Purchasing Android device is not an easy task due to its confusing (yet amusing) operating system (OS) names. Unlike Apple’s iOS versions that are simply numerical, Android OS has a tendency for strange names such as Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean.
As in the case of purchasing a computer, choosing the right OS is important. Purchase an old OS, and you may become stuck with inconvenient version, and in some cases, your device may lack enough ability to upgrade to more functional OS. At the same time, the latest OS is not always the best one as shown in the case of Windows Vista for PC users back several years ago.
Is the Most Popular the Best?
Gingerbread OS, which is now 3 years old, is still an OS that is considered most popular when it comes to the percentage of users. But, an important question is whether this popularity equates to it being the best OS for Android OS purchases or not. Looking at Google Play, many popular apps still show support starting Android 2.3 or higher (although there are some that work with all the way down to Android 2.0), and Android 2.3 is Gingerbread OS. Considering that the latest Android OS is at 4.2 (Jelly Bean), it is quite astonishing the comprehensive range of support that Gingerbread OS still has.
Ice Cream Sandwich OS – The Choice for Future
Even though there is another OS between Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich called Honeycomb, this OS was tablet-only, and therefore skipped in this article since it is about both smartphones and tablets. Now, onto Ice Cream Sandwich, which is second newest OS available for Android users, it is fair to say that it brought a lot of changes that made Android users happy. Considering that Samsung’s Galaxy S III runs default Ice Cream Sandwich and has accumulated an immense amount of popularity, Ice Cream Sandwich OS must be a strong OS. It is convenient for its support of smooth UI (user interface), much improved browser, and support for essentially all the apps in the App Store (apps like Chrome may not work with Gingerbread).
What about Jelly Bean?
For those folks who managed to update their devices to the latest Android OS known as Jelly Bean, this article does not intend to say that this was a bad decision. However, with Jelly Bean being so new, it is not possible to state precisely how much it is better or worse. The decision is not as clear as iOS 6, which received huge amounts of criticism due to its rejection of Google’s apps like YouTube and Google Map.
How can you then choose between Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich?
If you are set on purchasing Android devices, then the best strategy is to first weigh two other factors that matter the most to you, and set OS as the third factor. In other words, if price and storage space matter the most to you, then you should look at OS after you have narrowed your selections to couple of devices. With so many users still dependent on Gingerbread and similar compatibility with apps, it is OK to still choose a device that runs on Gingerbread.
However, if you have a choice, and price is not that different among your choices, then the answer should be Ice Cream Sandwich. Why? This is because while Gingerbread is good now, there is no guarantee on how it will be in the future, and how long this support will be present several years from now. Perhaps, the bigger concern is that if you purchase a tablet or smartphone with default Android OS as Gingerbread or below, then it is not clear whether you can update to anything higher, and even if that option is viable, it is a completely different story on how your device will handle the new OS.
In present time, deciding factor is speed
If your Android device is smartphone, then Ice Cream Sandwich is a much better option now since speed will become a great concern to you. Whether you are sending text message, checking Facebook, or watching YouTube, latest built-in OS usually means faster smartphone, which you will likely use for a good while. On the other hand, if your choice is tablet, speed is a less concern since it is more stationary device, and its use is limited for most people besides movies, e-reader, and web browsing. Gingerbread is still a fine device for those tasks, so unless you are heavily set for extensive use of tablets, then Gingerbread – which is still more affordable option – is a good option, especially if you are OK with updating the OS later on your own.