The Android Conversion Failure

Let’s put a little context into this story so you can understand exactly where I am coming from before giving me a hard time. Way back in 2007 I was using a Windows Mobile phone, I was a geek and loved that I had a phone that I could get my email on, surf the web (a little anyway as Pocket IE was really really bad!) customize my home screens, hack the ROMS and much much more when everyone else had a basic Nokia device that could only do phone calls and send SMS messages.

2007 would be the year that really changed my outlook on mobile technology and of course those around me eventually too. 2007 in case you hadn't guessed yet was the year that the iPhone was officially launched, June in the United States but I had to wait until November for the UK launch. Since picking up that first device with the soft touch capacitive screen and innovative multi-touch interface, I have been totally hooked on this brilliant device.

The last couple of years I have started to become bored a little of iOS; as it has looked pretty much the same since 2007, sure it has had many improvements and added features but it still looks and works the same. Last year I decided to sell my trusty iPhone 4S and go all in with Android, buying a Samsung Galaxy S3, I returned it shortly after as the hardware was awful and I went straight back to an iPhone 4S. I upgraded later that year to the iPhone 5 but again this year started to yearn for something new and fresh.

I did my research and decided I was going to buy a Nexus 4 and run it alongside my iPhone 5 at first and then hopefully let it take over full time. I got it a few weeks ago and started setting it up how I wanted, with all of the apps that I use regularly on my iPhone 5. Let’s get this down right now. I am an iPhone power user, I use lots of apps and use my phone constantly for lots of different things. Apps are my life. After finding some of the same apps on the Nexus 4 and alternatives to other apps, it became really really apparent that Android apps are just nowhere near as good as their iOS counterparts in my opinion. Let’s be more specific. They don’t look as nice, they don’t function as well and they are very very inconsistent too. With iOS apps, navigation is all done in much the same way, not so with Android. Also some apps don’t work with the Nexus 4 yet. ITV Player, which I use quite often, is an exclusive to Samsung devices for a few more months; very disappointing.

Twitter is a huge part of my day to day life. The apps for Android are really really poor in comparison to my chosen iPhone app, Tweetbot. The only app that appears to give you any sort of notification is the basic official Twitter app. If you like to block certain tweets or want to do anything special with Twitter, forget it. In fact, moving onto notifications, I found the whole Android experience like looking at my phone with my eyes half closed. Very few apps appear to give you push notifications and there are no badges for unread items. I found this really hard to grasp or keep up with. Did I miss something here?

Next up, my Polar Bluetooth heart rate monitor, I use it with a few different apps for counting my exercise calorie burns. This particular experience brought me the most pain. Intermittent connection drops and sometime it wouldn't even pair with the heart rate monitor at all. No such problems with my iPhone 5. It works perfectly every single time and is totally reliable.

The in-car experience is another area of great concern for me. I use a Bluetooth car kit and a separate Bluetooth dongle for audio which just plugs into my cars 3.5mm AUX IN connection. The Nexus 4 connects to both but the sound quality is awful during telephone calls and the dropouts while using A2DP Bluetooth audio makes it a really unpleasant experience. I probably don’t need to say this, but here goes; the iPhone 5 works perfectly!

In summary, I have come to the conclusion that Android can do a lot more than iOS devices but that comes at a cost. It doesn't do the things that the iPhone does anywhere near as well. For me, I have matured as a mobile phone user,  I no longer want to theme my device, hack my device or any of the other user customizable things that Android devices can offer. I just want a phone that works all of the time, is beautiful to use and hold and gives you the best app experience of any platform. When I start to see apps on Android of the quality of the likes of Fantastical on iOS, I may start to look again at Android. But until then, whenever I am bored of the iPhone, I just need to use Android for a day or two and I immediately fall back in love with my iPhone. Sorry Android, I tried a couple of times to love you, but you really aren't for me.

Written by Chris Oldroyd