While in college I was fortunate enough to have a part-time sales job with Verizon Wireless during the early days of modern smartphones. My first day on the job was nearly 4 months after Apple released their first generation iPhone. Thanks to Apple’s exclusive deal with AT&T, I had a lot of hands on experience with second rate devices that included, among others: the Palm Treo700W and the Blackberry Curve.
It would take Verizon two years to land a device that could sort of go toe-to-toe with an iPhone (at this time, Apple had already released the 3GS). In November 2009, Verizon started selling the Motorola Droid and the HTC Droid Eris. I immediately took my Blackberry to a farm upstate and began using the Droid Eris (I thought trackballs were really, really cool…sue me).
I immediately fell in love with Android’s potential. You could seemingly do anything you wanted. I even nerded out and rooted my phone so I could over-clock it’s processor. But while it was apparent what Android could become, it wasn’t quite there yet. The operating system was wonky at times, but where Android at the time really felt short was in hardware. The camera quality was marginal at best, the battery life was a disaster, and when compared to an iPhone, Android devices were ugly.
So the day I left Verizon I sold out, switched my carrier to AT&T, and bought a gorgeous iPhone 4. It was pretty obvious that at that point in time, the iPhone was just better. Anytime Apple would release a new model, I would upgrade (I think I had 3 different iPhones in 3 years). While I loved the iPhone and iOS, parts of the experience were lacking. None of my favorite or most used apps were default Apple apps (with the exception of iMessage). I was using Mailbox for email, Google Maps for directions, Sunrise for calendar, Chrome for web browsing, Spotify for music, and Dropbox to store photos. Only Apple makes it impossible to truly use these services as your defaults. I found I was no longer enamored with the iPhone / iOS experience.
In September 2013 I began to consider switching back to an Android device. I started researching and stumbled upon Paul Stamatiou's post on why Android is better. That post swayed me. So I purchased a used Samsung Galaxy S4 off craigslist and gave Android a second chance.
I’m glad I did.
The battery life is as good, if not better than my iPhone 5. Being able to truly customize my Android experience has been awesome. I use SwiftKey as my keyboard, Hangouts as my default SMS app, and Cover to replace my lock screen. And for most popular apps, there is a high quality Android version (this certainly wasn’t true in 2009).* I love being able to use my phone the way I want to.**
If you’ve been considering giving Android a shot, I highly recommend it. Let me know what you think: tweet at me.
*I haven’t found a Twitter client for Android as nice as Tweebot. I’m afraid I never will. There are still a few popular apps that are iOS exclusive such as FrontBack, and QuizUp.
**For a later post, I plan on diving deeper in to some of the Android niceties.