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October 18th 2011 6:06 pm

Why I Don't Use an Android Based Phone

Some History

I used to be an avid Palm fan when they came out with their first handheld and then their Treo. I eventually picked up a first generation iPhone after it had been out for about 8 months. I then went to a 3GS and now the 4S. I have tried Android based phones for short periods of time, say hours, not days, so I am by no means anywhere near an expert on Android based phones. I am also not writing this to try and get anybody to switch, only just to have a lively discussion.

Why Not Android

I really enjoy the consistent interfaces between applications in iOS. If you can run one application, you can pretty much run them all. This makes for a very consistent experience. This does not seem to hold very true for Android based applications.

I also helps that whatever version of the iPhone I pick up, the basic phone interface is the same. Granted it is coming from the same company, but not having to deal with a new or different interface every time I pick up a new phone is a great. Not to mention, that the iPhone does not come loaded with a bunch of crapware, not that all Android phones do.

My wife now has an iPhone and has been able to easily use it. She is not very technically inclined. Having something that just works is great since I do not have to spend any time helping her work her phone.

The browsing experience is amazing and smooth. Something I have not seen, at least on the models I have tried, on Android based phones. I attribute this to Apple being able to optimize their OS to the hardware. Yes, iOS cannot run flash, but it appears that Adobe is working to be able to port their flash so it will run on iOS. I certainly do not miss the flash based adds. Whatever the case, the operations I perform feel very fluid.

Easy to find applications and knowing they will work on your phone. Having a one stop shop is great. I can't imagine how frustrating it would be if you paid for an application only to find you did not have the correct version of the operating system. Something to be said for Apple's ecosystem.

When the OS gets updated, it gets updated for everyone. True the 2G and 3G phones did not get updated this time around, but they are ancient it technology years. Making iOS work across three generations of iPhones is pretty impressive. My son has my old 2G and it still works well for him. Seems that Android updates either lag several months or do not come at all based on what I have read.

I also like the way Apple has handled multi-tasking compared to Android. I don't have to worry about having to manage what applications are running in the background in order to try and manage my battery life.

Finally, if I have an use, hardware, or software issue, I know where to go. I suspect it is a little more problematic for Android based phones (carrier, manufacture, or Google?). A friend of my Wife just switched from a Droid to iPhone because of support issues.

Why I Like Android

Simple, I think having Android around has caused Apple to innovate perhaps faster that they would have otherwise. I think we have far better products as a result of some competition. It is interesting seeing different approaches to the smartphone market.

Just some thoughts, so please be respectful in your response.

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11 replies

Regarding your point about apps not working for your device: Apps that aren't compatible with your phone don't show up in the market, so you won't run into the problem with buying apps that won't work. I think there's also a grace period for getting refunds for your apps.

Also, I think the multitasking could be better on both platforms. I don't even consider iOS implementation to be true multitasking, more of a different way to do app switching.
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OK so it seems that you just need to potentially go to multiple sources to find the app that works with your version of Android? I really like the iPad 2 four finger gesture thats lets you switch among apps. Would be surprised if they try to implement the same gesture on there phones though.
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If the app isn't compatible with your device, it just doesn't show up in the app market. I guess a user could go seeking around for the apk to install the app if they really wanted it, but for most people, they probably won't know/bother. This scenario is probably an edge case because the really popular apps that I've seen (Facebook, Twitter, etc...) have legacy support for older devices, so most people wouldn't be missing out. I also think this compatibility issue is primarily an issue with pre-Android 2.1 devices.
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So my boss got the 4S for Sprint today and I had to do some setup for him to make it work the way we have his iPad set up (accessibility issues since he is legally blind and can't see worth a darn). I have to say, I was pretty underwhelmed. They keyboard and autocompletion was just as annoying as I remember it being back on the original iPhone. Trying to type wifi passwords on this tiny screen was making me crazy. And yes, after having used an EVO and now a Photon, that iPhone screen does feel absolutely tiny. I could never go back to a screen that small, regardless how supposedly amazing the resolution is. I get that some people will say they don't want a giant phone, but I held my Photon up to the iPhone and it really isn't that much bigger since the Photon doesn't have as much bezel around the screen as the iPhone does.

I am happy that the iPhone is making people happy, but I am even happier that I don't have to use it because I'd seriously consider just going back to dumb phones with good texting keyboards instead.
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A slightly larger screen would be nice. Especially for us older guys. Guess we will not see that until the next version.

I've been using Siri lately to send texts, email, set reminders, create tasks, set alarms, and do web searches. It has been fantastic. I can't believe how well it is working. As a result, I am using the keyboard much less.

The autocompletion can be annoying, but it can be easily turned off. :)
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Oh, forgot to mention... the Sprint iPhone 4S gets terrible cell reception compared to the Android and BlackBerry devices we have on campus. We are in a really bad area and Sprint is the only service that works inside the buildings. The iPhone, though, gets as bad a reception as phones on other carriers and doesn't work in some of the locations I tested it in.
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Good lord... Reading these responses makes me sick....

I used android for three years. First because I was not on att and then out of spite for not wanting to be part of the apple mafia, like my wife.

Finally, after losing my phone and spending a week using my wife's iPhone I realized just how wrong I have been.

Comparing the androids, with their big screens and their dual cor processors and removable batteries is like comparing a ford to a Mercedes. Sure, a mustang may have a big engine and a fancy suspension and even a nitro pack. All of that makes it fun to drive, but it's not an every day car. Apple is the Mercedes to the android Ford. It is so much better, simpler, more sophisticated and better at getting you from point a to point b than any ford in style and comfort. Sergei can keep his fragmented POS.

I love my new iPhone. Love it!!!!! I'm never going back!!!!
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Great counterpoint to Peter's post from last week. Even though I am an Android user, I must agree with your points on iOS and Apple hardware. The depth and breadth of the ecosystem, the consistency of the OS, the level of optimization that Apple does, and just the overall polish on iOS and Apple devices is extremely compelling. They really know how to make beautiful products.
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And don't forget the incredible after market accessory windfall of battery paks, cases, tripod mounts, lens mods, etc.
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As a former iOS user, and current Android user I actually agree with most of what you are saying. I really enjoyed iOS, and still think it is smoother around the edges than Android. That being said the reason I switched (originally to a Nexus One, and now on a Nexus S) is due to the ability to set up a free wifi hotspot. Yes, I know all iPhones and Android phones can do this, but I don't want to have to jailbreak my phone, this way it's kosher, and AT&T doesn't yell at me for tethering, but I don't have to pay $20 a month for the service. Seeing how I own a Wifi only tablet, I don't see me switching to a device that won't allow me to make a hotspot for free.
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Using your phone as a hotspot without paying is not kosher. You might be able to do it, but it is not right.
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