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The big switch. iOS to Android.

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Switching from Apple to Samsung

Since the very first iPhone came out I have been a devotee, until now that is.  I have just taken the plunge and switched from iOS to Android, seemingly bucking the trend of 2015 with record numbers of Android users switching to iOS. I’ve chosen to switch from an Apple iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.  I actually walked into the shop intending to buy an S7 but came out with the Edge version which was a bit more expensive.  The Edge had a slightly larger screen, a better battery life and looked a bit nicer with the curved glass.  I have to confess I didn’t think I would be able to make the switch without a huge amount of effort and inconvenience, but when my son made the switch (purely driven by price) and did so very easily without the big compromises I had foreseen, I started giving it some serious thought.  As an aside, I was never tempted by the plus versions of the iPhone which I considered too big for my pocket, but in fact the S7 Edge has exactly the same screen size as the 6 plus, yet the body of the phone is smaller allowing it to fit comfortably in my pocket.

Firstly, let me answer the obvious question of why?

I’ll list out all of the pros and cons, but one of the main reasons was that increasingly Apple have become stale and slow with their innovations, and the ones that are launched are relatively trivial.  In fact, there are several articles about the lack of innovations and improvements to the iPhone 7.  What attracted me to Android was the number of features, and with the S7, the pace of development and the high level of customisation possible.  Before the switch the pros and cons as I saw them were:

Pros

  • More innovative and advanced
  • Waterproof
  • Cheaper
  • External storage
  • Camera quality
  • Widgets
  • Split screen
  • Larger screen but less bezel

Cons

  • Lack of familiarity
  • No FaceTime
  • No photo sharing
  • No Apple TV connection
  • A couple of apps not available on Android
  • No headphone volume controls
  • No head to head games through game centre with the family
  • Some apps have to be purchased again

The pain of change was always going to be slightly mitigated by the fact that I have an iPad and so would not be completely cut off from the Apple world.

Ready to switch

I didn’t just jump in buy one and switch the sim.  I was taking my separation from my iPhone quite cautiously.  I decided to run my S7 minus the sim card, in parallel with my iPhone until such time I had established I could do all the fundamentals and was ready to switch.  In practice as it turned out and as was a surprise to me, it took less than 24 hours.  Although I switched for the differences between the two camps, the similarities are evident.  The thing that took the longest was exporting all of my SMS messages and importing them to the S7, using a couple of free android apps.  A similar but simpler process applied to my Whatsapp messages.  Setting up all the various applications I use has been a very straightforward affair.  Actually there was very little that I had to repurchase on the Android platform.  Most of the stuff I use is either free or I pay for through a subscription which works on either platform.  Most apps are extremely similar on either platform.

Learning to use the Android platform

The biggest learning curve is the android platform itself, it took a few days before I became really familiar with it, but then that is to be expected as you can do more with it.  When I pick up my old iPhone now it seems like something built for kindergarten.  For some people I guess that is what suits them but for me I certainly am extremely happy I have made the switch.  I am undoubtedly more productive, partly because of the bigger screen, partly because everything feels extremely fast, but mainly due to the way I can customise everything for my needs.  My calendar is permanently open on a 1-month view with a swipe to the left and my Evernote list is right there with a swipe to the right, simple. And the Google keyboard I downloaded in place of the default Samsung one makes typing incredibly quick thanks to the intelligent guesses it makes about which words will come next.  However, what I wasn’t expecting was the vast improvement in screen readability when in sunlight.  I went on holiday a few days after the switch and sitting on my sunbed doing work was actually possible, plus I didn’t have the fear that it might be damaged if it got wet.

What is not often talked about is the detail of the usability of the platform.  What I have noticed is that there are numerous little touches that are simple, yet well thought out advantages over iOS.  A couple of examples, i) pressing and holding the wifi symbol will open the wifi settings, and ii) incoming Whatsapp messages pop up with a reply box open ready to type.  As I use the Android I am discovering more and more of these type of improvements over the iOS, which definitely gives the feeling of a well thought out and advanced OS – it feels slick!

For customisation, switch to Android

In conclusion, the switch wasn’t painful and I wasn’t as tied in to the Apple ecosystem as I thought I was.  For people that like faster innovation, control and customisation capability this is the platform I would recommend.  If super simplicity and ease of use is more important, then the Apple platform is probably the one for you.

Image credit: Leszek Kobusinski / Shutterstock.com

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Steve Thomson

With a degree in Computers and Business and an IT background in Market Research, Media Monitoring and Publishing, Steve brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Priority One.

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