Yes, I’ve gone Android.
For those who know me that might come as a shock. I’m a big Apple fan, I have a Mac since 2007 and never thought of going back to Linux or Windows (until recently with Lion’s release, but those are another 2 cents).
I got an iPhone 3G when they were released in Portugal. The first year using it was awesome, the second was normal, after that Apple turned my phone into a zombie. The last iOS 4 update, 4.2, left my phone crippled, unusable, with most of the new features left out. Still I used it for what I could… email, Twitter, music and a few apps.
Everything else was a bloated and dreadful experience, even the mere act of typing something in the keyboard was a torture, it literally froze the keys for a few seconds. My 3G became a pale shadow of the awesome phone it once was.
I needed a new device, it didn’t have to be a phone, I could perfectly live my daily digital life with a tablet, email, Facebook, Twitter, a good browser, WordPress support and I was set… but there was a problem: I was sick of iOS.
For me, as an iOS user, I got almost no new features for my 3G with iOS 4. So sticking with the same OS for 3 years in a row, can get you pretty tired of it.
I’m up to date on iOS info and rumors. I know what’s new for iOS 5 and I’ve played with a few iPhones 4… and even with all the new bells n’ whistles, I wasn’t buying it. Plus, with a new iPhone 4S or 5 or whatever Apple is going to release in October, it was more of the same.
So, as an Apple fan, I considered buying an iPad, same eco-system but with a few differences here and there, enough to give me something usable and new to explore. I’ve played with a few iPads from friends and co-workers. Hell of a machine. It was on my buy list, until Android crept in…
Enter the Android
While looking for alternatives in the tablet world, I came across the Asus EEE Transformer, not the prettiest of the tablets around, but it’s a behemoth with excellent specs. It runs Android Honeycomb, specific for tablets, it has a nvidia chipset and the bonus is the keyboard docking you can get, making it an excellent replacement for a netbook or even a notebook. The docking gives an extra battery juice, increasing the autonomy, the screen is up par with iPad’s, included are mini HDMI port, micro SD and full SD ports, USB… heck, a geeks dream!
I played with it for a bit at a Worten store and I was very very surprised to see how much Android had matured since I last tested it. The experience was no less enjoyable that it was on the iPad 2, it was cheaper, more expandable and with a more open and customizable OS.
I began to update on Android info, how it was now, the releases, the apps, the devices running it, and yet again, I was very surprised. Android grew up to a very powerful OS and I didn’t notice, I was so closed in my Apple world that I forgot to look outside.
When the day came, I was split between an iPad 2 Wifi + 3G and an Android phone. I know, twist on the plot, but the fact that the Asus Transformer doesn’t have 3G was a bit of a let down. That, and the lack of apps for tablets running Honeycomb on the Android Market.
So, what really weighted on my decision? I know it’s not fair to compare a phone with a tablet, but I really didn’t want an iPhone 4 or to wait for 5, so here’s my line of tought:
- No need to leave current eco-system
- No need to invest on new apps
- Current apps work on the device
- Big screen
- New device to explore
- Lot’s of apps
- Same iOS I was bored with
- Going to be replaced very soon
- Not very portable (at least not as portable as a phone)
- Very Closed OS
- Doesn’t make voice calls (like a phone)
- No Flash support
- New device and Android OS to explore
- Awesome Super AMOLED Plus screen
- Blazing speed
- Micro SD port (Boom! With support up to 32Gb)
- Removable battery
- More portable than the iPad (naturally)
- More open and customizable
- Apps integrate with OS
- Widgets and notification system
- Google integration
- Supports Flash
- Need to migrate to a new eco-system
- Samsung Kies
- Less apps than iOS
- Less secure than iOS
I decided to go for the SGS2, I’m using it since last Sunday and I’m not a bit disappointed. Google support and integration with the OS is amazing (naturally), it’s extremely customizable, the user interface is very intuitive, even with all the differences from the iOS, I managed to find my way through.
One common mistake is that people think about Android as a iOS clone. It’s not, especially in the user interface and usability. Spend a week with an Android terminal and you’ll see how fast you can make certain tasks that usually take more time to do with iOS. Apps really integrate with the OS.
I can now share a photo, a music or an app using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, post it to Twitter, Facebook, send it by email, you name it, all in one step, right there on the sharing menu.
After installing Skype, when I go to my Address Book and pick a contact to call, the OS asks me if I want to make a regular call with the phone or with Skype.
Less limitations, fewer restrictions. I know it’s a less secure OS, specially if you install apps from untrusted manufacturers, but that’s the users choice and responsibility. Apple “just works” OS comes with a price tag and you just find out how expensive it is after using Android.
I could rant all day about the differences, but I dare you to find them for yourself. Still, Android might not be an OS for you if the closeness of iOS makes you comfortable.
I might write another post, detailing more my experience with Android in a few weeks, but for now, I’m still discovering the ins and outs of the OS. So far it has been a great trip, and even with new SGS2 4G terminals announced I’m not even a bit miffed about it.
Oh, and the bonus points on the OS is the little green Android mascot that pops everywhere 🙂 Cute… cuter than a half eaten apple 😛