ANDROID OR iOS PHONE?
An argument for why Google’s operating system is the better choice for lawyers.
Attorneys often find themselves in separate camps, such as plain-tiff/defendant, civil/criminal, prose-cution/device, and, perhaps most contentiously, Android/iOS smartphone.
While Apple Inc.’s and Google Inc.’s
smartphones keep attorneys connected, each takes a sometimes idiosyncratic approach to features and capabilities, building strong user loyalties.
Both phones have changed over the
past year, prompting some to switch
camps to take advantage of improvements, such as a larger display or stronger security app. But never change
phones on a whim, because it requires
learning how to use a new device and
building a fresh app collection. What
choice is better for lawyers? Let’s examine the evidence.
» Apps are what make a smartphone
intelligent. Apple traditionally held
a substantial lead, but today Apple’s
App Store and Google Play are essentially tied. Apple offers about 800,000
apps, while Google lays claim to some
700,000 titles, but is growing at a faster
rate. Round 1: Tie.
» Screen size is a matter of mathematics: the bigger the screen, the larger
the images. The iPhone 5 features a
four-inch display, a significant improvement over the 4S’ 3.5-inch screen. But
the Samsung Galaxy S III ( 4.8-inch) and
Droid Razr M’s ( 4.3-inch) are larger.
Round 2: Winner: Android
» Interfaces: Androids use industry-standard micro-USB ports for charging,
image synchronization, etc. The iPhone
5 uses the proprietary Lightning connector. Round 3: Winner: Android.
» Text and data entry are a lawyer’s
toolbox. Apple limits users to a single,
stock keyboard. On Android, install a
third-party keyboard such as Swype or
Swift Key. Round 4: Winner: Android.
» File attachments: Lawyers want to
attach documents directly to their outgoing emails. IPhone users can send a
file from within an application or via
a third-party app, Android users can
attach a file to an email and press send.
Round 5: Winner: Android.
» Security: Both devices are vulnerable to external attacks, but in differ-
Manufacturer: AppFolio Inc.
Description: MyCase is a software-as-a-service
practice management software for lawyers that
includes calendaring, document management
and assembly, time management, legal billing and
reporting, and social media tools. The new mobile
app helps subscribers use the system on the go.
The app is compatible with Apple Inc.’s iPhone,
iPod touch, and iPad. It requires IOS 5.1 or later,
and is optimized for the latest version, iPhone 5.
Target: Solo practitioners, small, mid-sized firms.
Price: The app is free with MyCase subscription
(which costs $39 per user per month).
Download: http://at.law.com/LTN136j —S.D.
ent ways. The easiest way for Android
devices to become infected is through
app repackaging. For iPhones, OS
flaws can give attackers an exploitable
pathway to both system and user data.
Android users must be careful about
clicking on links and installing apps.
Apple users can protect their phone by
downloadingoperating system updates
as soon as they are available. Round 6:
» Copying files to/from an Android
phone is a snap: Plug the unit into a PC
or Mac, mount it as a storage device, and
drag and drop files. Moving files to/
from an iPhone is cumbersome. While
many can be transferred through i Tunes
or via iCloud, neither is flexible or pain-free. File transfer enhancement apps,
such as iTransfer or SyncPod, can ease
the hassle, but still don’t make file management simple and straightforward.
Round 7: Winner: Android.
Overall winner: Android.
What’s Next? The rumor mill speculates that the next iPhone might include
Near-Field Communication support for
mobile payments (already an Android
feature); a note-writing screen (ditto);
and a fingerprint security scanner. Some
also predict that Apple may introduce a
line of larger and smaller iPhones.
Because many different manufacturers produce Android phones, speculation mostly focuses on OS updates.
According to various reports, the next
major Android release, code name “Key
Lime Pie” (aka Android 5), may include
enhanced social networking support,
improved performance, better video-chat options, and Google Babble unified messaging support.
—Freelance writer John Edwards
is based in Arizona. Email: jedwards@