Shocker! Is Android easier to use than the iPhone?

iPhone versus Android. iPhone versus Android. It's the great battle of the 2010's, up there with Tyson vs Holyfield, capitalism vs communism and the Beatles versus the Rolling Stones. Or something.

Anyway, it's big, and the traditional understanding of the merits of the two systems goes like this: Android is powerful, flexible and good for 'power users', while iOS is simple, intuitive and better for non-geeks. And the perceptions of the operating systems themselves follow on to the apps available for them: iOS apps simple, Android apps powerful.

But what if, in fact, Android apps are easier to use than iOS apps? That'd put the cat among the pigeons, as old people (and old boybands) say.

Well, a team of professional usability testers (ah, 21st Century careers) did some tests... OMG it's totes true! As CNET reports:

The analysis was conducted by Jacob Creech from IntuitionHQ.com, who works with usability testing and experience design, after he read some disparaging comments about Android. Though he has more experience with Apple iOS devices, he set about devising tests to see which mobile operating system was easier to use and which people preferred.

Including both A/B testing, where a user was presented with an app from either Android or iOS but not both, and preference testing that shows the same app on both platforms side by side, several pieces of software available on both platforms were compared. These included Twitter, Google Translate, Soundhound, Pandora, the official Geocaching app and Facebook.

While not an exhaustive study -- it didn't include standard phone functions, for example, just apps -- it did throw up some interesting results. Some apps are significantly different in layout and styling from one OS to the other. Both accuracy and time taken to perform an action were recorded. Some actions took significantly longer to perform on iOS (inexplicably long in some cases), though a significant proportion of people preferred the way those apps looked.

iPhone apps look pretty but are really inefficient and slow, it seems. And a thousand Android fanboys nod their heads...

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