I primarily changed from an iPhone to an Android phone two years ago not because I disliked the iPhone but to get away from AT&T and their terrible network. Now, my contract with Verizon is up and I can choose a new phone. Since the iPhone is not on Verizon as well, I have a real choice. Stick with Android or go back to the iPhone. I have a Droid X Android phone, which is fine enough, but I’m going back to the iPhone for a couple of reasons.
The Android platform is terrible at managing and playing media. It always has been and I am shocked to this day Google has not vastly improved this feature. Syncing songs and podcasts with iTunes is no trivial matter and the media player application itself leaves so much to be desired. Third party apps help but there is nothing I can find that comes close to the grace and elegance of the iPod features built into the iPhone. Google Music helps a little, but that service wants to stream all your music and with stricter data caps coming to all wireless carriers, I don’t know how that’s going to play.
It’s all about the apps these days and which Android has made vast strides in the apps that are available, I have found a few that I am interested in that are iPhone only. Also, it appears to be that iPhone development is still getting more love than Android development. A company may have support for both platforms but they will almost always update the iPhone app first. The big double edged sword as well is Apple’s approval process for apps. Since Apple goes through everything with a fine tooth comb, iPhone apps are generally of higher quality, both in their look and feel as well as stability.
Here is another double edged sword. Apple controls everything in their ecosystem from the hardware to the software, so they can provide a more seamless experience. Android, by definition, is fragmented. Different hardware all with different specs. Even the operating system is different as hardware vendors put their different skins and extras features on top of Android. No two Android phones work exactly the same. My Droid X, after upgrading to the latest Android OS had a nasty bug where it would randomly reboot itself in the middle of playing music or a podcast. Now who is responsible for this bug and who do I complain to? Google, Motorola, Verizon? With the iPhone, the buck always stops with Apple and they are very agressive about fixing bugs, especially one as serious as mine. I waited months for the bug to be fixed on my phone. With an iPhone, a bug that serious would have been fixed in days.
With iPhones, the wireless carriers have very little if anything to say about what goes on the phone and how things operate. On Android phones, carriers put all kinds of bloatware and apps that you never asked for on the phone. Carriers also decide which operating system updates you will get and when. I am sick of carriers telling me what I can and cannot do with my phone. All iPhones come clean, with only the software Apple wants and virtually all iPhones get software upgrades at the same time and when Apple releases them. Part of this goes back to Apple’s control over the ecosystem as they can better ensure updates will work on all iphones. Every time Google updates Android, carriers have to update their special interfaces and that takes time.
Things I will Miss
Is there anything I will miss about my Android phone? Probably the biggest thing is the Google integration. Especially Gmail on the phone, which is great. Also, Android has the best sharing features I have seen anywhere. If you are sitting on a webpage or in Google Reader, the universal sharing interface that lets you use just about any installed app to share that content is second to none.
The timing couldn’t be better. My contract is up and the iPhone 5 is just around the corner. I’m coming home.