Mar 2, 2011
If there was a single day that convinced me that there was a huge ideological gap between the iOS userbase and Android userbase, it was the day the web Android Market launched. All sorts of iOS folks, mainly media types, were having their fun poking around the Market, pointing out all the silly live wallpaper and apps of dubious trademark status. While they may have a point about how nice the Market looks compared to the App Store, and how much crap gets through on the Market compared to the App Store (though, if you ask me – there isn’t much of a difference, and it’s not like anyone’s ever blatantly ripped anyone off on the App Store), there was one thing that stood out to me that I kept hearing: “Why would anyone switch from iOS to Android?” Well, my name is Carter Dotson, and I switched from an iPhone to an Android phone. This is my story.
So why did I switch to Android? The first reason was admittedly that it was a lot cheaper – for me to get a new iPhone 4, I’d have to go on to a new plan. So, while the deck may have been stacked in favor of going to Android, especially as I was frequently lamenting how slow and sluggish my iPhone 3G was feeling. But, I was also curious to have a phone that was designed for my geeky interests, something that would be more attuned for tinkering and hacking. I used to love jailbreaking my iPhone and iPad, but they just bogged them down and added a degree of frustration to using them that wasn’t there in just normal usage. As well, iOS’ notification system is extremely mediocre, to put it best – Android’s system runs circles around iOS’ system; it’s nice to get notifications of new emails or tweets without interrupting whatever I’m doing.
The thing that has truly fascinated me in coming over from iOS is that if there’s something I want to do with my phone, odds are, I can do it. My phone out of the box came without the ability to run non-Market apps and was on the slower 2.1 – within hours I was a rooted 2.2 user.
I can easily make a backup of my apps’ configuration files, especially my games. If I don’t want to use the built-in music player, I can easily use an alternative like Winamp – and did I mention it syncs over wifi? That easily trumps iTunes. I can just simply copy a video file to my phone’s file system and odds are, it will play – and I can easily trim any video file I put on there thanks to apps like VidTrim. There’s a Skype app that actually works in the background properly! Plus, I can use it to make all my phone calls very easily – same with Google Voice. I’m not even getting into how great widgets are. Apps actually provide viable solutions and enhance the usability of my phone, instead of feeling like working around Apple policies like they do on iOS. And did I mention that you don’t have to go anywhere near iTunes?
The differences between iOS and Android are often vast – and the way that users use and see the two platforms is so disparate, that it deserves further look. My hope, as someone who sits on both sides of the aisle, being a happy iOS user with an iPod touch and iPad, and a happy Android user with a Samsung Galaxy S, is to examine and elaborate on the misconceptions that people have of each platform, and to try to figure out why the differences between iOS and Android exist.