Sunday, October 30, 2011

Top 15 things I prefer about Android over iOS

So last week I spent most of it in North Carolina on an inventory trip, but the week before that I finally convinced my brother to drop that iPhone and get himself an Android phone.  Now I'm a bit jealous because he's on AT&T and he was able to get a Galaxy S II.  But it's ok, I'm waiting for my Galaxy Nexus. 

Anyway, he mentioned he hadn't really found anything really cool that would make him really glad he switched to Android.  So I thought I should write down a list of my personal favorite things about Android so that I could then give it to him to get him started.  But then I thought "Hey, if you are going to make such a list, may as well make it a blog post".  So here is my list!

1. Free GPS with Turn by Turn navigation.  

Can the iPhone do this?  Yes of course, but I don't know of a single free application that is worth anything available for the iPhone. Just about every Android phone, if not every android phone, comes with Google Navigation.  I've used plenty of GPS systems in the past and I must say this one works beautifully.  Well, in the US anyway, as long as you have an internet connection.  You can still download other applications if you want something that wont need the internet.  

2. Replaceable Battery.

I am so sick and tired of seeing all these iPhone charging gadgets out there that cost so much.  With most Android phones, if your battery runs out, just switch it with another one.  Simple as that.  The batteries are usually not very expensive and finding a docking station that will keep a second pair of batteries fresh for you isn't that difficult.  

3. Micro USB cable. 

The Micro USB cable that powers most Android devices is simply a lot cheaper and easier to get than an iPhone cable.  This makes it very simple to keep a few at home and at work and in the car and just about anywhere you feel you may need to charge your phone a bit.  

4. Keyboards. 

Don't like the onscreen keyboard in your iPhone?  Tough.  With Android you can change the keyboard and there is a LOT of different ones.  Plenty of free ones, but lets be realistic, chances are you will need to pay for the better ones.  But at least there is an option. There are keyboards that will guess most of the words you are trying to say, there are keyboards that will recognize your hand writing, there are keyboards where you just swype over the letters you want to type with one finger and it figures out the words.  Or there are some that have much better voice recognition.  Point is, there are options.  People are not expected to just use one way.  

5. Market. 

For the longest time one of my favorite things that I could do with Android that I couldn't do with iPhone was in the Market.  The ability to re-download anything I had previously purchased.  Well with iOS 5 Apple finally made it so that you can easily re-download anything you've previously purchased.  That's great news. However, there is still one feature about the Android Market that I wish the App Store had, and this is the ability to preview software.  In the Android Market if I pay for something, I can test it for 15 minutes.  If I don't like it in those 15 minutes, I can simply delete it and ask for a refund with the click of a button.  Can you get your money back with iOS?  yea I'm sure you can, but it's certainly not THIS simple. 

Another thing I love about the Market is the online market.  Makes it very easy for me to browse everything right from my browser and buy it as well.  It then automatically sends the stuff to my phone and installs it. 

6. Widgets. 

Widgets are both a great thing and a horrible thing for Android.  I think a lot of people abuse the widgets and because of this they end up getting poor performance and horrible battery life.  But well used widgets can truly simplify your life.  If I want to turn on or off my Wi-Fi or GPS or sound or so many different things, all I have to do is click on that widget and it'll take care of it for me.  No need to go into setup.  Or maybe I want to completely change my screen brightness with just 2 taps.  Or maybe I just like having information right there without me having to go into a specific app.  Things like my Emails, or Facebook or Twitter or weather or so many other things.  

7. Customization. 

Don't like my desktop?  I can change it.  And I'm not talking about just the background picture or placing my apps wherever I want here.  I mean the whole program (called a launcher).  I can make my desktop look totally different each day of the week if I want.  Each launcher comes with it's own unique features too. Something like Launcher Pro comes with some very neat effects each time you switch pages, while something like GoLauncher has a ton of different themes.  There is other things you can change too.  Don't like the default messaging app?  You can change that.  Don't like the default camera app?  You can change that.  There is very little in Android that you can't change. 

8. Google Voice. 

I am a big Google Voice fan, and I LOVE how integrated it can be into Android Phones.  I use it as my only voice mail program.  But I really like how I can make it so that all my calls are made using google voice or only international calls or I can have it ask me before every call if I want to use Google Voice or not or of course I can just tell it to never use it.

9. Sharing.

There is nothing here you wont be able to do with an iPhone, but in Android it sure is easier.  For example, lets say I am looking in my gallery and I find a picture I want to post on facebook.  Right from the gallery I can click on share and I get a ton of options of different ways I can share this.  I click on facebook and it gives me the ability to add some text to it and then sends it.  I can click on Share right there again and email it to dad.  I can click on share again and send it to my sister via a Text.  I can post it in Google Plus real quick too.  Or maybe I want to send it to Flickr or Picasa or Tweeter or who knows what else.  It's all right there.  

10. File Access. 

Call me old fashioned if you want, but I like the fact that I can plug in my Android Phone to my computer and it allows me to see and read all the files in the SD Card.  From there I can see and manage all my MP3 files.  Or all my videos or all my pictures.  I can put everything in nicely organized folders and know exactly where all my information is.  All my pictures are in the Pictures folder, while all my MP3s are in the Music folder and all my documents are in the Documents folder.  

This is probably a turn off for a lot of people, now a days people don't want to deal with folders, personally I NEED to be able to see all my folders.  I'm glad the iPhone allows me to have quick access to my pictures, but I want quick access to everything.  

11. Other Markets.

I like the Android Market, but I also like knowing there are other markets I can use, like the Amazon App Store for Android.  A free paid app every day?  Yes please!  Sure, most of the time they are crap apps anyway, but every now and then there is something really good.  Every morning you wake up and think "Oh I wonder what we'll get today!". 

12. Google Apps

When iOS 5 came out, Apple was making a really big deal about the iCloud.  To me the iCloud is just trying to do what Google has been doing for years.  Linking everything to my 1 Gmail account.  If I add an appointment in my calendar using my phone, I already see it in my browser at home.  If I add a contact to my Google Voice account it's already going to be in my phone.  My emails are always synced also.  My google docs documents are always in the cloud and Google Music takes care of streaming all my MP3 files that I uploaded.  

But if the iCloud allows for a lot of this to happen now, why do I have have it in the list?  Well, because iCloud only syncs up some of your devices.  Google keeps everything in the cloud so that I can easily access all of it with my web browser from any computer. 

13. Choices & Budget

Not really an Android feature, but certainly one of the main reasons why Android has become so Popular.  Not everyone can afford to waste money buying an iPhone 4S when they already have an iPhone 4.  Some of us want our next phone to actually be better than our previous.  Like, a lot better.  Some of us like bigger screens, some like smaller screens.  Some just need blackberry like keyboards while some of us have to have a physical qwerty keyboard.  Some of us like white, others black, others red or yellow or blue or whatever.  Some of us want a higher resolution screen while others just want our colors to look much better.  Some of us want to buy the 16GB version and then upgrade the SD Card later.  

14. It's not Apple. 

Don't get me wrong, as much trash as I like to talk about Apple, I'm glad they are there, I certainly respect the company.  But Apple just has this bad vibe to it.  Personally I honestly lose a little bit of respect for people when I see them with Apple products or say they want an Apple product.  If they get it just because they want simplicity then I'm all up for it.  But when I see people that buy Apple Products because they honestly think the product is superior, that to me is a bit sad.  

Depending on the product and what the person wants to do obviously.  Even I have recommended a few people to get Macbook Airs.  They are great little devices if you are looking for something easy to carry around with great battery life and a quick boot up.  But if you are getting a Mac to do video editing just because you've heard that Macs are the best for that, then I'm sorry but I will lose some respect for you. 

15. Developers and Community.  

I used to have an iPhone for a couple of years.  It was Jailbroken and I enjoyed some of the things I could do with it.  So I certainly don't want to disrespect any of those developers, I think they do great things.  But when I moved to Android and started dealing with Rooting, it's like I found a new home.  All these developers and the many Android communities out there on forums are absolutely amazing.  So many people helping each other out. It's like no matter how bad the carriers try to screw us over, the community always comes out ahead.  

Final thoughts: 

I wanted this list to be of things that do NOT require rooting your devices.  Everything I have talked about here are things you should be able to just do without any kind of hacking.  I am glad to say that there were some things I was unable to add to this list that I used to because Apple has finally been catching up.  The Notifications was one of them, but with iOS 5 Apple decided to put the Android notifications system into iOS.  But don't worry, they still called it "NEW" and "Magical". 

I also made it a point to not add FLASH to the list.  Don't get me wrong, FLASH is a HUGE one.  But I think flash is so overused in these lists that I just didn't want to use it. But Flahs is a huge part of the internet. Maybe it wont be for ever, but right now it is, and to have a browser that doesn't support it, is just wrong in my opinion.  So I'm very happy my Android phone and Tablet both can do flash just fine.  

Well that is it for now.  I'm sure that as soon as I publish this I will start remembering other things that I would have liked to add to the list.  But, that always happens.  


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