Last week I briefly mentioned that despite being an Apple fan-boy, I had switched to Android with a Samsung Galaxy Note II. The main driver was the loss of Google Maps from the Apple ecosystem.
I received quite a few emails from confused individuals, asking for more details. So here goes…
First. Don’t even think of Blackberry, Nokia or Microsoft. Only iOS and Android matter at this point in time. To use iOS, you need to have an Apple phone, the models ranging from the 3GS to the recent 5. With the Android system, you have a wide choice of vendors, ranging from HTC to Samsung to LG to Nexus.
For me, Maps was the deciding factor. If Maps and Navigation are important to you, then there is no contest. Get an Android phone. If these are not critical, then it comes down to how you want to use your phone and how much you want to tinker.
iOS is like Jay. Calm, composed, in control. Android is like Veeru. Helter-skelter, haphazard, funny. (It can be argued that Sholay works mainly because of Veeru and the highly under-rated Dharmendra…but that would be too much of a stretch if applied to these two phones).
If you want a phone that works out of the box that is simple and straightforward to use, with typically just one way of doing things, with an App store where all apps are screened, where everything works and crashes are rare, then go for iOS/Apple. Also, being expensive, an iPhone has bling value. And everything is nice and pretty and consistent.
If you however feel constrained by Apple’s chains and are the type who will jail-break the iPhone at the first opportunity to get non-existent features like draft SMS, scheduled SMS, etc, then it’s best to go with an Android phone. The Android ecosystem allows you to perform the same task in multiple ways. To delete something for example, I can swipe, long press or use the menu key. The multiple home-screens with widgets allow a better use of productivity and other apps. You can buy and download apps from multiple sources and if you want to experiment, the Android system gives much more leeway than iOS.
There are certain iOS apps however with no Android equivalent, e.g. Papers for scientific publications and Osirix for radiology images. Android also does not have a decent RSS reader like Reeder or a good notes app like Simplenote. However, if you are a Google user, the integration with Gmail, Calendar, Picasa and Drive is astonishing. iOS Mail for POP/IMAP accounts is better than the native Android Mail. But if you use Gmail instead of POP accounts, then Android is far better.
For most people, the biggest pain points are their Contacts and Calendar information and the fear of losing these when their phones are stolen or crash. The best way to secure this data is to use Google Calendar and Google Contacts and sync them with your phone…both Android and iOS do this well, though iOS tries to initially force you to use iCloud…which is just not as good.
It all eventually boils down to what you want from the phone. Maps – Android. Gmail and Google power user – Android. Papers / Osirix – iPhone. Jay-like personality – iPhone. Veeru-like – Android.
I currently have both phones with me, since I can’t bear to give up my iPhone 4S. I am now officially a digital bigamist (thanks Vishal) and have finally come to understand why man was not meant to be monogamous.