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Android’s biggest strength is driving people to the iPhone

Once upon a time, a team of engineers began work on a mobile operating system called Android. The platform began its life as an uninspired BlackBerry OS clone, but one glimpse of Apple’s new iPhone would help Google realize that it needed a serious course correction. As a result, the version of Android that debuted on the HTC Dream in 2008 was much more iPhoney than the version that had been previewed by Google a year earlier. Despite the similarities to Apple’s mobile software, however, Android included a number of advantages over Apple’s iPhone OS, namely its versatility and the fact that it was an open source platform available to any hardware manufacturer for free.

For years, users have flocked to Android for a number of reasons. One is obviously the sheer volume of Android devices that have flooded the market; since Android is freely available to hardware companies, hundreds of companies have adopted the platform. Another reason people have been drawn to Android is the software’s versatility and flexibility. But while many users still enjoy that freedom, more and more people seem to be leaving Android and switching to the iPhone because of it.

Earlier this week, well-known market research firm CIRP issued a report stating that users are moving from the Android platform to iPhones far less frequently than they have in the past. That may or may not be the case, but you wouldn’t know it to look at Reddit, where new threads pop up every single day started by Android users who have recently jumped ship to the iPhone.

One recent thread in particular caught our attention. The thread was started by Redditor “DiamondsWithaZ,” a self-professed Android fanboy who has spent the last five years using a variety of different Android phones. The freedom and versatility had been what initially made him love Android phones, and he regularly rooted his phones to install custom ROMs. Over time, however, the very thing that drew him to Android grew tiresome, and he ended up buying an iPhone 7.

“It’s so buttery smooth with everything I do, the battery life is amazing, camera is great, and it’s just a beautiful device overall,” the Redditor wrote. “I’m still finding out things that impress me.”

This is just one user’s experience, of course, but it’s also the latest in a string of similar posts we’ve seen around the web. Google gives third-party developers carte blanche to add just about any functionality to Android, and custom ROMs push the platform’s versatility even further. After a while, however, people realize that they want a phone that just works.

Google’s mobile platform still hasn’t managed to match the iPhone when it comes to the overall user experience and the smoothness of the OS, and Android phone makers are nowhere close to matching the iPhone’s power and performance. The ability to customize every last feature in Android is and will continue to be a big draw for many people, but we’re seeing more and more users grow tired of tinkering.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.