Out with the iOS, in with the Android

The numbers

I’m going to start off by giving you a few numbers.

  • I have had an iPhone since the midst of 2009 and an iPad since the end of 2010.
  • Up until now I owned the iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPhone 5 and iPad 1.
  • I have been an iOS user since it was still called “iPhone OS 3.0”.
  • I have been working with Mac OS X since 2008 on several Macs and MacBook Pros.
  • I still own an iPod 3rd generation which I purchased back in 2004.

I just wanted to point out that I have been “living” in the Apple ecosystem for a long time now and I cannot tell a lie, it has been great living there.

The Android apps

In the meanwhile I could not get around the fact that Android was becoming more popular every day. My girlfriend has some Android powered devices (*cough* Samsung Tab 3 10.1 and Samsung Note 3 *cough*) and tried to convince me of trying something new. So that’s what I did, I got myself a Samsung Tab 3 10.1 and immediately sold my iPad 1 and I wasn’t sorry at all! Not so much later I traded in my iPhone for a Samsung Galaxy S4.

As an IT and consumer electronics geek I found myself going through every setting and option of the OS and getting myself acquainted with every parameter that could be configured. After this round I searched for every app I had and used on my iPad in the Google Play Store. And actually to my surprise I found every app that I required of. Not that hard as most of the popular apps are easily available on every platform and OS you can think of (except for Windows Phone but who minds that and yes I am biassed ūüôā ).

  • There are of course the widely popular cloud based apps such as Evernote, Wunderlist, Dropbox, Waze¬†and social media apps, where data isn’t stored locally and where the companies have enough resources to build apps for every platform available out there.
  • No need to worry about clock, weather, news and photo editing apps as there are hundreds of them. If you would like to know, I use Timely, Yahoo Weather, Pulse and Snapseed.
  • Then there were a few apps I was more suspicious about finding the same or an equal alternative but this seemed to be no problem at all. My loyalty cards app FidMe also exists on Android, as do my restaurant finder √† Table¬†and¬†my gardening aid app MijnTuin. For my wine database app Wijn I found the alternative¬†Vivino¬†and¬†my cost splitting app Splittr was replaced by Conmigo.¬†The hardest alternative to find was for my soccer app My Football Pro, this I was able to replace by The Football App¬†after a while of testing apps.

The Google Play Store has far more apps than the iTunes App Store so it has more alternatives to offer to every kind of app you can think of. The disadvantage I experienced is that the average quality is less that the average quality of the iPhone apps which means that you need to search a bit longer to find an alternative to your likings. I have searched for and tested different mail apps that would give me the same feeling as the default iOS mail app but I never came across an app that could satisfy me as much as the iOS mail app did.

I tried SolMail, Evomail and K-9 Mail¬†and Evomail was the one that came close to what I wanted but at the time of testing 2 months ago it was too buggy and it still doesn’t support Exchange. So I just had to stick with the default Android Mail app which is a bit of a¬†disappointment after being used to the iOS Mail app.

[Edit] I found out about the CloudMagic e-mail app recently and I was pleasantly surprised about the interface, speed and overall possibilities of this app. I can now move on from the default Android e-mail app.

The wow-effect

I have been working with android devices for about 3 months and I can now clearly say that I don’t regret the switch at all. I have gotten used to a bigger, clearer, full HD screen very easily. The inch in difference doesn’t seem so much but it is huge (slightly¬†exaggerated but still ūüôā ).

Because of the openness of the Android operating system app developers find it easier to provide sharing functionality within other apps. It is possible to share documents, pages, links and much more to tons of installed apps where the options in iOS apps are rather limited to what Apple allows. I can send a web page to Dropbox, Pocket, Wunderlist, Bluetooth, Drive, E-mail, Evernote, Facebook, Linkedin, Messaging, Pulse, Xbmc, Twitter, WhatsApp and many more.

The multi window function (Samsung only feature!) allows you to split your screen in 2 and open an app in each half, which is very productive for multitasking purposes.

There is also the notifications center that offers more to the user than the one in iOS. You of course have the possibility to just open up an app by clicking on the notification or just to toss away the notification. But other apps offer more functions from within the message center such as directly replying to mails, snoozing the alarm, delaying calendar events and many more.

The adjustments

Of course not everything is sunshine and rainbows so it wouldn’t be fair on my part to neglect the subjects where I had to adjust my solely positive thoughts.

Simply connecting my phone to a USB port in my car wasn’t sufficient any more to play music. The iPhone has drivers that will allow cars and other devices to recognise the phone as a music player, this because of the fact that the iPod and iPhone share the same MP3 player drivers. My Samsung Galaxy S4 does not have such drivers which means that music needs to be played via an audio jack (extra cable needed on top of usb charger cable) or over bluetooth (which drains my battery way faster).

The openness of the Android operating system allows user to tweak more than iPhone users are allowed to. This means that it is easier to break something on your Android device. Apple’s iOS is more closed, protecting the users from malicious practices.

Where an iPhone automatically lights up every time you receive some kind of notification Android phones don’t. Only a few services such as Messaging and of course incoming calls are able to light up the screen. The operating system doesn’t even have such functionality built in forcing you to install apps that perform these actions for you. I installed Screen Notifications¬†(yes that is an app logo that you will hide) and configured this app to light up my screen when I receive notifications from apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter etc.

The iMessage problem

The last adjustment I had to make is probably the toughest of all and I have to admit that this currently still isn’t finished. Apple doesn’t let you leave iMessage! I tried every tip and trick I found online so that messages to my number weren’t recognised as an iPhone number but a few months later I still have people telling me that their iPhone still wants to send me iMessages despite the face that they have removed my number from their contacts and that they used the option to start sending messages as normal texts.

The conclusion

After reading this article it is needless to say that I am a fan of Android and the functionality that is provided to the users of Android devices. Where Apple has created an ecosystem where all of the Apple devices work seamlessly together Google has implemented the same kind of features with their services and even found manners to extend these. All your Chrome tabs are actively synchronised across devices, your search terms and history can be accessed from either device that has your Google account configured,…. Some might not like the impression that using the Google services harms their privacy but I myself see the upside that is continuous synchronisation and accessibility of data.

I am eager to see what Google will bring in the future for their operating system!

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4 thoughts on “Out with the iOS, in with the Android

  1. Brecht Ryckaert

    Nice opinion piece. I myself sold my iPad the minute iOS 7 came into view. I absolutely hate it.
    In my honest opinion Apple stopped innovating on iOS since version 4.2. Sure, they added some gimmicks in later versions of iOS, but true innovation was not to be found.
    Having been an iOS user from iOS 3.0 up ’till iOS 6 (and not in the least a great Mac addict), I can honestly say I was hoping for so much more:
    – a mobile version of Finder (at least)
    – Widgets (Mac OSX has them, so why not iOS)
    – Expandable storage (surely this could be easily done)
    The lack of all of this has pushed me over the edge and thus I have sold my iPad and all other iOS-based devices. Currently I’m far more excited on Android, Windows Phone and even BlackBerry 10 then on any new iOS device made by those guys in Cupertino.

    1. Dimitri Steyaert Post author

      Thanks Brecht,

      I don’t hate the iOS7 interface, in fact I think some parts of it were a welcome change but they could have done more with it I think. Apple made the interface change the biggest improvement of iOS and this is indeed what lacked, more innovation on other parts of the OS.
      Apple will have to go further than ever for their new products if they would like to take back a piece of the market that is now owned by Samsung, HTC, Huawei and other Android devices.

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