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Multimedia Functionality

Well, we might as well get two of mobile OS X's biggest strengths out the way back-to-back for there is no denying that when it comes to multimedia functionality the iPhone is once more head and shoulders above the rest.

In all honesty, this shouldn't be surprising. After all the iPhone owes its existence entirely to the enduring success of Apple's ubiquitous iPod line and - while it wasn't first to the punch - what users essentially have is an iPod touch written into their handsets. One with a better loudspeaker than the iPod touch 2G, side mounted volume controls and the very presence of the loudspeaker over the original.

Of course what this amounts to is a sumptuous multimedia experience fully exploited by the iPhone's large 3.5in LCD with full widescreen video, scrollable album art and slick, intuitive menus. It doesn't end there however as YouTube - while available on Android too - has its best mobile implementation here and, though credit cannot go to Apple for this, the BBC's dedicated mobile Safari iPlayer client has to be seen to be believed.

Despite this however there are sizeable holes with Apple's typically ruthless approach to codecs potentially its undoing when faced with the inevitable ingenuity of restriction free Android programmers. Lack of support for WMA, Ogg, AVI/DivX and WMV are horrendous omissions and such a pig headed decision is against the wishes of even its most fervent fans and a perfect example of why Apple has such vocal critics around the globe.

By contrast, the multimedia functionality of Android out the box is one of its most disappointing aspects and while it will inevitably improve thanks to the hard work of its own diehard fans (better audio and video players are already available for download) it may take some time for Android to match mobile OS X's superficial beauty and seamless core integration.

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