A Year on Android

Soooo…about a year ago, I said that I was debating the merits of staying with the (then quite old) iOS platform, or moving over to the Android platform, to use one of the Samsung products.

If you paid attention, you would have noticed that I got a cash bonanza from Samsung for switching to them and using their contactless payment system (much more convenient than using cards, even before I had a chip card!). Now I’m even earning rewards from Samsung for taking advantage of Samsung Pay (as long as each transaction is 5 minutes or more apart).

So, what have I missed over in Apple Land?

Not much.

Let’s see what they’ve changed since last year…on my Android phone, I can swipe any which way I want and my phone unlocks – if it’s gone to secured lock, all I need to do is put one of four fingers on the touch sensor and it unlocks for me. On Apple? I have to press the home button twice in order to unlock the device – most of the time having to enter my unlock code to get going. That is so much more tedious!

After the S6 not having expandable storage (and yes, I did go with the S6, but a 32GB USB flash drive serves a good purpose for me), Samsung decided to restore that functionality in the S7 phones, combining the SIM Card slot with a MicroSD card slot. Apple? Nope, we don’t want you to have expandable storage, never ever ever! Just buy more iCloud storage. Oh, you mean 5GB isn’t enough to back up your 32GB iPhone? Haha, oops…give us $5 per month kthx!

Oh, and how can I forget…removing the 3.5mm headphone jack? Fair enough, you were first to remove the floppy disk from desktops and optical drive from laptops, but seriously? What next…a “professional” laptop with no regular USB ports? Oh, wait.

So, here’s the big question…after a year, would I honestly switch back to iOS?

No.

Why? Well, the number of reasons are multiple – but here are a few highlights that I can think of immediately –

  1. Home Screen Widgets – If you never had them before, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. It’s so easy for me to do things without having to go into apps or having apps running in the background – e.g. I can control media just from my home screen (or from the notification drop down – none of this swipe up, then swipe right to change media as you do now in iOS 10)
  2. Back and recent apps buttons – At first, I was victim to muscle memory whereby I would try to swipe to the right to go back to the prior screen or browse to the prior page. Now I’ve trained my muscles the opposite way – I found myself trying to press the back button on my iPhone when I was using it while in Australia (more on that later!), only to find that it wasn’t there.
  3. Split screen apps – Not the most common feature that I use, but something that is useful when you’re trying to watch a video and look at a webpage at the same time. It’s a feature that proved so popular that Google implemented it in Android 7.0 Nougat.
  4. App Overlay – It’s an extension of the split screen apps, but it’s nice to be able to drag an app down to the lower right corner of the screen and keep it on top of another app. In fact, I used this recently when I was taking photos at Costco – I had the gallery open with reference pictures and then had the camera in the background so I could do the updates to those photos.
  5. Screen Mirroring – Admittedly, this was helped greatly by buying a Samsung TV (on the down money, thanks Cash Bonanza!), but since I already had a Chromecast, I was able to mirror my screen from day one out of the box. Apple? It’s not an Apple TV, so bugger off! We don’t play with other companies’ devices!

What do I miss from the iPhone?

Admittedly not much. If there was anything that was a convenience item it was something that I was reminded of while in Australia – since my iPhone and iPad are on the same iTunes account, I could remotely activate the personal hotspot on my iPhone just by going into the settings app in the iPad and turning it on. With that said, the iPhone doesn’t give you the option to (in case you may have let your password slip and not know it) restrict connections only to authorized devices

I even said that there were two apps that I used on my iPhone that I was not sure I could live without on Android – Solebon and Overcast. Well, the Overcast problem was solved with a quick search of Google Play, where I found Podcast & Radio Addict – it gives me the same feature that I loved about Overcast, plus more speed options (ever listen to a podcast at 3.0x speed…it’s difficult to follow!!), as well as support for streaming podcasts and radio stations. Oh, and it lets you search the iTunes directory…all for free (or if you want ad free, it’s like $2)

Solebon? It turns out that wasn’t an app I used all that often – I did download it when they launched an Android version, but I think there’s dust on the icon, even though it is on my home screen! 🙂