Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Android Betrayal


I have been with Android since it's beginning on October 2008 with the introduction of the T-Mobile G1. After three years of prophesying Android... after converting many of my friends to the Android platform... right before the launch of the of Galaxy Nexus.. I betrayed Android. I bought an iPhone 4S on Verizon.

Of course, I did NOT betray Android, it only feels that way because because a few of the Android converts constantly accuse me of being a "backstabber". And the multitude of iSheep*, above on their pedestals, give me a smug look like if they knew one day I would see the truth and that time is now.

To be fair, I have always said, that the iPhone is the best phone for most people. I just did not happen to be that person, mostly because of my lack of respect for AT&T. The latest iPhone has debuted concurrently on AT&T,Sprint, and Verizon thus everything changes.

Originally, I wanted to wait and see what the Galaxy Nexus had to offer. I wanted to experience the improved user interface of Ice Cream Sandwich. The OS that Google marketed as one that will get casual Android phone users to love their phones, just like the iSheep love their iPhones.

I have been waiting to buy a new smart phone since my Nexus One died earlier this May. Then the delays came, the Galaxy Nexus which was rumored to be released in early November has not even received an official release date from Verizon in the US. While Verizon, Samsung, and Google were fumbling around with the release date, I was observing the iPhone 4S. Like most of us, I have iSheep friends, so I know how good the iPhone 4S is. I know how good the previous four iPhones were.

On Thursday, October 28, 2011, I was driving back home from my parents house and everything clicked in my head. My seemingly eternal struggle between the iPhone 4S or Galaxy Nexus had ended, so I quickly went to the nearest Best Buy and picked up the iPhone 4S.

Now, that I have had two weeks with my iPhone 4S, let us get down to the strengths and weaknesses of the iPhone 4S in contrast to my Android experience.

What I love about the iPhone 4S:
  • The battery life! Even with the iPhone 4S battery issue, the phone still lasts a full day without recharging. Yesterday, a fix was issued by Apple, I am eager to see the improved results. All my Android phones (e.g., G1, MyTouch, Nexus One, Hauwei Ascend) would have been dead by 2:00 pm. For my Android friends that have a 4.3" screen phone or bigger, the problem is worse.
  • The size. I used to be a believer of bigger is better. But 3.5" is enough. One reason I did not like the Galaxy Nexus was it's size of 4.65". I handled a Galaxy SII phone which was 4.5" and it felt inconveniently large. The perfect phone dimensions were embodied by the Nexus One. It had similar shell dimensions of an iPhone but with a 3.7" screen.
  • The keyboard. The iPhone keyboard is noticeably more responsive than the Android counterparts. Even with Swipe on my Nexus One, I prefer the iPhone keyboard. Typing on a 4.3" phone or bigger is not as smooth as it is difficult to just use one hand. And there are times when we can just use one hand (i.e., driving).
  • Siri. Yes, Android has voice commands, but they are not as encompassing as Siri. The speed at which Siri can call people is amazing. With Android you would have to unlock the phone first and go into the application (via shortcut).
  • The camera. The camera is the best of any phone I have tested. The speed at which it takes a picture is astounding.
  • Wi-fi sync. As soon as I walk into a Wi-fi area that my phone remembers, Wi-fi automatically turns on. If I walk out of range, the Wi-fi automatically turns off. That saves me time and more importantly data! I have to stay below 2 GB. I hate you even more AT&T, trendsetter...
What I do not like about the iPhone 4S:
  • Google Maps. You do not get the turn by turn navigation offered in Google Maps for Android. How I miss it...
  • Downloading applications. Every time you want to download an application or are updating one, you have to enter your Apple ID password, how lame...
  • The durability. The phone breaks easily. I feel like I have to walk on egg shells at all times.
  • G-Chat. Lack of an official Google Chat application that runs in the background.
  • Customization. Lack of a desktop screen. All you see is the applications, which is simple, but I miss the customization of having a home screen where you can put a calendar widget and contact shortcuts. Without jailbreaking my iPhone, I can not easily turn on/off the GPS or Wi-Fi, which was a simple widget away on Android.
  • Download speeds. This is probably my biggest gripe. Instead of downloading at 4-10 Mbps on Verizon's LTE network. I am downloading at .4 Mbps to 1.1 Mbps of their 3G network. Luckily, the download speeds I get do not hinder my experience with my iPhone.
The iPhone 4S is a spectacular phone and the still best phone for most people. However if you value customization, download speeds, or big displays then Android has the better phones for you. That can all change with the release of the Galaxy Nexus and upcoming Android Ice Cream Sandwich phones. Hooray for competition which makes us, the consumers, into winners!

*iSheep and Mactards are interchangeable terms.

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