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Tips for Students: Android vs iOS – The vastly different approaches of the two dominant mobile platforms

Highlights from Expert Series

The following article shares highlights and insights from one of our Expert Series events, which are exclusive for Young Scholars and their parents.

Summary

The topic we covered was an analysis of Android and iOS, the two dominant mobile operating systems today. The companies behind these two platforms, Google and Apple, are very different in their incentives and resulting approach to product development. However, despite being so different, they share the ownership of an enormous, thriving technology platform. The mobile operating system is one of the most successful and impactful developments in the history of computing, effecting billions of people and hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Understanding the history of how Android and iOS came to be is important to understand how these platforms will evolve, and what platforms may come next.

Top Highlights

– Google makes money from advertising on top of their apps and services that are used by billions of people. Google develops their mobile operating system, Android, as an open source project that anyone can view or modify. Android phones are produced by partners such as Samsung or HTC, whose products are not controlled by Google.

– Apple makes money from selling high-margin products which are used by fewer people. Apple has much tighter control over the software and hardware experience, and is very secretive about the development of their operating system (iOS).

– The breadth and depth of usage of smartphones is unlike any technology we’ve seen in history. Almost 4 billion people use a smartphone, and the average user checks their phone 63 times/day.

– Android and iOS are both huge platforms which bring together consumers (phone users) and producers (app developers). Currently, mobile developers have to duplicate their work to make their app work on Android (apps written in Java or Kotlin) and iOS (apps written in Objective C or Swift). It will be interesting to see how the ecosystem develops and whether there will be a push to invest in cross platform technologies.

Things Students Can Do to Explore App Development Further

– Work with mobile app developers who build Android or iPhone apps, and ask them about what they like or don’t like about their job. I’m happy to connect!

– Connect with someone who works at one of the platform companies, Google or Apple.

– Start learning more about Computer Science and programming by building something. Khan Academy has many resources available, along with YouTube.

Resources

I make tutorials focused on Android development. I’m happy to help anyone interested in getting started: https://www.youtube.com/rpandey1234 

Authored by: Rahul Pandey
Bio: Rahul is an Android tech lead at Facebook in California. When he’s not working, he spends most of his time teaching. He creates tech + programming videos on his YouTube and teaches the Android class at Stanford University. Rahul fell into the world of tech and Silicon Valley when he joined Stanford University as an undergrad in 2009. He hopes to inspire students through technology and guide them towards success in computer science.

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