By: Dr. Michael Kerr

Steve Jobs sure cried a lot.

If you’ve just joined us, I’m writing about switching from an iPhone to Android from a Physicians perspective.

This is the third in the series. We’ve covered the initial thoughts here and the hardware here.

Smartphone choice is a very personal decision. In a recent fictitious poll, 74% of users were more likely to light fires, wave pitchforks, and gnash teeth when discussing their favorite phone operating system than debating religion. I’d urge you to read the entire article before posting comments.

So what on earth does this have to do with Steve’s excitable tear ducts? Well, by chance, I happen to be reading his autobiography, which isn’t a bad book if you’re on the lookout for something to do. One of the striking things conveyed in the book is how often Steve apparently cried. Not over justifiable circumstances–such as running out of bacon–but seemingly mundane things. This is, of course, nothing more than a segue into another theme that is detailed in the book–how the duopoly emerged between Apple and Microsoft.

Forgive me if I’ve misinterpreted history here. The book describes how in the early days of operating systems, two of the big players were Apple and Microsoft. Apple took Xerox’s ideas/software and made a GUI (graphical user interface) for their first range of personal computers. This is where things like a virtual desktop, icons, folders, and windows started. Windows brought out a similar interpretation, namely Windows 1.0. By all accounts, it was inferior, uglier, and less user friendly.

In the beginning, Apple had the market share and the sales. However, over time Microsoft clawed back, becoming the OS giant that it is now. In the author’s opinion, this was partly achieved through continuous improvements and persistence. With each revision, stepwise improvements were achieved.

I think we’re starting to see a similar pattern in the smartphone arena. Apple redefined smart phones with the iPhone. When Google released Android, it was worse than the comparative Windows 1.0. Since the initial release, however, they’ve continuously refined, improved, and updated.

As it stands now, in my opinion, the Android experience is on par with iOS. As a testament to this, I’ve had a very hard time deciding which I think is the “best” and which I wanted to keep as my daily smartphone. They’re not exact equals. Some things I like more about iOS, and some things I like more about Android.

In making my decision, I felt the most vital areas were related to the hardware, software, and ecosystem. We’ve already looked at the hardware, so let’s go into the others in more detail.

Software

This was the numero uno reason I’d avoided other smartphone platforms in the past. The availability and quality disparity between the Apple app store and Google’s play store used to be massive. Apps were either simply unavailable, or the equivalent looked like it was designed by someone in grade school using MS paint.

The scope has changed considerably. The difference between the two is now negligible, except for medical software. I thought we could illustrate this, literally, with some comparison charts looking at availability and cost.

I made a list of my essential apps I use on a day to day basis. Obviously this will vary between individuals, and probably isn’t quite broad enough to extrapolate to the entire medical app genre. I compared the availability between iOS and Android, as well as the price. Surprisingly, it’s very similar these days.

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If you’d like to know more about any of the apps, most of them have been reviewed by the iMedicalApps team. Otherwise drop me a question through Twitter.

Of the two that aren’t available, I dearly miss TapForms and Traumapedia. There are a few alternatives to TapForms, though not as good. Sadly, there’s nothing quite able to fill the niche of Traumapedia that I’ve yet discovered.

I’ve compared the prices for the available apps, and overall they’re quite similar. Sorry for using British pounds, I’m overseas at the moment.

Despite the reassuring number of green things in the comparison above, I couldn’t help shake the feeling that iOS still is the go to ecosystem for medical apps. There is absolutely NO app that I’ve found myself wanting exclusively available to Android. Developers are still using Apple as their first choice of platform.

As an Android user looking at the 2012 most innovative medical apps list here, you’re pretty much out of luck.

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So it seems that although the big medical apps are now universal, innovation and new apps are still breaking through via the iTunes market more so than on the Google Play store. This is the single biggest negative that I’ve found from making the switch.