I’ve always liked the philosophy of Android (open source, free, etc), but never felt it was quite ready for me. It had a somewhat jerky interface (fixable or not, hard to say), felt slightly less intuitive than iOS, and had a need for additional customisation that the iPhone never seemed to require. No-one ever had to explain how to do anything on an iPhone to me, whereas with an Android phone, some things take a little more working out. Driven here by my iPhone’s woeful battery life, I’m investigating alternatives…
Things are looking much better with Android now. Most Google-branded Android phones, at least, continue to get patches, even if the majority of Android handsets (unlike Apple’s iOS devices) are stuck with an older version of the operating system. Having borrowed a Nexus S from a colleague, I have to admit the differences between Android and iOS are not as substantial today as they were a few software versions ago (I last used Android at Cupcake… and not very much then). You kind of understand why Steve was so mad about it. I was able to upgrade the phone to Ice Cream Sandwich without too much trouble, and have been playing with it (on wi-fi only, curse my micro-sim!) for a day or so. Will continue to explore for the rest of the week.
A few immediate limitations include the lack of threaded email for Exchange (and, indeed, any free email app that will do the same… reluctant to commit to a premium app just yet, need to read more reviews first), and a slightly laggy interface… but this is year-old hardware running months-old-software, so that’s really fair enough.
More thoughts and observations will follow that will hopefully provide a guide to other iOS users tempted to cross the chasm to Android… And if you’re the right combination of curious, experimental and fed up with the iPhone 4S’s battery life, then you can copy my (draft) plan… of selling the 4S, buying a cheapish Nexus S off eBay (around the £200 mark), and considering the iPhone 5 when it (maybe) launches in June, if its amazing-sounding enough.
I still have concerns and things to test with Android, not least music playback and battery life, GPS and running apps (will have to get out for a run for the first time in an age to test out Runkeeper!), gaming, and a proper App comparison with my iPhone (I’ll provide a percentage match for iOS vs. Android on my 50-60 installed Apps). Anything you’d like me to look into, compare, contrast, or generally work out how to do on Android that is vital to your iOS experience, let me know and I’ll give it a go!