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TheStreet Open House

Android's Ease-of-Use Advantage Over iPhone

Stocks in this article: GOOGAAPLMSFTBBRY

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- This is a sore subject, I know. I will try to make the case that for some people, getting up and running on a Google (GOOG) device such as Android is easier than on an iOS device such as the iPhone.

I can feel the blowback from the armies of Apple (AAPL) fans already. People get bent out of shape when you dare suggest that their favorite gadget isn't the best at everything.

I am focusing this "ease of use" analysis on one thing in particular, for reasons that will be obvious a little later in this article. This focus is account management and synchronization.

What do I mean by account management? Regardless of which mobile platform you use -- Android, iOS, Microsoft (MSFT) Windows or BlackBerry (BBRY) -- we have now moved to a cloud-centric world where your settings, app store and other functions are tied to a cloud account. You basically need one in order to operate your mobile gadget in any meaningful way, or even at all.

Another word for account management is identity, which in turn is represented by an email account. Once upon a time -- say, 1996-97 -- you got a Hotmail account. Then you switched to Yahoo!, say around 1998-99. By 2005 you started graduating to Gmail. At 425 million accounts and growing fast, Gmail is what most computer-savvy people in the Western world are using more and more.

Therefore, for most relevant people, they are now Gmail users and are confronted with which smartphone to buy. Let's examine the two scenarios of getting up and running on Google/Android vs. Apple/iPhone:

1. Apple: What to do about iCloud?

When you first get your iPhone and fire it up, you are asked to enter or create an iCloud account. Here is where the confusion begins.

It is not immediately obvious what an iCloud account is, or what it could be from an identity perspective. Do I have to create a new email address? What can my login be?

Nobody who isn't yet an Apple customer has an @iCloud.com email address, and even those who do, don't (want to) use it as an actual email address. There are at least two reasons for this:

1 of 3

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