Android vs iOS: Who’s Winning the Battle in the Middle East?

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Mobile phones are no longer luxury items that people buy to show off, especially as they evolved into smartphones that are equipped with hundreds of programs and apps very essential for everyone.

In an opinion poll posted over Al Bawaba Business’ different social media platforms, MENA users had extremely varied preferences when it comes to their favorite operating systems amongst Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.

Ever since the two prominent operating systems have led the smartphone industry in 2007 (iOS) and 2008 (Android), users have had very mixed reactions that eventually created two fan groups; which often take part in digital battles over which operating system is the best of all.

Of 102 voters who took part in the Instagram poll posted in our pages’ story, iPhone had the lead with 65% of the votes. Yet, of 48 votes on Twitter, 60.4% of users preferred devices that ran Android, a result similar to LinkedIn’s where 71% of people voted for Android.

Thanks to a high number of young tech-literate people in the MENA region, 60% of internet access in the region is done using smartphones, according to Statista’s report.

In the same report, numbers of smartphone users in the region seem to have doubled between the years 2014 and 2019, rising from 86 million people to 174 million, with GCC countries leading numbers at rates reaching up to 99% in the UAE.

Yet, the question remains whether Middle Eastern users prefer to use iOS over Android, or is it the other way around?

In a study of mobile operating systems market share conducted by statcounter between May 2019 and June 2020, 72.55% of UAE-based users reported having Android devices compared to 27.24% users of ones that operate the Apple software.

While these numbers could be related to some Android devices being more affordable than iPhones, there are some really strong arguments amongst users of each system, which show that prices are not the only factor controlling consumers’ preferences.

For example, most iPhone users cite the strong security features that make it harder for hackers to gain access to the phone, especially that iOS still doesn’t allow third-party app stores unless jailbroken, which makes iOS the most preferable choice for users interested in protecting their data.

iPhones and iPads enthusiasts usually report happy experiences when it comes to having a simple and clear user-friendly interface, something they haven’t been able to feel familiar with while using Android-operating devices.

On the other hand, Android users usually rush to mention the huge variety of applications offered using Google’s play store compared to that of Apple.

In addition to having an easier time transferring files and photos to computers compared to the iTunes limited method of Apple, Android users usually brag about their phones’ ability to support more than 100 languages, which is a huge step ahead of Apple’s iOS where only 34 languages are recognized.

Realizing that it’s become of the most important purchase made by consumers, cell phone manufacturers have been racing to come up with the best phones, in terms of hardware, software, price, in addition to looks. 

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