I've been a happy Android enthusiast for quite some time now. Android does everything I want, plus a whole lot more. But I wasn't always an Android user. At one time, I owned an iPhone. In this article, I'll share my reasons why Android is a better fit for my needs and who I think should stick with iOS.
My experience with iOS
When I first switched from my old BlackBerry to the iPhone 3G, I was blown away by the experience. At that time, the iPhone was impressing folks with its improvements over the previous generations of iPhone. And for me, coming from a BlackBerry device, iOS was like walking into the future. I was very happy with the switch even as a full time Linux user.
My Linux usage matters here because I don't use OS X or Windows. So anything with regard to Linux support for iOS, came down to me using libimobiledevice for data management.
The apps provided did everything I needed at the time, plus using them was dead simple as well. The iPhone 3G was a good match for me...until I upgraded to the iPhone 4. Better display, but overall it felt exactly the same. Even with the ongoing software upgrades and iOS upgrades I found that the experience was beginning to bore me.
To make matters even worse, around this time I was exposed to Android and immediately found that it could do stuff I couldn't accomplish with iOS.
How Android won me over
The very first thing that drew me into the clutches of Android was the ability to use widgets on the home screen. This silly feature meant that I was able to see app information without actually having to stop and open the app itself. For some software titles, this was huge.
Another discovery that finally won me over for good was the software known as AirDroid. This app allows me to operate a lot of my phone's functionality from my desktop: SMS messages, remove/add apps, files, and images. AirDroid made managing a smart phone a lot easier. Plus, I could manage these tasks wirelessly, which was a huge benefit.
Why I continue to use Android
With Android you have more options, period. Removable SD card storage is one of those benefits you don't think about until you need it. You're able to even go so far as to move applications onto your SD card if you wish. I also prefer Android phones with removable batteries. This is nice because instead of replacing my phone if a battery goes south, I can replace the battery itself.
Diving even deeper into my pro-Android stance – I like the ability to customize just about everything. Even though I haven't rooted my Android phone, I'm able to choose a custom dialer, a custom launcher layout, custom SMS, interactive wallpapers, plus much more.
This means if there is an update to my phone that changes stuff in a way I dislike, I can use custom launchers and so forth to get the phone back to something I enjoy using. To me, this is a huge feature. Being able to completely face-lift my mobile device for the cost of a mobile app is an amazing option in my book. Additional items that contribute to my reasons for using Android are: the ability to use any mico-USB cable, power saving mode(s), and being able to install apps onto my phone from my computer using Google Play.
Using Android is like having a smartphone without the training wheels. As one might expect, there is a trade off when you have this much freedom. In the case of Android, it's been said that no one is "minding the store" in terms of security.
Android security isn't perfect
With iOS, you're dealing with a walled garden and other related preventive measures to keep folks from running software that hasn't been Apple approved. With Android, these restrictions are far more lax. For example, if you enable the feature from your settings, you can install software without the benefit of the Google Play store. Simply browse over to the apk package and then install it.
Then there are issues like Stagefright that can affect Android devices. Since Android phones are usually carrier specific, this means Google's updates in dealing with stuff like this might not be sent to users in a uniform manner.
In contrast, Apple handles their updates regardless mobile carrier. Generally speaking, the higher end mobile devices see patches before the lower end devices. This is one of the security flaws with Android based on my experience.
The next issue is with Google Play apps. While Google does a fair job at keeping dangerous apps away from users, the process is automated and far from perfect. Sometimes bad apps make it into the Play store. With iOS, Apple vets the applications with far greater scrutiny. Yet despite the extra care, iOS 9 has had its own security issues that could prove dangerous.
It should also be noted that I personally have never had a problem with Android or iOS security issues. But that could be because I'm thoughtful about the apps I install and where I get them from in the first place.
Android isn't for everyone
If you're willing to use an ounce of commonsense, Android is a solid mobile operating system despite its flaws. I've found it to be compelling and capable for my needs. I'm first to suggest that Android's not for less tech savvy users. I've had oodles of opportunity to put less tech savvy users in front of different smart phone operating systems to see which one they found easier – Android wasn't a winner in that regard.
But for anyone bored and wanting a more in-depth user experience from their smart phone, I think Android remains a solid option. Some readers might even prefer to go full custom and choose third party alternatives such as Cyanogenmod for their mobile OS. It's a great option if you want more of a community feel to your user experience.
For myself, I'll be sticking with Android. It's easy to maintain, provides me with the apps and features I need. Plus, it's always evolving...while providing me with ways to get more from my phone with each new discovery.
What say you? Are you someone who feels iOS offers a better experience? Maybe Cyanogenmod better suits your needs? Hit the Comments section – share your own findings with the community.
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