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Android vs. Smartphone — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Updated on March 20, 2024
Android is an operating system for mobile devices, while a smartphone is a device that combines a computer, phone, and other features.
Android vs. Smartphone — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Android and Smartphone


Key Differences

Android is a mobile operating system developed by Google, used in a variety of devices including smartphones and tablets. It's known for its customizable interface and a wide range of apps available on the Google Play Store. Smartphones, on the other hand, are advanced mobile phones that offer extensive computing capabilities, including internet access, apps, and multimedia functions, and they can run on various operating systems, including Android, iOS (developed by Apple), and others.
While Android refers specifically to the software environment created by Google, a smartphone is a category of mobile devices that can use Android or another operating system. Thus, all Android devices are smartphones, but not all smartphones use the Android operating system. For example, iPhones use iOS and are therefore not Android devices.
Android's open-source nature allows for a wide range of device manufacturers, such as Samsung, LG, and Huawei, to customize and use it in their hardware, leading to a diverse ecosystem of Android devices. In contrast, smartphones, regardless of the operating system they run, typically share core features such as touchscreens, app-based interfaces, and internet connectivity, but their user experience and specific features can vary significantly based on the operating system and manufacturer.
The choice between an Android device and another smartphone often comes down to personal preference for the operating system and features. Android is praised for its flexibility, customization options, and wide range of compatible devices across different price ranges. Other smartphones, like iPhones with iOS, offer a more controlled and uniform ecosystem, often with a focus on security, simplicity, and integration with other devices from the same manufacturer.
In the market, the distinction between Android smartphones and other smartphones is significant due to the differences in app availability, user interface, and integration with other digital services and devices. Users often choose based on compatibility with other devices they own, specific features offered by the operating system or manufacturer, and personal preference regarding the user interface and overall user experience.

Comparison Chart


A mobile operating system developed by Google
A mobile device offering advanced features like internet connectivity, apps, and multimedia


Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, OnePlus
IPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel

Operating Systems

Android only
Android, iOS, and others


High, with a wide range of device manufacturers and custom interfaces
Varies by operating system and manufacturer

User Experience

Flexible and customizable
Dependent on the operating system and device capabilities

App Ecosystem

Google Play Store
Depends on the operating system (e.g., App Store for iOS, Google Play Store for Android)

Device Variety

Wide range of manufacturers and price points
Wide, but influenced by operating system constraints

Compare with Definitions


A versatile and widely-used mobile operating system by Google.
Android powers a diverse array of devices, from high-end smartphones to budget options.


A high-functioning mobile phone with advanced computing capabilities.
Modern smartphones can perform many of the same tasks as computers.


Known for its high level of customization and variety of user interfaces.
Users can customize their Android devices with launchers, widgets, and custom ROMs.


Includes touchscreens, internet access, and a wide range of apps.
Smartphones offer extensive functionality, from web browsing to video streaming.


Features a vast collection of apps available on the Google Play Store.
The Google Play Store offers millions of apps for Android users.


Can run on various operating systems, including but not limited to Android.
While many smartphones run Android, others, like the iPhone, use iOS.


Offers strong integration with Google services and products.
Android devices often come with Google services like Maps and Assistant integrated.


Designed for seamless connectivity, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and cellular data.
Smartphones keep users connected via various communication and social media apps.


Its open-source nature allows for broad adaptation by various manufacturers.
Multiple manufacturers use Android, leading to a wide variety of devices.


Often features cameras, GPS, and sensors for a wide range of applications.
Smartphone cameras now rival traditional digital cameras in image quality.


(in science fiction) a robot with a human appearance
A space station inhabited only by androids
There were no android security guards to stop him


A smartphone is a portable device that combines mobile telephone and computing functions into one unit. They are distinguished from feature phones by their stronger hardware capabilities and extensive mobile operating systems, which facilitate wider software, internet (including web browsing over mobile broadband), and multimedia functionality (including music, video, cameras, and gaming), alongside core phone functions such as voice calls and text messaging.


An open-source operating system used for smartphones and tablet computers
I have an Android phone and I like it a lot


A cellphone having a touchscreen or alphabetic keypad and many of the features of a personal computer, including an operating system that allows the user to download specialized apps.


Possessing human features.


A mobile phone with more advanced features and greater computing capacity than a featurephone.
Mobile phone


A mobile robot or automaton, especially one that resembles a human.


A robot that is designed to look and act like a human being (not necessarily a male one).


Possessing human qualities.


Of the pelvis, having a narrow anterior segment and a heart-shaped brim, typically found in the male.


A machine or automaton in the form of a human being.


Resembling a man.


An automaton that resembles a human being

Common Curiosities

Can Android apps be used on all smartphones?

Android apps are specific to the Android operating system and cannot be used natively on smartphones with different operating systems.

How do users choose between Android and other smartphone operating systems?

Choice often depends on personal preference for the operating system's interface, app availability, integration with other devices, and specific features offered by the device manufacturer.

What makes Android unique among smartphone operating systems?

Android's open-source nature allows for a high degree of customization and is used by a variety of manufacturers, creating a diverse ecosystem of devices.

What are the key differences between Android versions?

Android versions differ in features, security enhancements, and user interface improvements, with each new version building on the capabilities of the previous ones.

Can smartphones function without an operating system?

No, smartphones require an operating system to manage hardware resources and provide a platform for applications and user interactions.

Are there any compatibility issues between Android apps and different Android devices?

While most Android apps are designed to work across various devices, compatibility issues can arise due to hardware differences, screen sizes, or specific software requirements.

Can I switch the operating system on my smartphone, for example, from Android to iOS?

Switching operating systems on a smartphone is generally not feasible due to hardware and software restrictions, with each operating system tailored to work with specific hardware and ecosystems.

How do software updates affect smartphones?

Software updates can bring new features, security patches, and performance improvements to smartphones, but they can also cause compatibility issues with older apps or hardware.

What are the main advantages of a smartphone?

Smartphones offer advanced computing capabilities, including internet access, a wide range of apps, and multimedia functions, making them versatile tools for communication, entertainment, and productivity.

How important is the choice of a smartphone's operating system for developers?

The choice of operating system is crucial for developers as it affects the development environment, available tools, and the potential audience for their apps.

Is every smartphone an Android device?

No, while all Android devices are smartphones, not all smartphones are Android devices due to different operating systems like iOS for iPhones.

Why do some people prefer Android over other smartphone operating systems?

People may prefer Android due to its customization options, wide range of device choices across different price points, and integration with Google services.

What security features are important in smartphones and Android devices?

Important security features include biometric authentication, encryption, regular software updates, secure app stores, and privacy controls to protect user data and prevent unauthorized access.

What role do app stores play in the smartphone experience?

App stores are crucial for downloading new applications and games, providing users with a vast array of tools and entertainment options that enhance the smartphone experience.

How do cloud services enhance the functionality of smartphones and Android devices?

Cloud services enhance smartphone functionality by offering backup and storage options, seamless synchronization across devices, access to shared documents and media, and the ability to use cloud-based apps and services.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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