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Apple beats Android in smartphone wars



Apple’s timing was perfect. The new iPhone 5s hit the stores two years after I bought an iPhone 4s, entitling me to a $200 trade-in, and a painless upgrade.

But the contract on my other phone had run out a few months earlier. So I picked up an HTC One, powered by Google Inc.’s Android operating system. And I am delighted with it. Android began by aping the iPhone, but it has evolved into software so good that the flow of borrowed ideas runs both ways, with Apple adding a number of Android’s best features.
So which is better? After comparing the way each phone handles several important tasks, it was an easy call. Android’s fine; Apple’s even finer.

This comparison was no cakewalk. Android’s features can vary from phone to phone. It has open-source software, so phone makers like Samsung Corp. and HTC Corp. add their own special tweaks. Phones running Apple’s iOS 7 and its older brother, iOS 6, always work the same way. Still, we can make a few worthwhile side-by-side critiques.

Let’s start with utilities — the tools and controls used to set up the phone and get basic tasks done. Android has long done it better. There is no hunting for the settings control. Just pull down the notifications bar at the top of the screen and there it is. Want to add app shortcuts to a screen? Just touch it to view your options.

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