I’ve been an iPhone user before. I used a jailbroken iPhone as the limitations of the original OS are just getting a bit old now. No multi tasking? Icon sorting on the springboard is a mess, camera is a joke. The list goes on…
While jailbreaking fixed some of these issues, like multitasking, and improving the camera slightly, one can tell that the iPhone wasn’t meant to do that natively. It is always a workaround. Therefore the user experience outside of apps was just not good.
Enter Android on the Nexus One: I am using the phone only since a few days but the difference in user experience and workflow is staggering. Basically, the ability of keeping all your essential apps open ALL the time makes all the difference. Somehow the Nexus One manages to keep 10 to 20 apps open at the same time without significantly slowing down. It’s mind-boggling…
Here is an example how this plays out in real life: Today I was finding my way to my appointment in the center of London via Google Maps, checking my friends Latitude, I saw that he was not at the agreed meeting point. I quickly (press home button long brings up task switcher or use 3rd party app) switched to Google Talk to catch him on his Android Device (HTC Hero) to clarify what happened. He tells me where exactly he is and I continue to use Google Maps to get his location. It’s just flawless back and forth switching between two programs that are meant to be used in multitasking mode.
This is how it would be on the iPhone: You simply cannot do what described above as quickly on the iPhone. You start Google Maps, you close it… If you were in a certain view you lose the state… Then you open the chat program, you wait for it to load, you chat, you close it and so on… It’s just boring!
The time of waiting for apps to boot up sucks. The jailbreak solution takes away the loading of the apps but as I said it just is not as smooth as the Android solution. The iPhone is simply meant to only run one app at a time. Which is ridiculous if you think about it.
Arranging the home screen & widgets
Another huge plus is the possibility to arrange your home screen exactly the way you like it.
I bought so many apps on iTunes that I kinda lost oversight over them. If I would’ve been able to group my apps that would’ve been tremendously helpful. Yes, you can move the icons but it’s a joke. You move one and all the other move as well… You don’t exactly get the result you were looking for -> poor experience.
Jailbroken iPhones can use folders but I found them to be a pain to set up and to actually use as they were slowing my iPhone down. Actually the whole jailbreak process slows the iPhone down in my experience – it’s a hack – a good one… but still a hack.
Android has all that stuff natively plus more. You can use folders, arrange icons freely and use widgets on top of that. So i have one screen for games, one screen for office and productivity related apps, one screen for multimedia and so on. It’s just the way it should be…
Regarding the range of apps: I think that the iPhone definitely has the upper hand here. There are just more apps available on he iPhone. But the Android App Market is catching up really quickly.
Better Google App Integration
Another big plus is the better integration of Google Applications on Android as i use almost every Google App that there is for end users. So that is a massive reason for me to use Android. On the iPhone Gmail sucks (I didn’t like the native iPhone Mail Client btw.). On Android it ROCKS!
I have now basically all the core apps that i was using on the iPhone also on Android. Here is a list:
Pretty much the same experience as on iPhone.
- Google Maps
Latitude makes so much more sense now because you can just have google maps run in the background and your friends can always see where you are. On iPhone it is sh*t as you couldn’t have maps on all the time.
- Google Tasks
- Google Calendar
Was browser-based on iPhone. This works just better.
- Google Talk
Deeply integrated throughout Android. It is always just a click away. If your friends are on Google Talk you will find that you will chat more with them once you have an Android device.
Very nicely done Twitter App. Not as good as Tweetie 2, but good enough! I wish it had offline functions.
Inbox is still missing. You get an alert when you have a message but it’ll direct you to the browser.
- Chomp SMS
iPhone-like chat style SMS
- Google Buzz
Browser app. This is the thing though. Browser apps work just so much better on Android. They even thought of removing the browser bar once it is fully loaded. On iPhone they sucked b/c there was too much screen real state covered by Safari.
A google reader client with offline reading capabilities. Great for reading stuff on the tube.
- Tube Downloader
Downloads YouTube videos so you can watch them offline
The WordPress client on Android is better than the one on iPhone. Part of this post was written in offline mode on the tube.
- Beam Reader
I was using GoodReader on iPhone and i like BeamReader better. The line wrap feature is nicer, i think.
- London Tube Status (with Widget for Tube Status)
- VLC Remote
This program I love. I only recently discovered it on the iPhone along with Airmouse. You can just lie on your bed or couch and remote control VLC on your computer. It’s awesome. The iPhone Version is better done… more features. And Airmouse I haven’t found for Android.