News - Android Ice Cream Sandwich versus iOS 5: Killer features.

Yet, this comparison must be done. For one thing, Google and Apple have both recently unveiled huge changes that respectively make their mobile operating systems far more powerful, and in some ways more similar to each other. For another thing, weighing the pros and cons of each platform against the other is a scenario that's played out daily among many people who are deciding which phone to buy.

Just a few parameters before diving in. First, I'm overwhelmingly looking at software, not hardware, but I'll point out where hardware does factor in. iOS 5 runs on multiple devices, but is the most powerful right now on the iPhone 4S. Ditto Ice Cream Sandwich. The unreleased Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the one phone that can currently show off the OS update's full spectrum of features, since it was purpose-built to be compatible with them all. That will change for both operating systems as additional future devices are built with the hardware to support the new software.

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Bold, powerful UI
For those who already use it, there's nothing hard about Android. Yeah, you have to know that sometimes you need to access the menu or long press for more options, and there are some extras you can get by swiping in certain places on the screen. But no other major OS can top Android's flexibility in terms of customizing the multiple home screens with stills or moving animations; widgets galore; and apps, apps, and more apps. Ice Cream Sandwich ups the ante by making widgets resizable, too.
And iOS 5?: Apple takes the opposite philosophy and opts for simplicity. There's customization in arranging apps the way you want them and in choosing which items you want in your notifications pull-down and how you take your notifications in general.

Turn-by-turn voice navigation
For many people, this is the platform's ace-in-the-hole. Broken out from maps, Google's turn-by-turn voice navigation for driving directions can effectively replace your in-car dash or GPS navigator--and possibly save you hundreds of dollars.
And iOS 5?: Integrated Google maps are great, but there's no voice readout.
Google services
After logging in with your Google account, the instant account-based access you get to Gmail, Google Maps, the contacts, the calendar, Latitude, and chat are great. I personally rely on Google Voice as well.
And iOS 5?: Gmail is integrated into iOS, you can sync the calendar as well, and Google maps are a de-facto part of the OS (minus voice navigation.) You can download Google apps from the App Store, too. The Google Voice app has a better layout for iOS, in my daily experience, but it's also slower and much less stable.

Camera tools
Ice Cream Sandwich brings on a whole lot of new photo tools, the most significant of which are the photo-editing tools in the image gallery. They include red-eye reduction, straightening, and "hipster filters," whatever those are. The camera app itself adds a useful panorama mode that seamlessly creates a landscape still.

And iOS 5?: Here's one of those places where it's hard to separate the software from the hardware because iOS 5 has great software image rendering, but photo quality also requires the image sensor and camera lens. The app itself lets you switch between the camera and camcorder modes, and between the front and rear cameras. You can adjust the flash level and turn on a grid or HDR mode, but that's about it. In the camera roll, you can create a slideshow, plus crop, rotate, remove red-eye, and auto-enhance, but from the looks of it Ice Cream Sandwich will have more features. We'll know more about those and their quality soon.