Mobile OS Shuffle

Android or iOS?

Last year I picked up a Google Nexus 7 so I could try out Android. I really like my Nexus 7, and as used it I began to wonder if Android could actually become my Mobile OS of choice. The portability of the Nexus 7 remains a compelling feature, and there are features on Android which iOS simply doesn't have (why can't I command-tab to switch apps, Apple?).

For the first half of the year I threw myself into using the Nexus as a primary device. I used it to write my sermons. I got a usb-to-go cable and played games with an Xbox 360 controller. I even purchased a season pass for a TV show. It was a lot of fun.

Eventually, however, I moved back to using my iPad 2 more and more. The screen wasn't nearly as good, and the keyboard support wasn't a full-featured, but when I used the iPad I didn't feel as though I was fighting my device as much. Each app I was in was used for one task, and that was it. The iPad helped me focus.

So, after nearly a year with my Nexus I've now settled whether or not I want to use it as my Tablet OS. While I think it's certainly capable, it's just not what I want to be using. For me, a tablet is a more focused computing experience than the way Android is designed. Apps in iOS feel more polished and integrated – they get out of my way and allow me to “just work.” This month I upgraded my tablet to an iPad Air and couldn't be happier with the device. The screen is stunning, and the speed of the new processor is absurd. I continue to enjoy my Nexus, and have no problem recommending the second generation Nexus 7 for anyone looking at a 7 inch tablet (and who doesn't want an iPad).

While I don't think Android is good to be used as my tablet OS, however, I may have found another use for Android in my work-flow. My Nexus 7 experience as made me think I would probably be very happy with Android as a phone OS. Android is very polished, and I don't use a lot of apps on my phone. Android's eMail, contacts, and calendar apps are stellar – and the other apps I use on my phone have nice Android counterparts. Google Now is an incredible feature, and on-screen keyboard in Android is heads and tails above the iOS one. Additionally, as my near-vision weakens (my 40's are doing a number on my eye-sight) the larger screens available on an Android device are becoming compelling. I actually would consider either a Galaxy Note or Nexus 5 as it would merge my small tablet and phone into one device (probably the Nexus, stock Android is the way to go).

In fact, Android is so good at this moment I have only two points which give me pause. First is iMessage. My son still doesn't have a phone (though that will change this year) and it's nice that he can use his iDevices to message me at will. Second is the camera. Every since I got my first iPhone my point and shoot camera has been collecting dust in a cabinet. Every comparison I've seen between the cameras in the iPhone and Android devices has had iOS coming out on top. Also, photostream has been a wonderful way to get my images on to my mobile device. Even images I load into Aperture through my DSLR are uploaded into it – it's something I would truly miss in an Android switch.

So, in the next year I will have see if I take my Android experiment to the next phase. We shall have to see.



2 Thoughts

  1. Nice unbiased article.

    You can get many of the Google apps including Now I believe for iOS. With regards to your son and iMessage have you tried the Google Hangouts app? I’ve not used iMessage, but I get the feeling that this is Googles equivalent. Its available for iOS devices, and as an extension in Chrome (well for Linux and Windows) plus it works on Android devices too!

    1. Yes, I have most installed on my iPad – but the Google Now service isn’t nearly as good as on Android. Now that Google Drive’s iOS app allows for multiple accounts it’s fantastic. I use hangouts constantly, but it needs some work before it becomes as useful as GoogleTalk (which it replaced), the chrome plugin is also extremely annoying.

      As a messaging alternative, it might work – but then I have to set him up with a gmail address under my supervision (he’s not old enough) – the iTunes account is set up that way.

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