Mobile deathmatch: Apple iOS 4 vs. Android 2.2
As the mobile battle narrows, the iPhone finally faces a real challengerFollow @MobileGalen
Text selection and copying. Where Android really falls short in UI is in its text selection. If you're tapping away and realize you've made a mistake not caught by the autocorrect feature, such as when typing a URL, it can be difficult to move the text cursor to that error's location in the text. If you tap too long, the screen is filled with the Edit Text contextual menu; it took a while to figure out how to tap long enough to move the text-insrtion cursor to a new location in text without opening that menu. On iOS, you tap and hold where you want to insert the text cursor (sort of like using a mouse); a magnifier appears to help you move precisely to where you want to go. You then add and delete text at that location. Plus the controls for text selection also appear, so you can use those if you'd like -- there's no worry about some screen-filling menu appearing.
Along these lines, copy and paste -- and even basic selection -- is often not available in Android OS 2.2. In some fields, tapping and holding brings up the Edit Text contextual menu that lets you copy or paste the entire field's contents; in others you can't even do that. Although the browser lets you select and copy text, this ability is not universal. For example, you can't select text in email messages. In iOS, any textual item can be selected, and you can adjust specifically what text is selected by using little sliders. It's easy, intuitive, and universal.
The winner: iOS 4, by a mile. Android's awkward text-handling features are inexcusable. People used to regular cell phones, BlackBerrys, and Palm OS devices will be thrilled with Android OS 2.2's UI; certainly, the friends and colleagues I showed Android to felt that way. But if you're familiar with the iOS or even Mac OS X, the Android UI will feel clunky and a bit awkward, as if you were being forced to use Windows or Linux.
Deathmatch: Security and management
Apple's not known for supporting enterprise-level security and client management demands, but iOS 4 covers much of what most businesses need in these areas. It has remote wipe, certificate-based authentication, and an assortment of password controls (such as requiring a strong password or disabling access after so many failed attempts to log in) that are manageable through Microsoft Exchange and, soon, through iOS 4-enabled management tools from companies such as Good Technology and Mobile Iron. Unfortunately, these tools aren't yet shipping, so it's impossible to see how well they perform in practice. Apple has its own utility to deploy these security profiles, but it doesn't scale well beyond a few dozen users, so large businesses will want to look at the mobile management tools as they become available.
iOS 4 also supports several types of VPNs, provides SSL message encryption, and has on-device encryption for data such as email and notes.
Make no mistake: BlackBerry Enterprise Server and the BlackBerry OS, as well as Microsoft Exchange and the Windows Mobile OS, provide better security and manageability than iOS and its tools do. (Their on-device encryption is harder to break, for example.)