Switching from iOS to Android
In this multi-part Journal I write about my switch to Google’s Android operating system for mobile devices after almost six years of using iOS on Apple iPhones.
Part 3.2 - My experience with Android OS
Over the last three weeks I tested the Nexus 4 with Android in real-life situations. I was convinced enough to sell my iPhone 4 after the first week. Great that people eagerly want to pay €200 for a 3 year old phone! Because of that my Nexus officially costed me €190!
As we all know, Apple presented iOS7 last week. No regrets about my switch. And I’m not saying that because I just became an Android Fanboy. My professional opinion as a motion design studio owner is that Apple has lost the edge when it comes to innovative design. The app icons look like they were designed by individuals and the translucent panels remind me of Windows Vista. But let’s keep the focus on Android here. (I’ll make some small references later).
There are things I like and things I don’t. To keep it unbiased, I’ve made two top fives. I’ll just get into software features. My Nexus 4 review will be next!
Things I like about Stock Android (4.2) vs. iOS (6)
- Sharing Menu
This is my favorite feature. Being able to share information from one app to just about every other App is truly liberating in comparison to iOS’ limited “open in” menu. Now I can finally get a document from Dropbox to Google Drive and share a webpage to a friend through WhatsApp or post things directly to Tumblr.
- Dedicated Multi-tasking and Back buttons
I like the simplicity of the iPhone with it’s single button design. But that design was introduced back when it’s function was just the Home Button. Today most of us use many apps and constantly switch between them. Double-clicking seemed okay at first. But as my iPhone 4’s button became less responsive over the years things got frustrating.
Stock Android’s on-screen dedicated task switching button works great. I found out that some other Android devices have just one physical Button and no dedicated task switch button. Which makes me extra glad I chose the Nexus 4.
The thing I like most is that the three buttons are always there, except when watching things full screen, like videos. This makes for maximum device efficiency as opposed to having the buttons under the screen like on the HTC One.
The Task Switching interface is also great and is one of the many examples of a feature that is in Android at this very moment and iOS users have to wait for until fall.
The Back button is pretty handy as well. It would be impossible to go back with one thumb on a phone this size when the only option was the in-app back button in the top-left corner of iOS apps. I also like that it has a dual function as a Keyboard Toggle which makes it easy to switch between reading messages and typing back.
- Notification Bar
iOS tried different approaches to notifications over the years. I didn’t like the last iteration with the box appearing on top of the screen - especially because that overlayed the navigation of apps in many occasions.
Android’s notification bar is always visible except in full screen mode. It shows the notification briefly and then collects subtle grey-scale versions of all the Apps to indicate multiple unread notifications. Sliding down the top bar shows the full notification list.
- Camera App
I take a lot of mobile photos. The design of the camera app in Android 4.2 is really innovative. The circular menu gives you acces to all camera options with just one thumb!
The addition of Photo Spheres is a nice gimmick: it let’s you make 360-degree panorama’s like the navigation on Google Streetview and also let’s you turn them into Tiny Planets, like the one I posted last week.
- Home Screen Icon Arrangement
On iOS I found it awkward that users can’t delete the standard apps. So the apps I didn’t use ended up in a folder on the last home screen.
Android shows all installed apps alphabetically in a different menu and let’s users choose which icons they want on their home screens. I also like the fact that it doesn’t force you to keep apps right next to each other on the grid. It allows for the use of gaps between icons, which makes arranging my most-used apps work great for me.
- Quick Settings Menu - will also be in iOS7
- Currents - Could use an overhaul, but great way to read my news sites.
- Chrome - as native browser.
- Google Keep - Simple and fast way of note-taking compared to the over-featured Evernote.
Above are all great features that I really like. I do miss a few things from iOS however. Will be making a list of those in my next post!
To be continued…