When it comes to the mobile market, there are plenty of things to debate. Probably more than one can count on both hands. And while there’s plenty to discuss about our smartphones in general, there’s also worthy topics when it comes to the applications we use on those smartphones. Which platform has the better apps? Which platform is just copying the other? What I find interesting, though, is the conversation about form versus function, and how it relates to the applications we use every day. More accurately, how the Android applications compare to their iOS-based brethren, and if it matters how one looks compared to another.

To some, this argument may not even be worth the time. In truth, there are several different ways to come at the “form versus function” argument, and how you end up is completely up to your personal beliefs and desires. But, when you usually throw out this argument, it’s to point out the fact that, traditionally, the “pretty” thing doesn’t work as well as the “functional” thing. So, spending the extra money to get your hands on the pretty thing may not make sense to someone who just wants it to work, and work well.

But, that particular argument doesn’t work when you are comparing the applications available on Android and iOS. There’s no saying, “Well, the Android app works better than the iOS version.” And, in all honesty, while there are some exceptions out there, for the most part the Android applications work just as well as the apps available on iOS. If we’re looking at apps like SpeedTest.net (which is pictured for both Android and iOS in this article), both apps work the same on both platforms, they just look drastically different.

It’s when we get into the games that the differences are noticeable, and we can start saying that one version works better, or is more complete, than what’s available on another platform. But, for the sake of this article, we won’t include games. And there are some apps we can’t even include, like Facebook. Because the iOS version does look more polished, and it even has more functionality than what’s available on the Android platform. That would throw a wrench into the argument entirely.

Or does it? In the case of applications, does the form versus function argument even matter? For me, while I used to think it didn’t, that’s changed. Because the truth is, if I have an application that works just as well on one platform as it does on another, but I can have it look shiny and interesting, I’ll pick the shiny and interesting app. And I’ll do it every time, too. Truth be told, even if the Facebook app for iOS had fewer features than the Android version, I would use it, just because it looks better.

But, what about you? Does the form versus function argument make any difference to you? Do polished applications even compare to apps that look less developed? Or are you someone who prefers to get their hands on an app, no matter the mobile operating system, because you’re a fan of the OS in question and not the apps available? Let me know in the comments below.

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25 Reactions to this post

"Do more polished applications make a difference in your purchase?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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William Smith Yes it does if iPhone type apps was on android and work the same nobody wood have an iPhone.
Zach Cline Yes it does. And thats why the android market sucks. Crappy apps. You have to search by name for what you're looking for, Otherwise you get all of the sexy tit or ass backgrounds or the other low quality apps. Apple has literally everything in the app store and itunes and the ibookstore abd everything is high quality because they reject all of the shitty apps .
Michael Hamilton Not really. I'm more for performance and durability. I'm and iPhone user, and believed I would be for life, but I'm seriously considering switching to the android OS because of the freedom and performance it provides. iPhone 5 better do something to really impress me. If not then it's off to the market I go.
Mike Sikora I hate when icons are not updated for retna display. Quite frankly they look like shit, so they go on to the second home screen.
Ashley Tok Yes definitly!
Michael A. Barut Absolutely, you can brag that you have the most apps but if 90% of them are junk, then u got the crApp store, crApp market/place, crApp World.
Brian Ward Absolutely. App quality is paramount.
Chris Cole Yes the apps being polished is extremely important. That's why iOS has the best apps by far and Android has the ugliest most bare bone crap in their app market.
Camille Lake Yes. But that's not the only reason to buy. Quality.
Marvin Oubre I look for apps with top ratings that's all.
Ben Antonio Davila Yes, a polished app means the devs actually took the tome and effort to make it a good app
Liam Warrilow Does the pope wear a funny hat?
George Majao Too bad there are no good apps in the market place.. Sucks.. Becareful what you download on android phones..
George Majao Of course but a well made phone too
Jay Stax Hell yes, but if the app looks good and crashes, it's useless. So, like mr frank, I will say if the app is useful, bug free, AND its a nice piece of eye candy, it can't hurt ;)
Frank Spicher Jr If by polished, you mean useful and bugfree, sure. If a pretty GUI is all I'm paying for, then no thanks.
Anthony Tyson Only thing I miss about iOS is app Polish.
Joseph Portillo Without a question. Apps like PicSay Pro and Pulse news reader are so refined it makes you want to support the developer.
Christopher Pena Yes, I want my application to look/feel polished.

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