Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Problem with Android

As some of you know, I recently moved from Android to iPhone for my smart phone.  This wasn't as big a switch as it might initially seem, I'd started out with an iPhone 1 several years ago and really liked it but it was really more a problem with the carrier over the device.  So, when Verizon came out with Android phones about two years ago, I moved carriers and smart phones.  Now, I'm still with Verizon but back to iPhone.

I love the idea of Android but find the implementation to be unsatisfactory.  There are so many manufacturers (HTC, Samsung, Motorola, LG, etc.) and even more models to choose from.  Most manufacturers customize their Android phones with their own user interfaces and an array of pre-installed software (bloatware).  I really liked my HTC Droid Incredible for about the first year.  Then I realized that I probably wasn't going to get any more firmware upgrades and I started running into serious problems with the Verizon bloatware.  I finally ended up rooting it and installing Cyanogen Mod as a new operating system.  And that worked pretty well and I was glad that Android doesn't make it a crime to want to make alterations to your phone.  At the same time, I resented having to root it in order to continue to have a functional phone.

One of the things I like about Android is the overall spirit of innovation.  They really do come up with some interesting hardware and software.  But what really pushed me into the iPhone camp was the most recent Google flagship phone - the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.  The first Android phone I had was the Nexus One.  I really liked that phone.  Unfortunately, it suffered from the same carrier problems as did the iPhone 1.  So, I moved on to the Droid Incredible, which came with its own carrier-imposed issues.  I was looking forward to a pure vanilla Android experience along with a better camera.  Unfortunately, Verizon refused to provide that and for all of the impressive innovations of the Android ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich) interface, it was put on a mediocre piece of hardware.

A tech journalist on Android Atlas Weekly recently stated that the Apple iPhone has become the safe choice among smart phones.  It may not have the same WOW factor as some of the star Android attractions, but you can be assured that Apple will continue to update and support it for at least 2 years.  Just about every app imaginable will be made for Apple devices and often first.  There will be hundreds or thousands of accessories available from battery extenders to cases to speakers.  What I was really looking for was a better camera, and iPhone does have one of the best cameras in a phone around.  And, if you happen to live near an Apple store, you'll get stellar customer support.  Add to that, great resale value, and it's hard to come up with a good argument against.  In a world of two year carrier contracts for phones not designed to last for two years, it's comforting to know that you can sell the one you've got.

That said, the phone that's really piqued my interest at present is Windows Phone 7.  I like the fact that Microsoft has really made an attempt to rethink the smart phone.  But Verizon has yet to embrace it so I'll stick with my iPhone 4S until something better comes along.

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