I’m Switching To Android

I’m switching to Android. But before we get into the what and the how, we have to answer the why.

A long, long time ago, in a different corner of the internet, someone posed a single question: if you had to use something other than Apple products, would you give up Mac OS X and move to Windows, or would you cast your iPhone aside and switch to a competing mobile platform such as Android, Windows Phone, or even — perhaps if you were truly insane, or just liked to live on the edge — BlackBerry?

Surprisingly, the answer for most people was pretty easy. They’d toss their Mac and move to Windows, because at the time, the iPhone was the undisputed leader in the smartphone world. Nothing else came close to offering the same quality of iOS apps, or the same general polish and experience that iOS did. Switching to Windows, then, was the logical choice: the gap between OS X and Windows was much smaller than the gap between iOS and other smartphone operating systems.

Fast forward a few years. It’s 2014, and the situation is all but reversed. The gap between Windows and OS X grows as Redmond figures out what they’re doing with their laptop/tablet hybrids, confusing an entirely new generation of Windows users. Where is the Start button, I hear them ask. How do I shut down? Why are some apps able to run from the big-square interface and some apps unable to? Why is there a difference in the first place? OS X, in the meantime, might not have made the same sweeping changes to its interface as Windows has (at least not yet), but it has also improved in its own way, at times pulling features from iOS to bolster its little bag of tricks.

On the mobile side of the equation, it’s a different story. Google is getting better at design faster than Apple is getting better at web services, and their efforts for a polished mobile platform with a single design language and a more refined experience seem to have paid off. “Android is finally good“, writes Shifty Jelly’s Russell Ivanovic, and what’s more, finally has some quality apps to go along with it. Apple’s iOS, while still quite great, has seen little besides a ground-up redesign — while plenty of apps have adopted the new look, it’s often been at the cost ofpushing features back, weeks and months at a time.

With all that said and done, I’m switching to Android. But before you make a mad dash for your keyboard in the comments, hear me out.

Yes, my timing is a little strange, given recent events. But in my mind, there’s no better time to find out whether Android is actually good or not before iOS 8 and the next iPhone comes out. Which brings me to my next point…

Hasn’t all this been done before? Well, sure it has. Like Ivanovic, I’ve used Android before. But this time will be different — we’re still a few months away from iOS 8 and the next iPhone, so this will give me a chance to really evaluate Android, to see if its the competitor a lot of my friends and other smart folks think it is. As much as I want to disagree with them, my previous Android experience was based on Android in 2011, which was a very different time for both mobile platforms.

So, I’m switching to Android. My iPhone is as good as gone, and while I’ll still have my iPad mini for the odd review or iOS-exclusive title, I’ve chosen the recently-released HTC One (M8) as my Android flagship of choice. Over the next few weeks and months, right up until the next iPhone is announced, I’ll be using Android on a daily basis; armed with the One and a $50 Google Play gift card, I’m going to see if Android is as good as they say, or if it continues to play second fiddle to Apple’s iOS ecosystem.

Is Android actually good, or is it just good enough? Does it have the same all-in-one integration that iOS has? As a Mac user, how easy is it to transfer all my stuff across? These are the kinds of questions I’ll be asking.

Of course, I’ll be publishing my thoughts on the subject right here at AppleTalk, so feel free to get in touch with me via email <[email protected]> or Twitter (@bdyling) if there’s something specific you want covered.

Start the discussion at talk.appletalk.com.au