On switching from Apple to Android

My thoughts on having recently switched from an Apple iPhone 4 to an Android Samsung Galaxy S3:

  • Being able to plug my Android into any computer, drag and drop media files into the relevant directories then be able to immediately access that content on the phone via the music/video player apps is absolutely freaking wonderful. Good bye iTunes.
  • I miss the visual consistency, simplicity and elegance of the iPhone apps.  By contrast, Android apps seem to favour quantity of features and breadth of configurable options over making simple software that *just works*.
  • I’ve found the IntelliJ / Android development process far simpler  and more intuitive  than the equivalent  iOS / Xcode.  It’s also a lot cheaper, especially when you factor in the Mac Tax.
  • Not being able to uninstall the default ‘system’ (bloatware) apps installed by Telstra and Samsung is ridiculous.  I hope they both address this BEFORE getting sued.
  • The 4.8-inch Super AMOLED HD screen is superb – it’s a real pleasure to watch video content on.
  • Turn-by-turn navigation and offline maps is great – epically the later.  As a motorcycle rider who likes to get  outside of cell service areas, I really appreciate this feature.
  • The default messaging and email apps on the S3 suck.  Still looking for reasonable replacements.
  • I miss Reeder.

If I was to summarise my experience after one week: Being untethered from iTunes is undeniably the biggest benefit of moving to Android.  It’s archaic that users are forced to rely on a desktop application to manage their device for them – especially given the general ‘everything in the cloud’ strategy that’s occurring right now.  Also, Androids open and accessible approach to application development is both it’s greatest strength, and it’s greatest weakness.

 

My name is Padgett, and I’m an Apple addict

At least that’s what I think it is.  I mean, only Apple users are masochistic enough to buy the newest iWhatsIts every 12 months regardless of the nature of incremental updates, right?

Like most addicts, my relationship with my drug of choice is complicated.  Take my iPhone, on one hand it satisfies my need to communicate but in doing so I’m often left feeling somewhat frustrated.  I love my iPhone.  It has exactly the right number of hardware buttons in exactly the right places.  I don’t have to think about how to work the phone, I just use it and it does what I want it to do.  This wonderfully polished, absolute ease of use is dubbed by the Apple marketing guru’s as ‘magical’.  And I think it’s deserved.

Apple achieves this magical experience by enforcing consistency on developers, and therein lays my issue.  Apple publishes a set of design guidelines and rules that all app developers must follow should they wish access to the Apple garden, and your app purchasing dollars.  And I can see Apple’s point – to keep the magic, Apple have to control the environment.  And this is what I loathe.  Apple doesn’t just control the environment; they also control the distribution and the market.   This pisses me off to no end.  If I want my phone to whistle Dixie every time I receive an SMS, then I should have appropriate level of access to be able to do so.  If I want to replace mobile Safari with a browser that farts every time a page is loaded, that’s my prerogative.

Someone far funnier than I once said something about how the only thing faster than the speed of light is the speed at which a pizza slice can go from blister-your-mouth-hot to oil-soaked-box-luke-warm.

Well, he was wrong.  The only thing faster than light is the time it takes for an Apple product to go from chic to passé.  And that’s the exact unit of time it take’s Apple to announce its latest iWhatsIt.  In fact, it’s even less time than that because during the lead up to the we-never-actually-know-when-if-or-what-Apple is-going-to-announce, the rumour mill is already in over drive and our deliciously svelte Apple gear starts to lose some of its lustre as we anticipate what’s around the corner.

What sucks, what really gets my goat, ties it to a tree and throws *cough* apples at it is that knowing this, I still want, nae desperately desire a new iPad, knowing there’s a shiny newer one just around the corner.

About a year ago we did some development for a new client who wanted his application on the iPad.  So we purchased a couple of iPads, did a feasibility study and reported back to our client.  Lucky me got to do the study.  Luckier me got to keep an iPad.

Apart from masochistic (for all the about stated reasons) I’ve always considered Mac users to be people with little sense but really great hair.  I’ve never seen the point of a Mac.  Their hideously expensive and underpowered when compared to a PC at the same price point, and the component upgrade route is, well no one ever gets there because by the time an upgrade is required a new version is out and we all know what that means.

Then I started using my iPad.  It was just a little at first.  Some light browsing on the couch if I couldn’t be arsed to get up and go to the PC in my office.   Then I tried iBooks, ditching A. A. Milne for Neal Stephenson.  Before you know it I was over the embarrassment of using my iPad in public and getting my morning blog fix on the train ride into work.  Pretty soon I was using daily, hello Drop Box, hello ABC news, hello Instapaper.

Wifey and I drove from Melbourne to Perth.  An hour (ok, sometimes 1/2 an hour, Telstra’s national coverage is good, but there’s still great swaths of Australia where the Cooee is a far more reliable form of communication)  out of town we’d hit wotif and lastminute to find the best deal’s and reviews for accommodation.  On more than one occasion we had Google Maps navigate us to recently discovered accommodation as our (relatedly new) GPS didn’t have a Scooby.  Shit, now Wifey was using as well.

So December rolls round and I get an email from my boss, “Infrastructure have a big project coming up, please return your iPad because they need it.”  (I say *my* iPad, really it was works as they bought it and were paying the 3G bill, but hey – if you lick it it’s yours right?).

Meh, so what.  It’s just a big iPhone.  I mean, I’m not addicted or anything.

So it’s been just over a month, and I’m in hell.  I’ve looked at the Kindle (nice , but for someone who reads a lot the screen *blinking* at me every time I turn a page may as well carry a warning sticker ‘may induce homicidal tendencies’) and read every review of every tablet that was even hinted at during CES.  I tried a couple of different Android phones (it’s just a small iPad right?) and while I really, really wanted to like them they just didn’t spark anything in me.  There was no shizzle, no amazement, and no magic.

During this last month I’ve realise how much I relied on my iPad.  It got me through 3 exams (I achieved my MCPD Enterprise Application Developer having studying every day for two weeks on my train ride to work), it got us across Australia.  It’s what I’d pull out to show Mom our latest family photos on when we’d go visit.  It was part of my life, and I miss it.

Even knowing that any day a new version’s going to be announced, I still want one.  Knowing the price will drop as soon as the new version comes out, I still want one.  Knowing I’d probably buy the new version as well.  And it’s not just me, Wifey and I nearly went halves on one over the weekend.  I’m still not sure how we avoided that purchase.

I know I’ll cave, I know I’m weak.  It’s just a matter of when.  Please Lord, give me the strength hold out for the iPad 2.

I’ve been 33 days without a fix.  My name is Padgett, and I’m an Apple addict.