For the last few years I’ve found myself putting away the iPhone about once a year, for a couple of months of trying out the latest Android device. I do it mostly for work reasons to see how our various integrations behave on Android, but I’m also curious to see how Android is continuing it’s march of rapid innovation and improvement.
So I took a few notes the last couple of months, and then today saw this post, “Android is Better” – which I’m not sure I fully agree with the conclusion, but it offers up the best arguments I’ve seen on why you should give Android a second look if you haven’t tried it recently.
So go read that post, and then jump back for a few extra thoughts:
- I picked up a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (aka “Phablet“) from AT&T – after some words of encouragement by Peter Pham a couple of months back. The form factor is actually pretty awesome — it still fits in your pocket — and for maps, reading, and web browsing it’s pretty amazing VS an iPhone screen.
- I live in a Google world — google apps, voice, maps, contacts, docs, etc — and all of that stuff “just works” on Android.
- On Android there is an app for everything including customizing the lock screen.
- Apps are much more polished than they were a year ago.
- Overall Android interface is faster and more responsive.
- Notifications rock — you can reply to an email or tweet right from within the notification.
- Little things like choosing which app runs a certain action is very liberating. Annoyed that on iOS it launches Apple Maps from various map links. On Android it asks for your preference, and you decide.
- The new user experience was terrible compared to a pure Google device such as a Nexus4. AT&T loads up so many useless apps that it’s hard to know who actually uses them. I saw a wacky contact manager, a wifi app (why ?), AT&T Locker (no idea), AT&T Navigator (I’m a Waze guy), and more. Reminds me of Walt Mossberg’s craplets issue that still haunts PCs.
- Can’t stand that the power button is on the right side of the phone. I nearly turn off the device 5 times/day by accident. iPhone has the perfect button placement IMO, others should follow that model.
- The device is still running Android 4.1.2 b/c Samsung hasn’t updated Android yet. That’s a problem.
- Overall UI still feels about 80% polished compared to iPhone. Little things like the settings screen are intuitive on iOS, almost a throwaway on Android.
- Couple of things I rely on don’t work – like Spotify working on AirPlay.
So what’s next ? Waiting to see what Apple rolls out in September, but also keeping an eye on The Google Play Edition phones, which are made by partners, but run pure Android. That Galaxy S4 looks like the phone to get if you are shopping for one right now.