iOS vs Android vs Windows Phone vs HTML5

Antoine RJ Wright

Founder/Primary Voice, Mobile Ministry Magazine

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Abstract: This talk will compare some of the major features of the (currently) leading smartphone-oriented mobile platforms, with a focus towards detailing some of the challenges to development and implemtnation; these platforms will be comparied also against an HTML5-based web/mobile web approach.

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For further reading, I would recommend:


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Abbreviated Overview

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Definition of a Smartphone (Antoine RJ Wright)

Smartphones are mobile devices which utilize cellular and wireless software to enhance the user experience of mobile-enabled services by connecting to those services by direct ties into the operating system and hardware of the mobile device.

A history of (some) smartphone platforms and listing of these is also available at Wikipedia.

Mobile First (Luke W., book/website)

Installed Base/Replacement Rate



QR Code to Read/Write Web Article on What Google is Going to Do Next


Android can be described as an open lcensed operating aystem (if our perspective sinthanof a developer) or thwt of an open source platform (if our perspective is that of a carrier or consumer). The goal for Google with Android is to create a platfrom for collecting, organizing, and monetizing mobile-context informaiton with the same kind of energy and approach they took towards ad-monetized search.


Android's posture is to be malleable enough to be usable in nearly any consumer-facing device (a derivitive fo the past Java and Windows Mobile approaches)e. Beginning with smartphones, Android is now finding some penetration in TVs, automobiles, wearable computing devices, tablets, and health devices. its ability to be used without licesning and without complete integration of Google's other services has been a fertile ground for experimenting with platforms.


The largest challenge that anyone has when talking about Android is keeping its scale in mind. At the current time, Android is the largest deployed, and is (in some metrics) the largest installed base for smartphone platforms. From the side fo users, the largest challenges for the platform include the speed at which new devices are released, the manufacturer's support/updating policies towards those devices, sustainability, finding suitable applications (discoverability), and security within popular and upcoming applications. For developers, the challenges for Android also begin at the speed at which new devices with alternate form factors are released. Support policies implemented by carriers and manufactuers (aside from Nexus devices), and the fragementation that the speed of new device rollouts complicates the creation and support of applications. And the rise of alternate form factors splits the attention that Android developers can put towards quality products.

Future Disruptions:

Android has the most momentum towards smarpthone platforms. The disruption for Android comes if (a) carriers find that there are better ways to increase user retention and ARPU from another mobile platform, or (b) Android's versatility becomes a hindrance to manufactuers being able to create differentrated prodcts, (c) the IP costs of the platform become more than licensees want to bear and they choose a platform or platform direction they can better control, or...

Additional Resources

  • Current Installed Base: ~ 300M and growing, now #1 (Symbian #2 at just under 300M; followed by ???)


QR Code to Apple's iOS 6 page


iOS has been described as the best completely vertially integrated platform as it developed not simply from Apple's PC OSX platform, but was also able to leverage the momentum of the iTunes distribution plaftom which successfully challenged digital media distribution.


iOS is a data-centric system. Apple plays the role of the content middle-man ensuring a quality of experince that matches the attention they pay towards hardware design and retail sales. Services ans applicaitons which follow Apple's care and attention to detail leave impressions for furthering other profit-driven opportunities (for example,


The primary challenge for iOS is that its totally controlled by Apple - this is also its opportunity. The current user interface doesn't take advantage of contextual mobility (platform-level), default appllications may rely on skemorphic interfaces, while 3rd party applications are usually freer to explore purely digital approaches to UIs (user interfaces). Will companies able to utilize substantial subscriber bases(for example, Financial Times), continue to explore outside of the control and direcitons of the iTunes Apps Store? Is there a challenge to the application economy model that Apple plans to disrupt itself with?

Future Disruptions:

As with Android, iOS has pretty much entrenced itself as the platform for the majoirty consumer, and has the best posture of profitabiltiy of any mobile platform. Apple's ability to scale to pricing points beyond its current market, and to user postures/positioning in environments where its design isn't as cherished as administration, entertainment, or productivity. With iOS, Apple has mostly sought to redefine the experience space, I would expect that they will contine to refine their vision with products such as Siri, Maps, and iTunes, with an eventual move from monetizating the mobile-accessible experience to becoming the "network of choice" for the best experience in which some type of (creative, technical) computing is needed.

Additional Resources

Windows Phone

QR Code to UX Guidelines for Windows Phone from Microsoft


Windows Phone is not Windows Mobile. Windows Phone is a complete rewrite (ignoring differeences between WinPhone 7 and 8 at the moment) of Microsoft's consumer-facing, and vertical replacement, mobile platform. WinPhone is a clean break from the Windows CE core of Windows Mobile, and (initially) leveraged XAML, XLNA, and Silverlight designed around the Metro UI methodology. The aim for Windows Phone was to reposition Microsoft's mobile efforts as a spoke that is much clearer in its connection to the rest of the Microsoft services universe (Office, XBox, Exchange, etc.).


The primary, or at least leading with marketing, licensee is Nokia. Microsoft is utilizing this partnership with Nokia to drive the platform recognition into spaces where Nokia has a better name that MS, and where MS would be able to take advantage of a OEM that clearly is invested into the success of Windows Phone. Other licensees include Samsung, HTC, Huewai, ZTE, Acer, and a few others. While the media attention to Windows Phone has bordered on tolerant and/or excited, the customer (carrier) and consumer response has been much less plesant. The introduction of Windows Phone 8, another rewrite of the core (based on same core as Windows Desktop 8), is intended to relaunch the Windows Phone platform as a necessary component into a fully-immersed expereince with the Windows services universe.


Windows Phone faces signifiant challenges, despite carrier appel for the platform as an alternative to the Android/iOS hold on smartphones. However, the restrictive system requirements (relaxed some for WP8) essentially creates a situation where licensees have to rely on brand positioning and recognition as a means to move devices beyond the carrier deck. Windows Phone 8 seeks to address this and other issues (language support, OTA updates, additional serivce APIs, and support for additional screen resolutions and form factors), however the inertia of the platform has not kept up with the marketing that licensees [Nokia] or carriers [occasionally AT&T] have thrown at it.

Future Disruptions:

Windows Phone 8 is am implicit decision for MS to make little differentiation between the contexts of Windows products, while emphasizing the mobility of this platform. Essentially, its being disrupted fist by itself in this mode of advancement. Lower cost Android smartphones have already shown to be a better means to compete on the low end and this will continue to eat at potential market placements for the platform. Windows Phone does seem to be a likely candidate to become MS's next embedded platform (or even a wearable one), but its not even clear that MS is thinking in this direction. Windows Phone 7/7/5/7.8 products are essentially dead-on-arrival due to lack of upgradability to Windows Phone 8, and very lackluster market performance.

Additional Resources


QR Code to HTML5 Gallery


HTML5 is a markup language for structuring and presenting content for the World Wide Web, and is a core technology of the Internet originally proposed by Opera Software. It is the fifth revision of the HTML standard (created in 1990 and standardized as HTML4 as of 1997)

Currently, HTML5 is a DRAFT specification. No utilization of HTML5 should rely on it completely as browser makers, devices, and developers are essentially working from an incomplete spec.


While HTML5 is indeed a structured approach to creating data, its approaches are defined by how its extended within other applications, or in some settings. For example, when targeting the latest browsers which support HTML5, the approach is usally to utilize a series of JavaScript libraries to change the HTML5-specific code into a lwer-grade version of HTML which is better able to be read by the attending browser. *Personal experiments with making HTML5-based document formats.


Not a complete standard; browser support varies widely; if used for mobile applications, browser support is only existent on the latest devices, and not consistently even then

Future Disruptions:

While there is a current working document for HTML6, the W3C and other groups are pushing for a faster verification process for HTML5 given its adoption by many developers.

Additional Resources

Platform Comparison

  App Type(s) App Store(s) OSS Dev Community Monetization (type) Security Market %
Android Native, Web Yes (Play, GetJar, Amazon...); Sideloading Yes (Google, some GPL) Yes Google, In-App Purchases, Subscriptions   56
iOS Native, Web Yes (App Store) No Yes iTunes, In-App Purchases, Subs.   23
WinPhone Native Yes (Marketplace) No Yes Marketplace, In-App, Subs. ??? 1.9
HTML5 Web n/a Varies Yes/No Yes SSL, HTTPS, VPN, ... n/a

Other Platforms

QR Code to Visoion Mobile's Clash of Ecosystems Report

Why we consider other platforms is simply because at the platform level, there's not much that anyone can do. When you persue mobile on top of these platforms, you are aiming at one of three layers of the mobile experience. Based on those layers, you then have that decision of whether to build an application or website.

The Next 20 Years of Digital Minsitry by Cybermissions

- Interaction Layers

QR Code to Tomi Ahonen's AR as 8th Mass Media


Augmented Reality is the process of embedding, triggering, and interacting with digital, terterairy, and/or organic dimensions of reality at the same time - usually deriving a new sensory expereince in the process.


Wearable computing is any type of computing agent or accessory that is add to the interior or exterior of the body to augment, track, support, or extend natural abilities. Current wearable tech centers on the notifcation and "watching" aspects of experiences.


Automotive technologies, sometimes described as the "real Mobile 2.0" is the introduction of Internet cabability, a smartphone or smartphone-derived operating system, and the tracking/sharing/administration of the transport process through a vertically integrated system within an automobile orr other type of motor-led veichle.

- Media Channels

QR Code to Enspire.TV

- Installed Base

QR Code to MobiThinking Latest Mobile Stats

- Upcoming Platforms

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There is no one platform better than another if you arent considering first the problem had and the abilities/accessibility of the potential users.


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