Monday, November 18, 2013

Ditching iPhone - Finally

Since day one I've been an iPhone die hard.  I was in line on launch day for the original iPhone and followed that with the 3GS and 4S update cycle.  That puts me a full 6 years plus in the ecosystem.  For 5 years it was easily the best offering on the block.  For the past year though, things haven't been the same.

Android Screen Sizes and Resolution are higher than iPhone

I was hoping this would be fixed with the 5S, but the rumors say the larger screens are a year or so off.  Staring at the screens of folks holding the likes of the Galaxy 4 create a pang of jealousy.  I really want that kind of screen resolution and size.  Oddly, this is the same reason I switched to a Macbook Pro Retina 15" for my day to day work computer.  It's the highest-end, highest-resolution product of its type out there.  The same just isn't true for the iPhone anymore.

Battery life is better on Android

How many people do you see walking around with Mophies and other battery cases around their iPhones?  I know I have this one for my 4S.  The battery life on the iPhones is generally fine over the course of a normal day, but any time I have a mildly high use day, such as going to a conference or the like, my battery won't make it to dinner without a recharge or extra pack.  Over the life of my phone it has gotten much worse.  Android phones generally have bigger batteries resulting in longer battery life without the bulky added battery pack cases.

Google Services as the default

This is the big one for me.  Google's services are just plain better than Apple's.  Ever since Apple started removing Google services from the default OS position with no option to switch back I've been annoyed.  Bypassing Apple Maps to go to Google Maps every time makes me unhappy, but not quite as unhappy as when I use Apple Maps with middling success.

The voice recognition gets me every time too.  Siri can never understand me properly, but the microphone in Google's apps understands me correctly almost every single time.

Gmail, the go to email of choice has passed by the iOS email client format.  With functions like priority inboxes and tabs creating a new way of handling email workflow on the PC, I find myself missing that sorting in the email stream on my phone.  I want the native functionality to manage that without having to remember to navigate to the Gmail app every time.  I also find myself looking for the Gmail app every time I want to search within my email history.  Apple's email search just never seems to get it done.

For music, Google has launched their music service which will give me access to pretty much whatever I want for only $7.99 a month.  The fact that the service isn't integrated into iOS on the music side makes it relatively useless in that ecosystem.  It's not like Apple will approve the Google music app and resorting to some third party app is wildly inefficient when it skips the main music interface.  I do quite a bit of running with the Nike+ app that integrates with the standard music functionality.

Possibly the most interesting new development for me is Google Now.  The way that Google Now uses location and search data to predict what you might be looking for or interested in is downright brilliant.  I want that as the main search page in the OS.  Apple would never do that, but Google already has it.

Apps are still the problem, but not as much as before

Frankly, my consumption of apps has dwindled quite a bit.  I'm long over many of the app and gaming experiences that were so interesting 4+ years ago.  I barely game on my phone at this point.  My iPad is a better tool for gaming.  Really, most apps that are good have been ported to Android at this point. The biggest issue here on coverage is still probably games, but I think that will change with the 80+% Android phone shipment share numbers we're seeing now.

iPhones are also ridiculously expensive

At up to $850 for an unlocked phone, the prices for the 5S are ridiculously high.  The Samsung Galaxy 4 comes in around $650 and the Nexus 5 is down around $400.  $400 less is a lot, especially considering that the spec difference isn't clear cut.

My new phone is...

A Moto X.  I've come to terms with the fact that what I really want in a phone is the absolute most efficient method to access Google services.  Moto X appears to be that phone with always on voice and active notifications.  I'm curious to play around with things like the $20 Skip NFC chip that can bypass phone unlock when in range.  Seems like a more efficient alternative to even a fingerprint reader.

The Moto X is not without it's trade-offs however.  I hate the move away from the expandable storage of other Android devices.  Let me buy as 16GB phone with an expansion slot to put a 64gb card in please.  The screen is also not as good as the Galaxy S4 and similar phones.  Those screens are larger and higher resolution.  

For now, I'm waiting for the phone to arrive to see if the day to day meets my expectations.

Sunday, July 15, 2012