone as it is; if I switch to Android, I’m sure that will increase. The thing that is great about iMessage is that it is so seamless. There is no iMessage app. There’s just your messages; if I’m texting someone without an iPhone, it’s a text message. If they have an iPhone, it’s an iMessage. Easy as that. It’s my favorite thing about iOS5. It won’t keep me using an iPhone if ICS/Nexus Prime are as good as I hope they are, but it is a fantastic feature that is being overshadowed by Siri (which I don’t really get).

      • Zovkostanko

        They offer Gtalk which is your gchat on your phone. Pretty much everyone I know has a gmail and uses gchat since it is just built in. It does what you are talking about and has the added benefit of being able to essentially “text” someone from your computer while you are logged in to your gmail. 

        I use this exclusively with a good portion of my friends. 

        Then again Sprint includes unlimited text service with their data plan so either way…

  • And iPhone is already behind the curve with technology like NFC and LTE.

  • Dave Brewis

    This is what apple does and then states they reinvented the technology…

  • I think you have missed the Android Siri, “Voice Actions”

  • Life

    Google has always wanted to be the global information hub. NO WAY will it allow siri to take over. Let’s make no mistake siri is the most potentially dangerous piece of spyware released so far, it’s phone hacking by consent!

  • Grimyth

    If you’ve had to choose between iPhone 4S and one of many Android’s smart phones, which one will you take? Just say that I’m gonna pay for the one you’ll choose. So money is not the issue here. Will you choose Vlingo over Siri?

    • Sam Koutroulakis

      I would wait. We will be live in China reporting on Google/Samsungs next big device on the 19th!

      • Grimyth

        In my defense, the tittle said “iOS 5 Functionality HAS ALREADY EXISTED on Android”. But yes, I’m also curious about next Samsung’s smart phone after they launch ChatOn for Android

  • Akif A Ali

    Very well elaborated.

  • Eric

    I just purchased my first IPhone today and I have to say it isl insane to say that Android blows apple or IOS 5 away. I have Sprint and me last two phones were an EVO and Photon. Not bad phones by any stretch but each had issues with constant freezing, crashes, and just plane irritating behavior. I was traveling in another state when my EVO froze, stared random reboots which it would not stop, forced me to remove my battery and then had deleted four apps including the gps I was freaking using. Android is not bad and I’m not an Apple fan boy but apple works. Plain and simple, that’s why I bought one. I know no one that’s had issues with their iPhones like I and everyone have with their android phones. I’ll go back to android when the product is consistent and high quality and not just a pissing contest every two months between carriers to say who’s got one extra kb of crap that’s unproven. Until then I will enjoy my iPad 2 and my iPhone bought with the last 2 weeks that work flawlessly and together.

  • Eric

    I was typing fast so don’t get on me about the spelling. Lol

  • Anonymous

    You guys dos realize that everything in this article is bullshit right?…ICS just announced their built in photo editor…if I said something about old technology being branded as new, you could watch those angry fanboy comments stack up…the very skewed perspective is not surprising though, this is an android site…

    • If argument about features is from 3rd party apps Android already lost since the App store has more apps to eclipse Android Apps wich are often built by part time coders and generally of poorer quality and design. -end-