A few things happened recently, which are causing an unexpected and totally interesting change in my digital life.
1) On the last day of our vacation, Theo dropped our iPad on a brick patio, smashing it to bits.
2) I realized that I could save over $100/mo by consolidating my wireless accounts, and moving our phones from AT&T to Verizon.
So, I did two things, that are separate but related.
Instead of buying another $500 iPad, I got a $199 Nexus 7.
And, in the process of switching to Verizon, I traded in my iPhone 4 for an Android-powered Galaxy S III.
I’ve been an Apple user for a long long time — my first computer was an Apple IIe; Apple was standard fare throughout high school and college, (with the exception of a few years) my entire professional career has been Apple-based, and I’ve been an iPhone and iPad user. Despite all of this, I don’t consider myself an “apple fan boy”. I am absolutely devoted to Apple desktop and laptop products — my daily computer is an 11″ Macbook Air and I can’t imagine that changing anytime soon — the size, fit, finish, and smoothness of the OS are unmatched IMO. And Mac OS is still a reasonably open platform (compared to iOS).
But I’ve been itching to get off of iOS, and I’m super excited to have Android in my life now. While I appreciate that same fit & finish in iOS, I have been feeling suffocated by Apple’s ultra-tight control over the platform. Even just using both Android devices for half a day (I got them both yesterday), I feel liberated. Specifically:
I love the way each Android build can be customized. I know this creates some problems. But the fact that my Nexus 7 (meant for reading) and my Galaxy S III (a phone) present a different experience on top of the same OS is very cool. While there’s no question that the variety in core paradigms (where the buttons are, what they do, how you swipe to log in, etc.) is confusing as a whole (especially to newer or less savvy users), it just makes me happy to be part of a platform where it’s possible to experiment and try new things.
I like how configurable the Android desktop is. I’m a geek and like configuring things, so am in the minority globally, but already I feel like my phone fits my life much better than it did before (mainly due to the customizable widgets).
Sharing. Man. Sharing on iOS has been such a bummer — not being able to, say, share to Tumblr from a web page. I love the extensible, built-in sharing tools on Android.
Defaults. Similarly — now Chrome is my default browser. Android lets me choose. Maybe I’ll want to use a different browser at some point in the future; who knows; but I’ll get to decide.
Over all, I’d say Android feels more like a mobile version of MacOS, than a knock-off of iOS. And I like it that way.