Comparing Android and IOS CompTIA A+

Certification: CompTIA CompTIA A+ - CompTIA A+

Everything is about smartphones nowadays. Who has the latest, coolest; highest-spec-ed mini-computer in his pocket is all the rage among his peers. Not to mention, these days, not having a smartphone is synonymous to being somewhat of an outcast in civilized society. Android, or better said Google Android, named by the company that licenses it, and Apple’s IOS are the two big names when it comes to smartphones. Comparing them has always been a hassle, and, while most people have their own favorite among the two, if asked, a technician holding a ComTIA A+ certificate is expected to know each of the phone’s features and quirks to provide a capable comparison to a costumer so he can better decide which type of smartphone he would prefer.

About the exam itself

The exam itself is made up of two tests, the CompTIA A+ 220-801 and 220-802. Certifications issued from 2011 onward are valid for three years only, but can be kept current through continued training (Continuing Education Program). The exam has a total of 90 questions, both multiple-choice and performance based. Performance-based questions are simulated problems that require the candidate to follow some steps to solve.  There is a time-limit of 90 minutes to take the exam, so each question would have a time limit of one minute, but usually the multiple-choice ones take much less time to solve than the performance-based ones. The topics range from PC software and hardware to peripheral devices, which include devices such as smartphones.

The exam has often been credited as one of the main entry-level exams that allow employment in big IT companies such as Dell, Intel, HP, most of them not even granting a candidate employee an interview if he does not have a CompTIA A+ certificate or an equivalent.

General overview of the smartphones

What exactly makes a smartphone “smart” and not just a phone? Most people have begun to attach the prefix smart to anything that has a touchpad, or touchscreen, however that is not exactly the feature that makes the phones “smart”. The term originated in 1997, with Sony Ericson’s “GS 88 Penepole”. Although more than a very bad mini-laptop than a mobile phone, it became the first device of the kind to be known as a smartphone. Later on, in 2007, with the introduction of the first Iphone, by apple, came the general distinction that smartphones were the “touchscreen phones”, and ran an operating system made especially for mobile phones.

However there were quite a lot of smartphones before IOS and Android came up in the mix, generally running an inferior operating system like Symbian, some kind of Windows Phone, or a BlackBerry OS. Truth is, smartphones have been around much more than Android and IOS, even if those two are the main definition of a smartphone today.

A typical smartphone, as defined before the touchscreen revolution, is a phone that does more than call other phones. General features of a bare-minimum smartphone were web-browsing, a music player, and some kind of PDA, a camera, and GPS navigation. Nowadays, most smartphones do more than that, actively acting as a mobile mini-computer, with most, if not all, its capabilities. Some are even actively contesting the processing power of computers only 4 years prior. Also, along with the introduction of the IOS, as said before, a smartphone became synonymous with a touchscreen. Interestingly, the older versions of the touchscreen were faulty, and would require periodical calibration to be exact; however the new ones do not have this discomfort. They also featured an accelerometer that knows which direction you are holding the smartphone in (vertically or horizontally). Newer smartphones also have a gyroscope to augment those capabilities, to detect pitch, roll and yawn. These together are used in application of some modern apps and games. It is important for a technician to know what these two features are so they can properly explain to clients the limits of the device.

Another new feature that came with the introduction of the operating systems is the user-friendly display, the swipe, touch and multi-touch commands, the customizable (somewhat customizable) backgrounds and features, and the appearance of apps and appstores.

Android vs IOS/ Google vs Apple overview

The first differences between the phones come from the marketing tactics.

Google Android:

-  is an open-source OS based on Linux;

-  is managed by a group called the Open Handset Alliance rather than Google;

-  is supported by many manufacturers

Apple IOS:

-  is based on UNIX;

-  solely controlled and managed by Apple and available only on Ipad/Iphone

-  only provide inter-apple products service communications.

These differences in marketing ideals were fundamental in the later development of the products. While Google had a “Phone OS” for everybody kind-of ideal, Apple decide to get greedier with its property. The main result being that Android phones provide a wide range of variety regarding phone manufacturers and specs while IOS just has the Iphone that continuously gets re-made and slowly upgraded. Also, it made a big impact on apps. While Android phones can download and install apps from 3rd party websites, not only Android market or Google play, while IOS apps can only be downloaded from an Apple approved array of apps on the App market.

Take me to the geek

Looking at the specs themselves, there are usually not that many differences between the latest Android phone and the latest Iphone, however sometimes the technological advantage switches sides.

The Iphone 5, for example ranges from $200 to $400, depending on capacity, runs an iOS 6, has  a Dual-core 1.3 GHz Swift (ARM v7-based) CPU, with a PowerVR SGX 543MP3 (triple-core graphics) GPU, has both a Gyro, accel, and an interior compass. And, as all iOS it uses Safary as a web browser. It boasts a 225h battery life in stand-by with up to 40h of music play.

The Google Nexus 5, on the other hand, running the Android 4.4 Kit-Kat has a Quad-core 2260 MHz, with an Adreno 330 GPU and 2 GB/RAM.  It boasts a stand-by battery life of around 300h with 17h of talk-time. The price tag for it is around $350.

However, the balance between specs and price has never been quite in favor of IOS products when looked upon objectively. Apple justifies the somewhat insane price tags of their device by saying:” Hey, it’s Apple!”, guaranteeing the same level of protection and hacking difficulty as with any other device.

While the app markets themselves have a similar number of applications and games, Apple is known for having a terrible, terrible search engine, and also requires app developers to pay an annual license to make Apps for iOS, while Google just charges a one-time payment of around $30.

Popular opinion

That being said, popular opinion is mostly one-sided. With the market share at 80% Android, and 15% iOS, Google has a sheer numbers advantage in the game. The high customizability and number of choices, along with the balanced price/specs range have pushed the green little robot as the leading force behind smartphones. Android users also say that the iOS lacks such customizability and is rather expensive, while iOS users will pretty much buy anything that has an Apple logo on it, following their love for the company. In either case, a technician should be able to respond to any question regarding smartphones.


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