Farewell To Android

An iPhone 4S and a Nexus SOr: why I’ve finally switched to iPhone.

I’ve had my new iPhone for a couple of weeks now. It took me an hour or two to get my Google accounts and apps set up. Then I erased and reset my Nexus S. I haven’t even thought about picking it up again since.

And so, it seems, my decision to go for an Android phone three long years ago (that’s also three phones ago) now counts for nothing. In that time, I evangelized for Android, and probably helped convince a few people to opt for an HTC or Samsung over the ‘ubiquitous’ iPhone. But over the last 6 months or so, I found I was evangelizing less. I was starting to tire of Android and I was starting to covet the iPhones I saw around me. Here’s why:

Hardware

My first two Android phones weren’t the most powerful devices out there, so it would be unfair to criticize them now, 2-3 years on. But my most recent phone, a Nexus S, was broadly praised as ‘the best Android experience you can get’ when it came out. The hardware, to be honest, has been relentlessly ugly compared to iPhones. Outsized screens with poor touch controls, chins, off-black plastic, multiple logos, a general flimsiness which at least suggests lesser build-quality… all these bugged me about my Android devices. The (white) iPhone 4S, on the other hand, looks and feels dandy.

Stability

I’ve had so many problems with call quality, battery life, random crashes and strange behavior on Android. Frequently, the problems have been unpredictable and difficult to duplicate – the most frustrating type of error. It’s just not acceptable that a phone crashes in the middle of a call and restarts. Who cares about ‘open’ if keyboards get stuck and calls can’t be answered?

Software & User Interface

Most software you’d want for your phone is available on Android. I mean, it’s not Windows Phone 7 (fnarr). So the apps aren’t a problem. The problem is Android itself and especially Ice Cream Sandwich, its latest version. I’ve been using ICS since December (it arrived via OTA at the Softonic Christmas party: perfect timing!) and I’ve never liked it. ICS is full of user interface disconnects: experiences that change from app to app, making the process of using the phone always a bit ‘Oh yeah, now I have to do that because I’m in this app’. Added to this, Android’s aesthetics are atrocious. The system fonts, colors and overall design are not beautiful. Over all, Ice Cream Sandwich feels like it was designed by a hobbyist themes creator rather than a professional industrial designer. It made me ashamed of my phone… and myself.

San Francisco

…or to be more precise, the iPad I got on a work trip there. Since I started using iOS regularly in September, I’ve grown to love it. It might not be perfect but it’s unquestionably better than Android. And the build quality of the devices is still several steps ahead of what you’ll get running Android. I’ve been a Mac user since I was about 13. I love my MacBook Air, loved my iMac (it’s a bit old and creaky now), love my iPad, love my Mac Mini, and am already starting to love my iPhone. It just makes sense. (By ‘love’ in this piece I mean: ‘am very happy with’).

So farewell then, Android. It has been a moderately long road if you think of the way tech shifts over three years. When I originally wrote this, I included a bit here about how I might look you up some time in the future, like an old flame. But I’m not that kind of man. We had some fun but I’m just in a much better place with iPhone. Sorry but it’s over, Android. Finished.

[Adapted from a post on Google+]

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