Developing Medical Apps - Android Vs. iPhone for Healthcare

Pros and Cons of the Android and iPhone OS for Medical App Developers

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Android and iPhone are the two most preferred types of mobile devices today. Each of these mobile OS’ is constantly trying to outdo the other, both in terms of the developer and the user. While each one is just as powerful as the other, they are not without their own unique disadvantages. In this article, we analyze the pros and cons of both Android and iPhone from the point of view of medical app developers and medical institutions.

Before getting into the actual analysis of Apple vs. Android for healthcare, let us first look at each of the devices individually.

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The Apple iPhone

The Apple iPhone is such a rage today, as it is easy to use and also offers just one centralized vendor solution, that is, the Apple iTunes Store, through which developers and users can interact with each other. The developer here, has to think only of one place to sell his or her app – the iTunes Store.

Since there is only one single mobile platform with Apple, there is no question of fragmentation and every process is highly homogenized. This far reduces problems of compatibility, both for the developer and the user of the app.

The Android OS

On the other hand, Android is an open source operating system intended to run on a variety of mobile devices, ranging across different mobile device brands and models. Android is an actual mobile OS and not merely a mobile phone.

Android is more dynamic in the sense that manufacturers may license the OS for any device of their choice and also make modifications in the OS as they require.

There is no centralized vendor with Android as in the case of Apple. The developer has numerous online Android sources to choose from, apart from the main Android Market.

While Android helps the manufacturer and developer provide the user greater amount of variety and features, the problem that occurs is that the OS is highly fragmented, and hence, becomes a lot more complex in nature.

Apple Vs. Android OS for Healthcare App Developers

  • Operating System

Firstly, both Apple and Android are based on the same OS – UNIX. The main point of difference here is the UI. Apple has been projected and marketed as the ultimate smartphone for both the developer and the user alike. Apple’s aggressive marketing strategy ensures that the iPhone is always in the limelight, no matter what its defects may be. Hence, it is the preferred OS for many app developers and users as well.

Android, on the other hand, has had a good deal of struggle before it could offer serious competition to Apple. Starting off with humble beginnings, Android is only now being recognized for its versatility and true potential. However, Apple still has a lot more developer strength than Android.

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  • Device Compatibility

Apple offers just one solution to all its devices and that is one of its major advantages.

Since the developer has to deal only with one platform, he or she does not have to face major compatibility issues during app development. Also, testing a medical app gets that much simpler with a lot less OS versions to deal with. Of course, the iPhone 4.0 OS is sometimes not compatible with the older versions, but by and large, the platform offers much more stability than Android.

The Android OS ranges over too many devices and brands, so it tends to be too complicated for even expert app developers. This gets especially critical with medical apps, as they may work on one device, but may be incompatible with another. However, on the brighter side, Android is not limited to merely one device, and hence, it offers a complete range of enterprise solutions to both the developer and user.

The iPhone has only a single manufacturer and vendor and so, one hardware failure can cause havoc, especially in a delicate industry like healthcare.

Android, on the other hand, offers a variety of manufacturers and app vendors. Hence, hardware issues can be resolved easily – merely by switching to a better manufacturer.


In conclusion, both the iPhone and Android are basically excellent devices, each one having its own pluses and minuses. However, both developers and medical institutions must fully analyze the pros and cons of each mobile platform, before developing or approving medical apps for the same.

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