I seem to have read one too many of those “complete iPhone fanboy tries converting to Android” articles today. I decided I’d spend my lunch hours blogging about a few points that seem to always be missed when iPhone users try Android and dismiss it because it doesn’t work like their Apple product. Here are some of the common arguments:
1. It doesn’t work with iTunes!
The most glaring thing I see written and discussed is media sync. When an iPhone fanboy (I’m going to shorten this to iFan to save space) plugs in his Android phone and nothing happens, they always seem to be confused about what to do next. While iOS devices are limited to iTunes for downloading content, Android OS offers many great options for syncing content:
- Manually move content using the Android phone as a USB drive (yes, it’s legal, and yes, there is file system access)
- TuneSync – wirelessly sync with your existing iTunes library
- BeyondPod – wireless podcast syncing over the air – no computer required
- DoubleTwist – iTunes imitator which works with Android – limited
I personally use BeyondPod to grab all of my podcasts every night. It does it automatically, and it does it extremely well. I don’t have to do anything but listen to my podcasts.
2. App “X” isn’t available/as good on Android
Great, then why would you switch? Seriously, if you depend on one app, and it’s bad or not available, don’t consider the switch. There are crapps on both platforms, and some real gems. Slingplayer on Android is 5x better than on iOS. Facebook, not so much.
3. The keyboard is better on iPhone
I would agree that the iPhone keyboard is the best soft keyboard out there. However, it’s limited in functionality, and it only allows one method of input – tapping. Android’s voice input is available system wide, and it works very well. With the recently released Google Actions, you can press one button and send a text, email, or search without any further screen taps. Also, if you tried Android and didn’t use Swype, you missed out.
4. Visual Voicemail isn’t on Android
This goes back to my earlier point – you can’t use Android the same way you use iOS. iOS has VVM, Android has Google Voice (and voicemail). It works great, is very well integrated, and, in addition to visual voicemail, will actually *gasp* give you speech to text translations of your voicemail (sometimes with hilarious results).
5. I’m not a big Google Services user
If you’re not using Google Services, Android may not be for you. Much of the magic comes from the power of Google, and trying to use it without that magic is like trying to use iOS without iTunes. Explore things like Google Voice. Save on your texting plan. Use a GV number just for selling things on Craigslist. Organize all your contacts in the cloud. Share your calendar with friends, and be able to add things to your spouse’s calendar.
6. I don’t want/care about/need Flash
Great. Don’t install it. Or, set it to “On Demand”. It’s nice to have, and comes in handy. HTML5 may be the future, but we’re not there yet. I personally love being able to access Flash content on an as-needed basisi.
7. The iPhone screen is SOOOO NICE!
No question about it – that Retina screen is great. However, you were using a washed out 320×480 display for the last 3 years. That screen is also stuck at 3.5″ with no hope for anything larger. Android devices offer a variety of screen sizes and resolutions. Choice is nice.
- Google Voice
- Gmail integration
- Google Navigation – how can you miss this?
- Voice Search/Actions
- Notifications – seriously, iOS needs serious work in this department
- Social media integration
- 24 hour Try-before-you-buy Market policy
- File system access
- Cloud backup
- Apps not tied to Apple’s review process – this can be a double-edged sword, but being able to try out programs from outside the market is a huge plus in my book
- Barcode scanner
There is no doubt that the iPhone has changed what consumers expect from their mobile devices. However, that doesn’t mean that the way Apple envisions your mobile device experience is always the best way. If you don’t hate AT&T’s service, and you’re happy with your iOS device, it’s ok to keep using it. However, reality is that there is a lot of competition in the mobile space, and if you look up from your Retina screen for a second, you’ll see some cool things Android does that iOS doesn’t. Dismissing these things is a bad idea, since you might find utility in the things I listed above. Don’t be like Steve Jobs and say you’ll never need those things because I guarantee that once iOS gets them, you’ll be change your mind like the iFans who suddenly LOVE background apps.
One final word of advice for “switchers”:
Don’t write your article like you’re the shrew who can’t be tamed. Nobody cares if you didn’t switch