Okay, let’s just imagine that Android would not exist. Let us go down the shadow valley of closed source, non existing app ecosystems and overpriced aluminum metal bodies with stay in the line signposts, hitting you in your face every single time you try to make your experience better. Oh god, where would we have been right now!
Well, let us find out, but this is not for the faint of heart, because the only time we would have some fun in this dark world, is when a 10 year old would paint horns on the head of Steve Jobs, printed on Apple’s think different billboards. Now, don’t get me wrong, Android has a lot of stuff which could be improved, but it is open source, so everyone can improve or change it to their liking. That is the most important point of them all and the biggest advantage. Just take a look at XDA and you will see why.
Since the main competitor to Android is Apple, the main focus will be on their past and current OS and device features.
NFC and 5 inch devices
The fact that Apple introduced a bigger sized iPhone in the year 2014 is a very sad fact. Without Android, who knows when Apple would actually push the bigger screens to the market. There sure, would not be any demand from their users and if there would be, I imagine, it would took a long time for the percentage to rise enough, so Apple would make enough profit. Remember, it just had to fit into a jeans pocket and Steve Jobs, wore very tight jeans in his day. Windows Phone in this case, would be able to do a lot difference. Also a fact, which broadens the horizon of how Apple would handle it, is that the PPI on a Nexus 4 (2012), is still bigger from what the iPhone 6 has to offer nowadays. What about NFC you ask? Probably you can figure out that, on your own.
3rd party keyboard apps
Nope. Apple introduced keyboard apps this year, but only because Android has so many. They saw the advantages of that, so they copied it and made it available. Simple as that. Apple was always a recipe company. Don’t get your hopes up for the Windows Phone either, which still does not support them to this day.
Introduced to the mobile world by Palm in the year 2009, with the Touchstone. We all saw what happened to them and I imagine, that in a non Android world, Windows Phone would probably be brave enough to push it out on their own. But since the majority would have iPhones, nobody would change the biggest app ecosystem, for wireless charging capabilities. Well, so much about wireless charging for the masses.
Notification actions and widgets
We got the notification actions first on Android when JellyBean got introduced and widgets, were introduced by Android in 2008. So you see again the pattern of innovation here which Apple fulfilled only recently, which means that, we still would not have it.
Separate alarm volume
I hate to repeat myself so many times but yes, it got introduced by Android again, at least in the smartphone market and in my opinion, it is not even a feature, it is basic like touch screen to touch screen devices. So in a world without Android, you have to set your iPhone before going to sleep, to full volume, every single time you got to bed. Well actually, this is the case with the iPhone 6 now also, which is a bit strange.
E-mails would not be stored on the device
Chances are, that every time you would open up your e-mail app, you would need to wait for your e-mails to get re downloaded again, since that is how Apple actually handles it today. Windows Phone would probably have, a much better approach here.
Safari is still everywhere
On iOS all browsers are Safari even if you use Chrome, don’t kid yourself, you use Safari. That is because everything is build around the WebKit app which is provided by Apple. You would not be able to change it. Windows Phone would be again, the only hope.
“You don’t see us on iOS right now because every time we look at that platform we say we can’t bring meaningful choice. The rules of the iOS store say we’re not allowed to bring our technology.” Jonathan Nightingale, Mozilla’s Vice President of Firefox
So much for innovation, which does not come from Apple now, even if Android introduced a much better approach.
I can not stress enough how important it is, to have the interface properly sized, so users can use it without constantly running into issues. This is the most important part of the UI. On Android, we get all the buttons properly sized and on the bottom of the screen, which is the best place. Without Android though, Apple would put the back button even with a bigger smile, to the most unreachable places. Who ever goes back, right? At Apple we want you, to move only forward. Even in a non Android world, Windows Phone would be miles ahead.
Well, if we look at the big picture, Microsoft would make better choices for the users and would offer more regarding customizability and functionality, but would offer less in the app market. Apple devices using iOS, would probably not be as evolved and even harder to use, then they are today.
But the real question is, who would take the Linux kernel and modify it for their mobile needs? Which ladies and gentlemen, would at some point be, what Android is today.