The urge to compare is possibly hardwired in our brain. And when it comes to technology, we like to do it wholeheartedly, with complete sincerity and earnestness. There’s so much going on in the tech world that comparative debates break out at the slightest innovation.
In search of unicity, we like to argue why a certain product is better than its peers or how it stacks up against the others in the league. We are only human – same, yet with different opinions!
2019 saw Apple introducing iOS 13 and Google introducing Android Q. So, as app developers, here we are with all our human instincts, comparing the two OS that are now in beta.
Top Android Q Features in Detail
1. Foldable Phone Support
What’s a phone without its mobile operating systems? Shards of plastic, metal, and glass perhaps? It is the software that makes your device functional.
But, there’s no stopping technology; it only keeps getting better, more sophisticated. If the devices are upped, the software needs revamping, too.
Google recognized it early enough with Samsung announcing potential foldable phones in the future and hinting at the untapped potential of mobile devices. Also, because other OEMs have jumped onto the bandwagon, the tech giant is all set to welcome innovation.
Support for large screens and foldable UI is one of the best features Android Q has. This could also be the leeway to the development of dynamic, resizable apps that function in multi-window mode and new aspect ratios with minimum 2 inches of touch target size.
Also, with a better multi-window functionality, content sharing is going to get a whole new meaning.
To complement the multi-window functionality, Android Q has brought forth the multi-resume feature, which will allow two or more apps to run simultaneously, without pausing. Yes, there were the split-screen, freeform and picture-in-picture modes earlier.
But, the only app to be in the resumed state was the one in focus. All other activities in plain sight were paused.
While instructions for multi-window were provided by Google, app developers hardly followed the recommendations. As a result, apps in the paused state crashed, stopped or refused updates. This was a major drawback, which has now been corrected.
With Android Q, an upgraded PiP mode and Split Screen will be available, which will allow apps in the background to function normally while users focus on the primary app. Samsung already has a ‘MultiStar’ module in Good Lock for this. Other devices are working on bringing similar native support.
3. Vulkan Graphics API
This one is pure developer stuff. Android Q might use Vulkan Graphics API for UI rendering. These are cross-platform 3D graphics API that deliver fantastic user experience.
Way back during the times of Android Oreo, Google had tinkered on a hardware-accelerated OpenGL backend to the Skia Graphics Engine, which saw daylight in Android P.
It’s a good thing the tech giant hasn’t stopped there and plans to implement Vulkan instead. This was confirmed by a Google engineer when he commented on the open source Chromium Gerrit, referring to a bug report on the implementation of Vulkan Graphics API for Google Chrome on Android.
4. GSIs for Treble Support
In 2019, Google will leverage Project Treble to support more smartphones. Android Q beta is presently available for all three generations of Pixel smartphones.
Along with this, Google has also released generic system images (GSIs) that would enable all smartphones (Pixel and non-Pixel) that are Project Treble-compatible to flash Android Q.
Such compatibility is believed to enable faster system updates. This apart, app developers will also be able to flash multiple ROMs effortlessly on the same device without performing data erasure or unlocking phone bootloader. This would help them test new Android versions quickly and with efficacy.
Project Treble was announced with the launch of Android Oreo. Since then, it has been popular with OEMs who could use it to modularize Android and quickly push out software.
As of now, Google has toned down what Treble requires by bringing in CTS-on-GSI (Compatibility Test Suite on Generic System Image) tests and implementing VNDK (Vendor Native Development Kit). As such, smartphone makers should consider making their new devices Treble-compatible.
5. Bubbles and Seamless Notification
This one is the latest preview feature that enables users to smoothly multi-task from anywhere on a compatible device. An alternative to System Alert Window, Bubbles are currently enabled in the Q developer previews for users. But, eventually, they will be available for developer experimentation only.
An opt-out feature, they are believed to bring a massive change in the notification settings of Android phones. Because Bubbles are an integral part of the notification system, they remain afloat on top of app content and can be expanded or collapsed as required.
They also appear as any other normal notification even when the phone is locked. The best part? – The Bubbles follow users as they navigate!
With Bubbles, we can look forward to seamless notification access. Yes, notifications in Android Q won’t fade away until they are slid left to open an app or slid right to dismiss altogether.
6. Pixel Presence
Up until now, Smart Locks were only for Pixel devices. With Android Q, this feature will be available in all Android devices, whatsoever, with a rebranded tag of ‘Pixel Presence.’ Smart Lock functionality enables frictionless and speedy unlocking when the devices…
- Come in contact with the user’s body.
- Are placed in a trusted location.
- Connect to a Bluetooth device they recognize.
- Are able to identify the user’s face and voice.
7. Screen Recorder and Playback Capture
This one is a pretty refreshing addition. Android Q enables its users to record videos of what’s going on in their screens. Additionally, they will be able to utilize a voice-over functionality to speak while they record.
This apart, Android Q comes with a new AudioPlaybackCapture API, which will allow users to capture the audio playing in applications. This one is analogous to the screen recorder feature and has no effect on the latency of the app where the audio is being played.
8. Sharing Improvements
Sharing is caring and Android Q understands it well. Its new sharing features simplify the way media items are shared between users. The Sharing Shortcuts API has replaced the Direct Share APIs to deliver a hassle-free experience to Android users. Of course, Direct Share would still work, but with a lower priority.
This new feature lets applications set direct share targets well in advance instead of reactively retrieving results on request. These share targets would remain in the system until the app is updated or uninstalled.
Also, users would be able to switch from one app to another to share media files, thus avoiding the multiple steps that were otherwise unavoidable.
9. Fully Gestural Navigation
The half-baked gesture navigation of Android Pie is here again, this time, fully polished. Much like Bubbles, this is also an opt-out feature. If you don’t want it, you can go for the traditional two-button or three-button navigation.
When you are using fully gestural navigation, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen to go Home and swipe left or right to return.
Likewise, you can open the Notification Screen by swiping down, open the App Drawer by swiping up from mid screen, and switch apps by swiping up from the bottom, holding and then releasing. Thus, with this feature…
- There’s no home and back button anymore.
- Swipes are the end all and be all.
To prepare for fully gestural navigation, app developers need to follow these two approaches:
- Extension of edge-to-edge app content.
- Handling of conflicting app gestures.
10. Dark Theme
This is presently the talk of the OS town! There’s a new systemwide Dark Theme in Android Q, which the Android system UI as well as all first-party apps, menus, buttons, fonts, notification panels, and pop-ups on the device can have.
It makes the UI more appealing and easy on the eyes. This apart, it is also laden with benefits, which are as follows:
- It can significantly lower power consumption based on the screen technology of the device.
- Users who can’t stand bright light or suffer low vision can enjoy better visibility.
- The device can be easily used in a low-light environment.
Dark Theme can be enabled in Android Q by following three ways:
- Setting -> Display -> Theme -> Select Dark Theme
- Once enabled, the Dark Theme can be selected from the notification tray via the Quick Setting tile.
- Battery Saver mode in Pixel phones enables Dark Theme.
To create applications that support Dark Theme, developers need to prompt the app’s theme in res/values/styles.xml to inherit from DayNight theme.
style name="AppTheme" parent="Theme.AppCompat.DayNight">
Alternatively, dark theming of MaterialComponents can be utilized for the same.
<style name="AppTheme" parent="Theme.MaterialComponents.DayNight">
Read also: How to Design Dark Mode for Your Mobile Apps Effectively
Top iOS 13 Features in Detail
1. Overhauled Photos App
Apple has raised the bar for photo and video editing on the go! With iOS 13, the Photos app gets an overhaul, allowing users to curate their entire photo library while highlighting time, day, month, and year.
This powerful photo editing tool further showcases a user-friendly interface with multiple new functionalities that can dismiss camera roll clutter, simplify organizing and browsing, and fine-tune photos using noise reduction, highlight, brilliance, shadows, contrast, and sharpness. With it, photo editing has turned more comprehensive, intuitive, and intelligent.
iOS 13 is also great news for videographers who can now add filters, crop, and rotate footages on the device for the first time ever! In short, the latest iOS has opened up newer possibilities of creativity and control in the field of photo and video editing.
2. Sign-in With Apple
With the all new Sign-in With Apple it is now easy for users to log into third-party websites and apps without compromising on data safety. This feature makes use of your existing Apple ID to authenticate the login via Touch or Face ID and using a single-use randomized email id.
Read also: Step by Step Process of Integrating the Touch ID and Face ID in iPhone Apps
In a way, Apple dismisses the need to fill out forms, set up passwords, and verify email ids just to access such apps and websites. As a result, users can enjoy lower time to engagement with all the safety.
The Sign-in Feature is further complemented with a new anti-fraud feature, which makes sure real users access accounts and not bots. Thus, Apple discourages users from sharing their addresses with the same app time and again, thus upping its attempts to uphold privacy.
3. Location Data Limits
New location services controls have been introduced in iOS 13 to limit data sharing with applications. Users will now get more choices regarding the way they want to share location data with apps.
This would include a brand new one-time location option using which users will give access to apps to view location just one time.
Also, Apple will notify when apps running in the background use location data. This is a sincere attempt to protect user’s privacy and acts as an additional barrier alongside the Sign-in With Apple feature.
The all-new Maps experience is awe-inspiring and it is crystal clear Apple literally went that extra mile to make sure it’s done to perfection. The tech giant actually drove 4 million miles so the base-map can be rebuild from ground up.
Thus, there’s a lot more pedestrian information, precise addresses, greater landcover and broader road coverage!
What’s most attractive in Apple’s revamped Maps is a new Look Around feature, which offers high-resolution street-level imagery of the highest standards with transitions that are seamless.
Also, another feature called Collections lets users suggest their favorite destinations and places to hang out. There’s even a feature called Favorites which enables smooth navigation across frequent destinations with a simple tap.
5. Reminders with a New Look
Apple Reminders is now more intelligent! It can suggest new ways to create reminders and edit, organize and keep track of them, too.
It comes with a quick toolbar enables users to add time, date, location, attachments and flags with ease. Reminders feature has been deeply integrated with Messages, thus making it easy to tag other users.
This is a welcome revamp considering how complicated it was for users to make use of Reminders earlier. The interface it now easy-to-use with reminder lists and smart filtering options.
6. Siri with a New Voice
Siri’s new voice now sounds more organic and less robotic. Additionally, Suggested Automations are now supported by Siri Shortcuts so users can create personalized shortcuts anytime. This apart, Siri is all up for Live Radio support tuned in to iHeartRadio, radio.com, and TuneIn.
It can further read incoming messages with AirPods the moment they arrive from any messaging app that’s SiriKit-enabled. Along with this, it also comes with a speech recognition technology which makes Voice Control more accurate and powerful.
To add to that, Apple is planning to set up an Indian English Voice support for its India users.
7. Find My
Apple Find My allows users to find their devices even when they aren’t connected to the Internet. In iOS 13, the new Find My will be a merger of two apps – Find My Friends and Find My iPhone.
In other words, users would be able to trace their phones as well as friends using the same app and even when offline.
8. Memoji and Animoji
Apple users now have this special permission to search for emojis of their choice. But, that’s not all. Users can further create customized Memoji on compatible devices (think hairstyles, makeup, headwear, accessories and piercings).
Hold on, that’s not the end! There are Animojis as well – three of them to be precise – a cow, a mouse and an octopus. These are soon to be seen in Apple Messages.
With QuickPath, typing text on iOS 13 is now easy breezy. A new feature called Swipe Typing enables one-hand typing in which you can swipe through letters to form a word.
In this first ever attempt, Apple has cast aside the need to rely on third-party apps that feature this functionality. Needless to say, it’s heading toward a monopoly market.
10. Dark Mode
Like in Android, the Dark Mode in Apple, too, offers a wonderful, dramatic look – a reason why every developer and user is going gaga over both.
It works systemwide as well as at native application levels to deliver a viewing experience that’s absolutely amazing. Photos and text content now appear with a dark backdrop that’s easy on the eyes.
Dark Mode has been introduced with a view to saving on battery consumption, killing the glare and saving the eyes especially in low-light environments. It can be manually activated and scheduled, too.
The focus is on optimizing phone performance and ease of use in the dark. Apple Dark Mode is presently available to third-party app developers so they can create apps that complement the theme.
Let’s see the infographic : The Comparison Between iOS 13 & Android Q
War of the OSes: Battle Reports
1. Focus on Privacy
With iOS 13, Apple seems to be consumed by privacy concerns, which is a good thing. There’s a feature in iOS 13 that lets users automatically silence calls from unknown people. Android doesn’t have it at the native level yet.
Again, unlike Google, Apple is not reliant on user data. Features like Sign-in With Apple and Location Data Limits make sure Apple stays true to its commitment to privacy and protects user identity.
No matter how hard Google tries to deliver greater control in Android Q, Apple is the sheer winner here!
2. Focus on Performance Optimization
Yes, we are discussing Dark Theme/Mode here. Google introduced it, but Apple did it better.
Let’s analyze it in this way: Google Dark Theme is easier to enable and simpler than Apple Dark Mode. However, from the design point of view, Apple has done a better job with the aesthetics and readability.
The gray colors in iOS 13 are perfectly balanced and just right. Also, Dark Mode in Apple can be applied seamlessly across all native apps whereas in Android Q, this not the case.
In fact, there are times when Dark Mode needs to be reactivated in Android devices, which definitely is some extra work. Therefore, Apple is a winner, here too.
3. Focus on Voice Assistance
Siri was the first ever voice assistant in the market. Its updates are awesome. But, Google Assistant steals the show here. They are not even comparable. Siri is still robotic, somewhat, while Google Assistant sounds natural.
Most of all, Google Assistant is extremely good with deciphering commands and matching search results while Apple still lags behind. Without a doubt, the award goes to Google!
4. Focus on Maps
Google’s Street View is Apple’s Look Around. That’s old wine in a new bottle. Whatever Apple offers, Google’s already been there, done that. The latter’s addresses are more precise and street views in 3D.
Users are even allowed to view the interiors of some buildings and explore underwater! No matter how much Apple travels around to create the base-map, it still needs to perk up Maps. One more point for Google!
5. Focus on Photo and Video Capabilities
Google’s Photos for Android is a treasure trove of an app. It’s jam-packed with amazing features, including cool editing tools, provision for backup, convenience of photo sharing without breaking a sweat, and finding people and things that have been tagged automatically. It even gets a Screen Recorder to capture videos of screen activities.
Likewise, Apple’s revamped Photos app in iOS 13 also comes with a range of incredible editing tools. The software also gets a new video capturing capability of rotating footages.
Still and all, Apple lags behind in functionalities like easy sharing and storage. It’s free storage space is only 5GB compared to Google’s 15GB. So, once again, Google wins!
6. Focus on Messaging
QuickPath in Apple is the new kid, but Swipe Typing in Android has been for ages. However, Apple Messages comes with its own cloud sync so users can retain all text messages while migrating to a new Apple device. Android lacks this facility big time.
Yet again, Apple Messages has been updated with Dark Mode and Memoji. Google’s still hug back.
Lastly, iOS 13 and Android Q, both enable search feature in their respective messaging apps. But, iOS goes that extra mile to suggest what users could possibly be
looking for. This saves time and makes the process more convenient. Google doesn’t do it. Here, Apple gains the palm!
7. Focus on Remote Location Tracking
Android Q misses out on the perks of the Find My feature of iOS 13. The latter enables looking for devices and people without Internet connectivity.
This one is going to make Android users jealous for sure. Apple makes a clean sweep yet again.
8. Focus on Real-Time Reports
Google has ‘Digital Wellbeing’ and Apple has ‘Screen Time’ to let users know about their digital habits and disconnects in real-time, whenever they want.
Using these features users can keep a track of how much time they spend on their screens and set limits for the same. They can even block apps and keep away notifications when they want a break from their devices.
The only difference is, Apple lets users block out apps category-wise while Google still has to work on doing this at a native level. Thus, Apple comes out on top with this last factor.
So, Who’s The Winner?
Clearly, it’s Apple iOS 13!
Looking ahead, both the operating systems brought about some stellar features that are going to redefine the future of mobile devices. At the heart of all this lies the right dosage of innovation, security concerns and convenience.
Keeping that in mind, app developers must now shift their attention to building applications that agree to this radical shake-up.
Are you ready?