Google vs Apple

Arguably the two most powerful tech companies in the world, Apple and Google, have evolved over the years and have come to the point where they have developed new operating systems, killer new hardware and the newest of all, the cloud services that tie everything together. When buying products from either you have the obvious benefits and pitfalls, which we will be going over. I have decided not to include Microsoft in this article as right now they are just catching up with Apple and Google right now, but obviously they do have some of their own benefits over the other two companies

Smartphone hardware
Starting with the most used devices of modern day lives, smartphones. Apple and Google both have brilliant hardware in this category, the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S III respectively. The iPhone has revolutionised the way communicate, and Apple have done an amazing job with the latest iPhone with the retina display, the steel and glass build quality, improved sound quality, camera performance and native apps. Apple’s retina display seems to what is giving them the edge over Google and Microsoft at the moment, with a massive 326ppi it wins the pixel war by quite a mile. However, the iPhone does have its drawbacks with it dual core CPU, the 3.5in screen is starting to feel slightly small and there is also no NFC support. On the other hand, the SIII has excellent battery life, built in NFC support and a huge 1.4GHz quad core chip which gives the phone plenty of processing power. However, the SIII feels pretty cheap compared to the One X and cannot even be compared to Apple’s engineering prowess.

Smartphone OS
Now for the smartphones OS, Apple does have the advantage of being the most known system when it comes to smartphone OS’s, iOS 6. The new OS is being released sometime this fall. Apple have grabbed hold of customers by providing them with the largest apps store on any OS, it does have one of the most slick looking mobile OS out there that is really easy for customers to use, especially for customers who have no history in technology. The new Siri has expanded for the old to be able to do local search rather than just in the US. However, it does have the same old look it has for the past few years since it has been introduced. There is no NFC yet, and does not have any. Widgets of live tiles. Google’s leading smartphone OS, Android Jelly Bean 4.1 has hit the ground running and has been pretty successful so far. Unlike, iOS 6 it is available now and is ultra customisable and runs slicker than ever especially on the Nexus 7. However, we have learn that Google has a problem with OS adoption, with many phones still waiting for ice cream sandwich. Google now is probably the main thing on the OS that holds an advantage over iOS whereas iOS has a new eyes free system with support from many leading car manufactures.

Tablet hardware
The iPad is the king of tablets at the moment and features the powerful A5X chip with long battery life, good value for money; although some will argue otherwise and the unrivalled retina display. However, accessories do seem quite to be expensive but that can be expected with Apple. Some people also complain that there are too many software restrictions with many seeking to jailbreak their iOS devices. The Google Nexus 7 has been hugely successful due to its ludicrously cheap price of £160 compared to the iPad’s hefty £400. It also features android jelly bean, a quad core CPU and an HD screen. Android Beam allows you to whip data between devices at a tap of the finger.

Cloud storage
iCloud has been out for a while now and has been pretty successful with customers since its release. Photo stream allows you to sync photos between all your iDevices and Macs, also unlimited iTunes storage, and some pretty neat backup capabilities. However, it does only pride you with 5GB for free, there is no file browsing capabilities on the actual iCloud site. Interestingly developers can also utilise iCloud to store saved game data for example. Right now Google Drive is my choice of cloud storage, and with good reason. It has simple desktop integration, converts scanned documents into text, and is even available on iOS. In my opinion there are no obvious cons to Google Drive, however some people complain about the odd barrier between Drive and Picasa.

Computing hardware
Apple new MacBook Pro with retina display has taken the laptop market by storm with its unrivalled retina display, excellent performance and ultra thin design. But all this comes with an eye watering price of £1800 for the cheapest model and only has a small SSD storage. The Chrome box is Google’s closest go at the computing hardware market, being quite small and wel designed, with cheap running costs and buying price it rivals more the Mac Mini than the new MacBook Pro. However, it is not much use without web access and has no local storage.

Desktop OS
Although Apple’s new introduction of the latest big cat, Mountain Lion has been hugely successful it is not a huge upgrade from Lion. It does have some nifty features like iMessage, game centre and most notably notification centre. It’s simple, powerful and affordable with a price of only £14. Power nap is one of the special features with allow your mac to fetch mail and other data while it’s asleep. Google Chrome OS is speedy and features a decent suite of apps but is limited to web apps. For professionals who use computers for high powered tasks, Chrome OS isn’t the way to go, but for the average customer who checks their mail and surfs the Internet, it does just fine.

For the past year or so there has been this ongoing war between Chrome users and Safari users. Safari is my personal choice of browsing due to its syncing across devices. Muti touch gesture capabilities on macs. However, the mobile version is only on iOS. Google Chrome can also supine across devices, has a minimalist design and is multi platform. The iOS version is disappointingly not as fast as Safari.

Entertainment hardware
When it comes to entertainment hardware neither Apple or Google have really thrown everything at it. The Apple TV is easy to use and has a huge catalogue of HD films to rent and buy. However, renting films from apple is not very cheap at all. It also has support for iCloud with photo stream also integrated into the Apple TV. The Nexus Q has a futuristic design, features HD streaming and collaborative playlists. Unfortunately, it I quite expensive, US only and doesn’t even stream home media.

The Future
Both companies have big plans for the near and distant future. Apple are planning to release their new iPhone 5 sometime in September probably along with their new iOS 6 system. An iPad Mini is also rumoured to be hitting their stores sometime later this year. Then there’s the iPanel which people expect sometime next year will be Apple go at entering the TV market. Google have some really interesting projects such as Project Glass and Google Fiber. Glass is expected by 2014 and Google themselves have held a keynote on the matter. Google Fiber is hitting Kansas city later this year, and yes only Kansas City. Both of these projects are extremely exciting.

So you can now see that both companies have their own advantages over the other in different categories. But right now I think Apple have the edge over Google, and are the most powerful tech company in the world right now. However, with the rate at which Google is evolving and advancing they appear to be the most exciting company right now with projects like Glass and Fiber and even rumoured Google driverless car.

Product Reviews Technology

Google Drive vs the rest

Google Drive finally launched  after much speculation as to whether the project by Google was actually real or not. There has been talk about it since early 2006, and 6 years later Google decided to release. Since the day of launch I’ve been using it as a direct replacement to Dropbox. Google instantly released the platform to be available on Mac, PC and all Android devices, recently iOS has been given support as well. The standard deal is that you get 5GB of online data storage for free and you can further increase this to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or even a hefty 1TB for $49.99/month.

Once you’ve signed up to the Google Drive platform you will see that at the top of your Google bar, the ‘Google Docs’ option has disappeared and been replaced with the word ‘Drive’. This is because now all your google docs are synced between all your different platforms through Google Drive. It’s a pretty neat solution by Google and is an obvious solution to try and keep the seamlessness of the brilliant service. You have to options in your drive, one saying ‘My Drive’ which contains documents only visible to you and the other one, ‘Shared with me’ which allows for the ability of sharing documents between you and your friends.

After the creation of your Google Drive account, you have the ability to download a Google Drive folder onto your computer. What this allows you to do, is to create a folder within your computer’s hard drive and  simply drag in the files that you want uploaded to your online account, which will happen instantly without you having to tell it to. On your first upload you will be presented with the question as to whether or not you want your file to be converted to the relevant Google docs format, and you choose to abide by that or just keep the original format.

What I love about Google Drive is how it instantly updates the files you upload onto the cloud onto all your different platforms. So if I want to access a document on my iPad and continue editing it while I’m out and about , I can do just that. Simply drag the file into the folder installed on the computer, which will then get transferred onto the cloud and then onto the iPad app, this all happens in mere seconds. Google have done really well designing it and in my opinion its one of the best looking cloud storage services around.

If you are new to Cloud storage and are wanting to setup an account you’re going to want to know what gives you the best usability, reliability and which one is the most cost efficient service for you. Currently, the three main Cloud storage sites along with Google Drive are Dropbox, iCloud and SkyDrive. All three have really easy to use interfaces and are pretty simple to use. So on that front its really up to personal preference. Unless of course we are talking about iCloud, which with the recent update to Mountain Lion, preferences can be set so that documents you create in iWork are automatically sent to the cloud without you having to order that.

When it comes to reliability Dropbox is known to crash from time to time due to the sheer number of users on it. But to be honest it does not happen regularly enough to deter the regular user.

As for cost efficiency, well SkyDrive provides you with a decent 7GB, which is slightly more than the 5GB Google does. However, Dropbox is still only providing you with the tiny 2GB of data. Apple provide you with a free 5GB of storage on iCloud as well. But the prices for extra date vary for the different services. For Dropbox you can get 50GB of storage for $9.99/month or $99/year and . 100GB of data for $199/year. For Skydrive, 20GB of data comes in at $10/year, 50GB  at $25/year and 100GB at $50/year. Finally, iCloud prices are 10GB for $20/year, 20GB for $40/year and 50GB for $100/year.