geekchick77: (Default)
[personal profile] geekchick77
I took my sweet time joining the smartphone world. I simply couldn't see paying $500 for a pocket computer, and another $100/month to keep it connected. Finally, just over a year ago, a friend informed me it was possible to have a reasonably priced data plan in the U.S., with AT&T, and I decided to give it a try while I was living there.

My first phone was an older Android phone, a second-hand Samsung AT&T Captivate. Yes, it was handy having maps and other info with me on the go, particularly since I'm usually on a bike, but the phone experience was not great. I had heard people talk about how smartphones required a lot of charging, so I thought that it was normal that mine couldn't get through a workday on standby without me charging it. Now, I rather suspect it was a defective battery. Physically, the phone felt a bit clunky, and the data connection was unreliable.

I had some iPhone envy, and when I moved back to Canada, my job supplied me with an iPhone on the Bell network. I don't like Bell overall, but I must say their network was excellent. As expected, the iPhone battery life was excellent. Things looked prettier and of course there are plenty of apps (which, for the most part, I don't use, but I do miss things like RocketMan for TTC). It was back and forth for a while, but in the end I realized I preferred my Android phone.

The first big disappointment was not having gchat. I know that there are theoretically ways to get it to work, but I was never successful. I really missed having that. Also, while setting up my gmail and contacts worked fine, I never was able to search historical emails on the iPhone. If it wasn't in my current inbox, it was gone.

As time went on, I came to really miss the hardware buttons and keyboard layouts on the Android phone. Overall, I think the current Android experience is a lot smoother. You can click a link in an email, take a look, and press the back button to be back in your email. Not having a comma on the main keyboard in iOS drives me insane! It's like they are trying to encourage less literate writing. I also found the keyboards for entering email addresses and URLs to be nicer in Android. There might be something like Swype for iOS, I'm not actually sure. In any case, Swype is pretty cool.

As frustrating as navigation could sometimes be on the Android, it seemed that on iOS it was even worse. Dropping Google maps just added insult to injury. Yes, I know, there is an app now, but it seems to have some issues. I'm sure it'll get there in time, but it was a poor choice to drop it as the default.

The final straw was dropping my iPhone ONCE and having the screen shatter, necessitating an expensive repair. I dropped my Android phone many times, and while it had a few scratches and I knocked the battery out more than once, the screen was intact and it continued to function perfectly. It's not as if the iPhone is a far more lovely tactile and visual experience; if anything, I would say some of the new Android phones are superior. They are thinner, have a bigger screen, and feel sleeker.

One big minus against Android right now is the current impossibility of getting a new Nexus phone. I really wanted one, as one of the huge hassles before was unlocking the phone and upgrading the OS. I can't even really believe that in this day and age, people are expected to get binaries from file sharing sites and run them! (Because I don't really trust these things, I greatly limit the information and actions I take on my phone.) How does anyone who is not highly technical deal with an Android phone? Do they simply never upgrade the OS?

An entertaining aside: while certain simple maintenance tasks are quite difficult and complex, managing your Android OS is far easier. The task manager gives you detailed information on process resource usage. There are multiple apps to monitor battery usage. Installing non-market apps is as simple as a checkbox. If you've ever deployed an app for iOS, you understand why that's so lovely after the agony of provisioning profiles.

Summary:

iPhone pros:
- battery life
- OS upgrades
- apps
- availability of hardware

Android pros:
- durability
- screen size
- hardware buttons
- better keyboard layouts
- navigation
- gchat
- perfect gmail integration
- easier testing of development apps

Only thing I'd add...

Date: 2013-01-24 04:15 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Unseelie here...

Yeah, it sounds like the better choice for you. The only thing I'd add as a counterpoint to 'easier testing' is that Android has a much larger hardware AND software footprint for test coverage.

And in regards to your question "How does anyone who is not highly technical deal with an Android phone? Do they simply never upgrade the OS?", the metrics would suggest that no, they do not. Some of that is the pain of doing so, but much of that is the carriers not making it available/not supporting it.

Date: 2013-01-24 05:10 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Android can have good battery life too. It all depends on the handset. It's like you're comparing an OS with hardware. That's the problem we get having more than one piece of hardware for it to run on, instead of the mostly identical iPhone.

OS upgrades are simple. At least with Samsung. Just plug it in and use Samsung's Kies App. Of course I can't speak for other brands.

The only definitely bad thing is the apps are not policed as well as those on iPhone. Watch out for malware.

If only...

Date: 2013-01-24 05:57 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
If only there was a way to run Windows on Apple hardware... :p

--
Unseelie

Date: 2013-01-25 07:01 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The point I was trying to make, you in fact also made (which leads me to believe we're not reading each other's message quite right o.O) is definitely about the device/handset. Picking the right combination of hardware/battery is essential. iPhone hardware is fairly standard. Devices which run Android are certainly not. The market is full of companies trying to sell their 'cheap'(and nasty) devices running Android.

If the concern is about user friendliness, maybe there should be a write up focusing on the differences between Android and iOS, not a particular phone which happened to run Android (along with its particular manufacturer's modifications).

Kies had teething issues. I don't deny it. Now it's matured a bit. At least on Windows platforms :) Just make sure the Android phone is on Kies mode before plugging it in to USB.

Hopefully your new phone serves you well.

interesting

Date: 2013-01-24 09:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jonathanweatherhead.wordpress.com
Yup Android is the far superior choice for people with some tech savvy, and it's nice hearing the perspective from someone who's used both brands. But don't buy your phones out full; always try to get one with a plan. I picked up my HTC Desire for $50 (still going strong almost 3 years later) iPhone battery is pretty good but the nice thing about Android customization is that you can tweak it quite a bit. I'm able to get just over a full day of reasonable use out of Desire. On topic of customizing, custom roms are the way to go for frequent OS updates - The stock vendor roms are usually sluggish and updated quite infrequently. CyanogenMod is worth a look. Shucks about your screen :( It really does depend on the orientation and momentum of the drop though - I too have shattered my screen lol. The phone dropped many times before with no real damage but that one time, the screen shattered from a corner to the center. So I'm gonna throw up an Android app here because I've been finding it so useful - check out 'My Data Manager' (not at all affiliated)

Date: 2013-01-25 03:52 pm (UTC)
maxomai: (Default)
From: [personal profile] maxomai
You forgot the all important iPhone pro: If I have one then I fit in with all the other executives at my and other companies and they'll accept me as one of them.

I'm convinced this was the central motivation for my employer's recent none-too-informed pilot with iPads.

I'd add another plus..

Date: 2013-01-25 11:24 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Android = hackable, rootable, file systems I know. Also Dev for Android apps is way cheaper.

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Jessamyn Smith

April 2013

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