I do love my Android phone. I love it more than I ever loved the iPhone, and here’s a quick post as to why.
I decided to definitely switch to the Android on the day that Apple changed their T&C’s to not allow any apps to be built in anything but their compilers. I thought that this was the end of the road for me and Apple. Even though I’m not an Apple developer, the mere fact that developers could not build one app and port it to many platforms just does not sit well with me. Thankfully that decision has now been reversed, but I don’t think I will be going back to the iPhone any time soon.
In a post back in 2008, I wrote about the things I use a mobile device for, and looking at that list almost 2 years later, it is still pretty much current. The main things I use on my Android are (in order):
- Clock and Alarm Clock
- Gmail Contacts
- ToDo List
- Photos (mainly for Twitpics)
- Web browsing
Plus the occasional phone call and text message.
I don’t use that many apps, and never really did on the iPhone either. However, there were a few apps that I found that I absolutely loved on the iPhone such as TripView, the Pzizz sleep app, and the Jamie Oliver cooking app, but all those are available on the iPod Touch so I have one of these and have the best of both worlds. I keep my music on the iPod with few apps, and have my Android be my main web connection device.
I also don’t do games on mobile devices, and did not on the iPhone. I just don’t really see the point in wasting my precious battery life on playing games. (And whilst I will rant about the Android’s battery life, it is better than the iPhone, and I can have two!).
The things that absolutely stand out for me on the Android as the things that I love are:
- I have never ever had to plug it into my PC – EVER! I don’t need to put music on it, and I can not for the life of me think why I would want to look at Word or Excel documents on a mobile device (and I would use Dropbox anyway). With OTA updates, emailing or directly uploading pics, and the seameless Gmail integration, there is absolutely no need to plug this thing into a PC.
- The Gmail integration is almost flawless. I can star messages, label them, see threaded messages (yes, I know you can do that on the iPhone now). My contacts and my multiple Gmail calendars sync without any issues, now that I have set up Gmail as my primary contacts store. I love the simple dialling system where you start typing in the person’s name to find their phone number.
- I love Swype! It is so much easier and better than the tap tap tap of most other onscreen keyboards. Yes it does take a while to get used to it, but now even going back to the iPod touch is hard to type on. And, there is no way that we will ever see Swype on an iPhone so it’s another reason to avoid the iPhone.
- I have my calendar appointments on my Home Screen! and I have Calendar Alarms and an Alarm clock that works really well. This was one of the biggest issues I had with the iPhone. I was forever missing appointments because it just beeped twice and that was it! The Android will keep beeping at me every few minutes until I acknowledge it.
- I have my ToDo list on my Home Screen. I have a sync with the wonderful RememberTheMilk.com and all the ToDo’s due today are shown on my Home Screen.
- The wireless hotspot feature on Froyo (Android Version 2.2) is really cool and I have actually used it a few times and it worked really well.
- I love HTC Sense UI. I got my HTC Desire from Clove.co.uk so it is not overloaded with the Telstra crapware on top of Sense, and I think that people that are complaining about the bloatedness of Sense and the slowness of the device may be because of the Telstra issues. I don’t use their twitter client and I have not used many of their other social networking features (except having Facebook photos in the contacts list is quite nice). But I love the Home Screens (I turned off the active Home Screens on day 1, due to it sucking battery life), and the Sense system widgets just look lovely (even though you can get other widgets that do the same thing).
- I love my widgets. With one tap I can turn off the 3G connection (try doing that on an iPhone without mods), or turn the Wifi on or the GPS and Bluetooth on or off – yes you can do these things on an iPhone if you delve down through about 20 screens to get there. The widgets are just so damn handy.
Other great features are:
- The notifications panel – it works well
- Multi tasking – of course!
- The Task Killer app
- The browser works really nicely (and similar features to the iPhone browser)
- Google Maps of course!
- The night clock and alarms
I could go on… However there are some things that I really don’t like so I do have to mention those too…
- The click to dial a number feature from emails and text sucks as it built for US numbers and depending on how the number is entered, it just won’t work.
- The complete inability to copy and paste from Gmail and texts – that is a true shocker! Yes I can “share” to the clipboard, but if I just want part of the message it is a real pain.
- The battery life is dismal, but so is the iPhone’s (well 3G and 3GS anyway). The good thing is that I can swap the battery with a new one during the day if I need to. The other good thing is that if I turn off 3G then the battery lasts about double the time than with 3G turned on.
- The lack of apps – I really really want a good AU weather app and TripView for Android. But now that the Market is available for Australian apps, they should come in time. Even Skype is now on Android.
- The Facebook app is so bad it is laughable. There is no ability to see status updates by only those people in Lists, so I have to wade through all of the updates I don’t want to read to see the ones from family that I do want to read.
But for all the bad things, the good things really outweigh them, and I love this phone. Considering I tried 6 different phones last year (with the longest time spent on the iPhone), I have no desire (ha, pun intended) to switch yet… but maybe when the Desire HD comes out then I will think about it…