I’m now two weeks into exploring Android and wanted to share some more thoughts on my experience thus far. The quick summary: it’s different. Not bad, not good, just different.
Having become so used to iOS and iPhones over the last 6 years, it took some time to unlearn a lot of the small things that became second nature: the home button. The silent toggle. Removing apps by holding down and watching them quiver before you delete. However, I realize that I’ve gotten used to the device a lot faster than I expected. Horace Dediu has done some great work looking at the adoption rate of consumer technologies over time. I wonder what the consumer ‘got used to the technology’ rate over time would be. Going in, I thought I would be so sick of Android by this point that I would get myself the 5s for Christmas. It turns out that it works just fine. In my view all the complaining about how Android is inferior, while probably true in the past, is now largely going to be about how it is different (but even then, not that much).
Things I have liked:
- Installing apps to my device from Play Store via my desktop browser: Easy, clean and seamless. It just works. I wouldn’t even have thought to do this on my iPhone. The fact that any Apple App Store link clicked in a desktop browser opens iTunes immediately makes downloading it via the iPhone easier. Not necessarily true for Android
- Deep linking into apps: New to Kit Kat, the deep linking from Google search into specific apps is very clean and nicely implemented (OpenTable has done the best job so far). I look forward to more apps starting to integrate this into their builds. It got me thinking about micro apps and what the app economy looks like over time (I’ll save that for another post)
- Easier to connect: Being able to open up a contact and send a text or call through a plethora of services (WhatsApp, SMS, Viber, FB Messenger…the list goes on) straight from their contact card is great. It makes connecting with people about the individual instead of the app, and not having to switch between apps to decide what tool I want to use eliminates unnecessary headache
Pains of the switch:
- Turning off iMessage has turned out to be more of a pain than I imagined. A number of friends with iPhones have mentioned how texts haven’t gone through, even after choosing to ‘Send as text message’. Why Apple’s servers haven’t registered that I no longer received iMessages and sent that to everyone with my number in their phone is confusing to me
- No Android version: While most of the applications I use on a day to day basis are available for android, there are some that aren’t available (the ones I was getting used to before I switch that aren’t on Android being Refresh and QuizUp). Both say they are building for Android but still TBD as to release dates
- Sluggish apps: Apps feel a touch slower on my device than they did on my iPhone (most notably Uber) which is frustrating at times and affects the overall experience, causing me to be frustrated with the companies building the apps as opposed to the phone/OS itself
- Google applications are a lot zippier on Android (expected) but I wish they were more integrated. It would be great to get an email from a new sender and be able to create a contact from that, for example, and yet that isn’t possible without copy-pasting into the address book
- iEverything: The apps I miss the most are iBooks (I had a lot of content purchased through Apple), iMessage and FindMyFriends (great for family and friends). I’ve found replacements but none that offer as clean an experience
- I’m still in the process of exploring new apps and Android resources. Please leave your favorite Android apps (preferably Android only) and sites you like in the comments!