Leaving iOS

After 6 wonderful years, I’ve left iOS for Android.  Thanks Apple, it’s been fun, I have no complaints.   Well, except that you’ve turned the population of people I interact with into robots who stare at their devices for most of the day, but ultimately it’s hard to hold you accountable for that.

My partner @antrod predicted I would flip back within a couple weeks, but it’s not happening.  I inadvertently burned the boats when my wife’s phone got stolen this week, and I gave her my iPhone 5.  No easy way back.

Scuttling the fleet

I picked up one of Google’s very cheap, very good Nexus 4 phones ($250 with no contract) and off to the races.

Why switch?

Fingerprints be damned, I think the pace of hardware evolution of the iPhone is slow at this point.  I think Android is gaining steam and will inevitably surpass iPhone’s experience for most users, and it seemed like a good time to hop on the train.  Plus, for geeks there’s perverse pleasure in the pain of switching platforms and learning a whole new system.

Good things so far

The hardware, despite being a generation old, feels better.  Bigger screen, faster process, more responsive.  It’s easy to underestimate how happy faster responsiveness will make you on a touch screen, because you get used to the lag of a slower device, but it’s great.  And this is a piece of discount dated hardware.

The deep integration of Google products.  Platform congruency with Apple was not that useful:  iTunes sucks, Apple calendar is pretty bad, apple contacts are bad, iCloud is pretty bad.  I remember thinking that it was a good idea to be all Apple with my laptop and phone but can’t for the life of me remember why.  Google, however, pervades: gmail, maps, contacts, calendar, etc.  These all work better on Android.  Switching contacts is particularly a revelation, whereas before I was stuck with my Mac contacts, Google contacts, and some work exchange contacts.  Yes you can sync but it’s not reliable, or wasn’t for me.  Now I standardized on Google contacts, could easily merge and de-dupe, easily edit in a modern browser experience… and it seamlessly updates on my phone in seconds.  Killer.

Th notification center, which is pretty useless on iOS, is awesome.  Swipe that thing down and you find out a bunch of relevant info on what’s new since you last looked at your phone, and you can clear through it pretty easily


Not Great Yet

Some of these may get ironed out as I learn the system.

  • Lack of notifications popping on lock screen, I was used to this from iOS
  • Slower charging: lightning connector switch sucked, but after I spent $150 on cables, it was nice because that cable charges twice as fast as the micro USB
  • Less battery: seems to be a little weaker, though frankly have become accustomed to plugging in all the time
  • Apps: many of the big ones are almost at parity quality with iOS, very few outside Google seem better, many are worse.  But I haven’t found a critical app for me to be absent, and the overall experience feels fine.
  • Notification of a new SMS or new voicemail is extremely discreet from the homepage, so I often miss it
  • The inline controls on headsets: volume up/down, double tap to skip a track, don’t seem to work on Android

Overall:  Great for me.  Super happy so far.  Not sure I’d recommend it to my wife, as I’m probably tolerating some jankier apps without complaint in service of some enjoyable geekery and novelty that she wouldn’t value at all.




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Written by Josh Hannah
Josh Hannah joined Matrix Partners after a career as a serial entrepreneur (Betfair, eHow, wikiHow.) Read more about Josh.

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