Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I have angered Steve Jobs

I made the switch last week... I switched to and Android phone. It had been coming for a while. I've been bored with what Apple is doing with the iPhone and nothing that was coming downstream at the next iPhone announcement was of much interest to me: no dual core, no real 4G, no real shape difference, so I switched to the more innovative platform: Android - at least for the 30 day AT&T trial period, until I decide if I want to make the switch permanent.

As a friend of mine, Cris, pointed out: Apple makes it very tough to make the move. They try and lock you in at every turn because your media, your apps, your desktop and your devices are all incredibly interconnected. But it's tough to remain in top spot for long; Apple seems to have gotten lazy, or spread too thin.

The Android devices, while fragmented, have leapfrogged Apple. Their interface has many companies bringing new ideas to market and the best of those make it into the next version of the OS. Far better than just having what Steve Jobs thinks is cool making it into the device.  There's also a great hacker community out there rooting (equivalent of jailbreaking) the device and installing more functionality that the telco carriers have locked you out of for some reason.

The first couple of weeks are normally full of me being all excited about the device and then after that finding all of the holes. I've spent the first week figuring out how to make sure I can duplicate all of the critical functionality like exchange e-mail, contacts and calendaring and other nice to haves like run-keeper. I think I've got all of the baseline stuff nailed down right now. I'm having to learn a whole new paradigm from a UI standpoint, and I'm having to manage my batter and multi-tasking much more closely than I did with apple.

Some top of mind observations around my Motorola Atrix and Android OS in general:

  • First, I LOVE how tightly this is integrated with Google.  I use Google for everything in my world: blogging, video, maps, documents, RSS feeds, pictures - EVERYTHING.  As you would expect, Google integrates very well into their own system and has tons of apps out there to bring them right to the device.  The only thing I'm disappointed in is the Gmail reader, which I'd hoped to be more like the iPad dual pane viewing of e-mails and their content side-by-side.
  • It's a pain to sync it with iTunes, especially on a mac
  • The phone is wicked fast. Dual core is impressive
  • I like that I can expand the 16GB it comes with another 32GB with an SD Card.
  • I love the widget concept, that they're constantly pulling down data so that it's ready when I want to read it, and not having to open an app to do it.
  • Going from one button to four buttons is a big change
  • I love the way all of my contacts are automatically linked
  • Why doesn't it let me sort my contact list by last name instead of doing it by first?
  • The battery goes fast on this, but I like that the battery is replaceable
  • The voice recognition is amazing. I'm using it much more often, especially for stuff like text messaging and e-mail while driving
  • The fingerprint reader/power toggle is a very cool idea for unlocking the phone
  • I'm not sure if it's the dual core of the HSPA+ (AT&T's fake 4G network) that makes it faster, but the browser is ridiculous
  • The phone can be hooked up to a TV via HDMI cable (included) and has a beautiful interface for watching movies, showing pictures, music, etc.  You can get a laptop docking station so you can connect the phone in and use it like a laptop, or get a multi-media dock and use it like an AppleTV.
  • It's interesting to see my kid's take on my phone.  Apparently in the schools an iPhone is much more of a status symbol than an Android device.  Nate's just disappointed that I would make the switch and leave him behind with his iPhone.
I have 25 days left to test drive this.  We'll see if I keep it.  So far, so good.

This is an interesting article on how Apple is still ahead of Android in many ways, and I can't disagree with any of them.

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