Smartphone wars; Apple beats Android — again

Tech Lab: Android HTC One

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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. I picked up a HTC One, powered by Google Inc.’s Android operating system. I’m delighted with it. Android began by aping the iPhone, but it’s 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’s an easy call. Android’s fine; Apple is even finer.

This comparison is no cakewalk. Android’s features can vary from phone to phone. It’s 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, iOS6, always work the same way. Still, we can make a few worthwhile side-by-side critiques.

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