Switching to Android. Or not.

Switching to Android. Or not.

Andy Ihnatko, with whom I have the pleasure of working on MacBreak Weekly, has written a series of three articles for TechHive detailing why he decided to switch from an iPhone 4S to a Samsung Galaxy S3.

This isn't the story about how Apple has lost its way and no longer innovates. It hasn't and it still does. This is merely the story of one dude who got a new phone. Nonetheless, my tale presents a picture of the strengths of modern Android.

I have immense respect for Andy. I learn something from him each and every week, and his passion and integrity are enormous inspirations to me. As someone who's followed his work for a long time, this series didn't really come as a surprise. Andy's appreciation for Android and Android phones has been growing steadily and publicly for a while now. When he writes about his decision to switch, he's not trolling. He's not vamping. He's not doing anything more or less than what he very specifically states at the outset -- explaining why, for him, the Samsung Galaxy S3 better suits his current phone needs than the iPhone does.

And he's certainly not alone. Phil Nickinson and the people at Android Central love their Nexus, HTC, LG, Sony, and Samsung phones, Daniel Rubino and the people at Windows Phone Central love their Nokia, HTC, and Samsung phones, and Kevin Michaluk and the people at CrackBerry love their BlackBerrys. We're lucky to live in a time where every major manufacturer is fielding great devices. No matter who you are or what needs you have, there's a good chance you can find a phone that fits you and them.

What's most remarkable about Andy's series, however, is not just how well defined his arguments are, pro and con. It's how, in reading them, I can see both why Android better fits his needs, but also why iOS is still far and away the better option for me.

Customization

Where Andy values the flexibility of Android, I see it as a time sink. Maybe I've just grown lazy. I used to spend hours and days tweaking PalmOS and Windows Mobile, trying to get them as close to perfect as possible, just because I could. But perfection is a constantly moving, always unobtainable target. And within it lies procrastination. Now, like the spoon boy in the Matrix, I've come to understand there is no end to it, so have chosen to end it myself. Now, like the, Watchmen I've learned the value of the consistent 9-panel grid. And yes, these days even my Nexus 7 and Nexus 4 are as stock as the day they were born.

For people who love to tweak and change things up, Android is probably best choice on the market right now. But I'm not looking for a better keyboard. I just want to type. I'm no longer interested in working at my phone, I just want to work. Right out of the box, the default choices made by Apple for the iPhone let me, Captain Default, do that.

Features

The iPhone, rumor has it, was never designed with third-party apps in mind. The App Store, third-party multitasking, folders, fast app switching, non-modal notifications, etc. were all bolted on later. To this day, there's no sharing intents or inter-app communications, no way to re-set defaults, no actionable notifications, no persistent internet connections, no changeable icon states, etc. Third-party apps are still clearly, sometimes painfully, second-class citizens, especially when compared to the power Apple's built-in apps have enjoyed from day one. For Andy, that's annoying enough to be a deal-breaker.

For me, Android's origins as a BlackBerry or Windows Mobile competitor, which to this day leave it's current, full, touch-screen incarnation to struggle with frame rates, overdo screen redraws, botch scrolling, panning, 1-to-1 touch tracking, and other interface issues like nails on a chalk-board. For me, they're the deal-breaker

Apple and Google are both working to overcome the limitations of their past architectural decisions. In the meantime, each of us have different things we're willing to put up. I don't use a fraction of the features on my iPhone anyway, much less the features on my Nexus 4. But the ones I do use, over and over again, day in and day out, I expect to be polished to the point of invisibility. I'd rather put up with doing less better than doing more less enjoyably.

Apps

The same thing holds true for apps. While Andy rightly points out that all the major apps and major categories of apps are now available on Android, and that the quantities have evened out, for me the quality still hasn't. To make a poor analogy, the big beer brands are in both stores now, but one store's micro-brewers are still brewing circles around everyone else in the industry.

Part of iOS' advantage is due to Apple's historic strengths. iOS enjoys not only an incredibly mature, phenomenally built set of Objective C frameworks, but an entrenched base of developers and designers who really, truly care about the craft of making great apps, and making them for iOS.

Of all the specific (not types of) apps on my iPhone, I can count on one semi-clenched hand how many are available on other platforms. Right now, only 1Password, Dropbox, Instagram, and Netflix (1Password is so much better on iOS, I'm tempted to only half-count it).

On the other hand, Fantastical, Twitterrific, Tweetbot, Screens, Letterpress, Elements, Drafts, are all iOS only, and that list goes on and on. That's not even counting Apple's App Store-only apps, many of which, like GarageBand, have reset expectations as to what it means to be a mobile app. And let's not forget you can get Google apps on iOS, while the reverse isn't true.

As good as Google is at services, that's how good Apple is at native software.

Of course, Google is upping their game, and DoubleTwist, Shifty Jelly, Dots and Lines, and others are making absolutely gorgeous Android apps these days, so even that difference may even out eventually. Yet where Andy says no iOS app was enough to prevent him from switching, as of right now, over a dozen merge, Voltron-like, to make even the thought of leaving them behind an absolute show-stopper for me.

Diversity

Andy also points out the value of bigger screens on most Android phones. Personally, I don't think bigger screens are the issue -- I think the choice of screen sizes, or lack there of, is the issue. Some people really do prefer smaller phones that fit in their skinny hipster jeans, while others really do prefer phones so big they're almost tablets. Android phones come in almost every size imaginable, in quarter-inch increments. You can get small or large. With the iPhone, you can't. Andy wanted a bigger screen and Apple simply wouldn't sell him one. Samsung would.

I'd be interested in trying an iPhone with a bigger screen, but the 4-inch screen is fine for me. I have an iPad mini. For me, when it comes to screen size and class of software, a small tablet is far, far better than a big phone. I recognize some people prefer not having to lug around two devices, but I still think it's worth it. Just like a tablet can't yet replace my Mac, a phone can't yet replace my tablet. Not a Galaxy, not even a Note.

As to the rest of the hardware, no one else is fielding anything close to the manufacturing levels Apple is putting out right now. The HTC One might even things up, but for right now, even when I hold a Nexus 4, Lumia 920, or BlackBerry Z10, well manufactured devices all, the difference in palpable, never mind the plastics currently used by Samsung. I hold my phone throughout the day. How it feels matters a great deal to me.

Staying

It's a new year, and there'll be new software, services, and phones from Samsung, Apple, and everyone else. We live in interesting times. I'm still delighted by the iPhone and iOS on a daily basis. When and if that stops being the case, maybe I'll consider switching too. (I used to be all-in on Windows, Xbox, and Windows Mobile, after all.) Maybe the opposite will happen and Andy will switch back. Or to Windows Phone. Or to BlackBerry.

There are no more bad choices, only hard ones.

Give Andy's series a read, and you'll see how much thought he put into making his.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Switching to Android. Or not.

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I own a galaxy nexus. I like to play around with it but it has yet to show me why I should switch.

I switched to iPhone 5 from HTC Android from webOS from Windows Mobile from PalmOS. So I've pretty much tried them all except the new Windows (& I don't plan to try that one). I really didn't want to go to the iPhone as I wasn't a big fan of their multitasking. But nobody has matched Apple's ease of use, user experience or reliability. I plan on staying with Apple. My problem with my HTC Android was hardware related & the fact that I couldn't upgrade to the latest version of the software. When the upgrade was released for my phone after nearly a year beyond its initial release, the latest version of the software was already released. Sorry, but that is downright terrible.

If Apple could steal some of webOS's innovation on multitasking (love those Cards) or their gesture based movement, I would be a very happy man.

Excellent post Rene. As someone that left iOS for years (Nexus One until early 2012) I have to say the points you make are almost exactly the same way I feel. Android simply cannot compete when it comes to quality of apps and overall fluidity of the OS. They are not even close. For me the zero lag all the time is the absolute best feature of iOS and it is crazy just how far they are ahead of the competition. I used to swear up and down I could barely notice the lag on android phones and tablets (I've owned literally dozens of them), but since using iOS on my iPhone 5 (used to be 4s), retina iPad, and iPad mini I have to say it is brutal to go back to my Gs3, nexus 7, or galaxy nexus.
Anyways great read and article. I like your honest writing and putting out the reason you like something while also clearly stating that others can feel the opposite.

Nexus 4 has pretty bad lag. Stick it in dev mode and turn on diagnostics for screen redraws, then launch a Google app. Screen glows red. There are massive architectural issues that Google's still working to fix. (Just like Apple with iOS' architectural issues.)

I've never used a Nexus 4, but I suppose the mention of dev-mode was just used here to illustrate how and why the lag arises.
So it is not the reason for the lag, but a way to show you why the lag exists (in normal mode)

That's not lag. Install the root app showing fps, except when playing games like real racing 3 on forced max graphics it is constantly at 60fps. Scrolling is smooth, zooming is smooth.. I wonder what do you consider no lag?

(btw I really liked this article, also note that I HATE fan boys and am not one. I love my iTouch, vaio pc, and nexus 4 - I don't care who made them.)

c'mon rene, y u no like android? on a more serious note though, lets be honest, apple's holding back innovation. they just want to charge premium and bring in profits n thats all. they make great products, true. but it's 2013 man, i didnt spend over $700 on my ipad 4 so i can stare back at the same grid of icons from 2007. can't reposition the cursor more intuitively, cant delete synced pics directly from the gallery, itunes keeps driving me nuts, browser reloads webpages when i switch to another app, heck,another tab. bloody ucbrowser crashes 10 times a day, cant get ownloaded mp3s to show up in my music player, cant this, cant that. its all so redundant. can't do it, can't get apps that do it. u've got to stop defending apple everytime. its like they dont want to move from here.
next keynote: "oh siri's gotten smarter, and here's some new gimmicky service for your worries". i dont care if apps open a little faster, or if it's thinner and lighter. give me a way to eposition the damn cursor, and stop apps from reloading each time i switch!!!

i think u r a die hard apple fan...coz i have a 200 dollar off contract stock android phone named xolo which u may laugh at (or not even know it) but i beat my buddy having iphone 4 (off contract 450 dollars in india) in closing and opening apps and app switching...as far as usability is concerned u should watch 5 videos of armando ferriera in which u ll see how in iphone u guys have to do a lot of copying and pasting....i think u guys r blindfolded enough not to see the reality....typical apple fanboy....u remember how badly apple maps failed.....

I've used my Nexus 4 next to an iPhone 5. The N4 performed all the tasks I threw at the two phones faster than the i5. But maybe it's just my experience.

It's not just you. I actually owned both (sold the 5, kept the Nexus) and my Nexus 4 has yet to stumble at any task I give it. I actually had Google Drive, Good for Enterprise, a WebEx Web Conference, Chrome, and a few other background apps (Gmail, Skype, GTalk) running while on a phone call simultaneously and I was able to flip back and forth between apps relatively seamlessly without even a hiccup.

iOS wont even let me leave the WebEx (or a Remote Desktop connection) running in the background for too long without warning me it will disconnect me, let alone run that many other apps simultaneously. The lack of RAM becomes very noticeable when switching between them and doing so frequently causes either a web page, an app, or an always on connection like the WebEx or remote connection to redraw completely, severely limiting the ability to be productive and multitask on iOS. The lack of file system access without jailbreaking and the lack of gesture based typing is an exercise in frustration whenever I try and use an iPhone or iPad for work.

ooh ooh its so smooth, ios does 45% of what android does that's why. ever seen a rooted s3 run? that galaxy note 3 WILL replace my ipad. smooth or not. i'll take a little lag for some extra productivity. it's 2013! devices need to do more!

"As someone that left iOS for years (Nexus One until early 2012) I have to say the points you make are almost exactly the same way I feel. Android simply cannot compete when it comes to quality of apps and overall fluidity of the OS"

You are correct in your observation above....However....

...in Nov 2012 Google introduced Jelly Bean with Project Butter that solved the fluidity issue. Jelly bean is every bit as smooth and fluid as iOS.

http://www.popsci.com.au/gadgets/smartphones/google-nexus-4-review-the-p...
"The Nexus 4 is the very first Android that responds to touch as well as an iPhone. It's kind of crazy it's taken that long, but it was a little shocking when I first used it - no more lag, no more trouble tracking, no more weird swipes or unexpected virtual friction. It is, at long last, correct. This is a huge step forward for Android"

http://gizmodo.com/5956305/google-nexus-4-review-yes-you-want-this-phone
"Holy hell is fast and smooth. The horsepower of the quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, the 2GB of RAM, and the incredible smoothness of Project Butter within Jelly Bean just lights this thing on fire. It's easily the best user experience of any Android we've ever tested. There's just no lag anywhere in the system, even when playing graphically intensive games"

The greatest innovation since the iPhone in 2007 isn't even mentioned in Andy Ihnatko's long piece - Google Now; It is "Popular Science's Innovation of the Year" winner, putting it alongside past winners like the Large Hadron Collider, the Toyota Prius and the Mars Curiosity Rover.

http://bgr.com/2012/11/15/google-now-wins-popular-science-award/

Google Now, as a product is incredible. It is the greatest feature that make me want to use Android.

Butter didn't solve the issues, sadly. It only fixed some of them. My Nexus 4 on Jelly Bean is still beyond annoying when it comes to UI. And as I mentioned, Google's own diagnostic tools will clearly show this too you.

My understanding is Google is working to fix it, but like Apple with apps, their early choices led to the problem and short of re-architecting, they're hard to fix. We'll see.

Agreed on Google Now. It's beyond fantastic. One step closer to Jarvis!

My buddy has the Nexus 4 so I've spent a lot of time with it and yes I agree it is a lot better but in now way comparable to iOS. I doubt android really ever will be as just like Rene mentioned in the post it wasn't designed to run like it does now. It is dragging a bunch of legacy code. iOS was designed from the ground up to be fluid and responsive.

I also agree on Google Now. Terrific app/service. But it's available on both Android and iOS, so this is not a reason to switch to Android. I enjoy Google Voice search on iOS immensely and it definitely gives Siri a run for her money.

Google Now is *much* more than the voice search app, and the good parts are not on iOS. Some of it never will be, unless Apple makes some drastic changes to what they allow third parties to do.

The only reason , if at all , for me to switch to android would be the flexibility of having to choose from various screen sizes. But I will wait until apple comes up with a bigger iPhone than the current one....

The only reason I hate Android is because applications keep opening themselves. It is the only reason that made me swap from Razor Maxx back to my old iPhone 4 while waiting for iphone 5S/6. Because of this problem, it would only take about 10-20 min before my phone slowed down and forced me to task kill every time. Got tedious and annoying, but god damit do I miss that batter. Stupid apple with their no removable battery or something BIGGER like a 2000+ mah battery..assholes.

I had an opportunity to add a second phone as a work line. I could choose a number of Android devices, an ancient Blackberry or an iPhone. Knowing that I'd have the phone for 20 months I thought long and hard about it. The large GS3 screen really appealed to me but the deal breaker was for apps. A year from now, as developers migrate their programs from Jellybean to whatever sugary name Android has for letter 'K' is (is it really Key Lime Pie - great food, horrible name) will Samsung allow an easy and timely migration path for me to stay up to date with the most current OS & apps. Based on their history, the answer is no. Too many folks dispose of their Android devices as obsolescence first sets in. However, if they were stuck with a phone/contract would they still love being left behind. I didn't like the idea so I stuck with what I like, what I'm familiar with and what I know will just work when I'm ready for a new work phone.

Plus, the iCloud services make it so I can use what data I want on my work device without doing a ton of conversion work to get things up and running. That is another message for another time.

99% of apps work for the past 3+ versions of android so that won't reallly have much to do with samsung and being upgraded

Both of these posts are excellent reads. Only thing I personally don't agree with is the performance. Maybe I'm lucky, but every since the Nexus S (my G1 and Nexus One were horrid little buggers in performance), I never had any issues with performances. While on the other hand my iPhone would close apps randomly and would lag more so than my Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, and Nexus 4.

I guess I should just be thankful that I'm one of the people that don't experience those performance issues.

I've been an android user for 2 years. Came from iphone briefly. I'd go back to iphone. I don't think apple or android has anything to keep me from wanting either. I don't see me trying bb or windows however.

I use an Android phone but I could easily make a case for myself for using an iPhone. Both platforms are great. You do make it sound like tweaking an android phone is an endless time sink - it's not. You spend a little time setting things up to make using the phone easier, and then, like an iPhone, you just use it. The same goes for third party keyboards - I've been using swiftkey for two and a half years now. There may not be a tweetbot for android, but there's also nothing like Plume for iOS, either.

All that said, it doesn't need to be hard to choose. Just choose. You'll probably choose a great phone.

One thing that Andy Ihnatko left off his articles was the stellar support that Apple gives its consumers. There is no Android OEM that is even close - not even Google for their Nexus phones. That and the mediocre cameras may be the soft underbelly of the Android handset world.

Yup. More than a handful of times I've walked into an Apple Store with a problem and walked out with a new iPhone. That's unmatched in the industry, and is absolutely a feature many, many users should carefully consider when making their choice.

So's accessibility for people with special needs. Apple seldom gets the praise they deserve for making the iPhone so consistently, easily accessible to people with visual, auditory, or motor skill challenges.

i was a tech for vzw and now att ....what apple basically does is tell back up your stuff i tunes or the cloud and do a hard reset ....but then if the phone broken sometimes theyll fix it and if they do exch its a repplacement not new ....like every other company its really not that hard to understand

You can also tell a sales associate what you want, and they'll bring it to you and check you out where you stand. Incredible service! This was my experience when I bought me a brand-spanking-new iPad 4 a few days ago. Finally upgraded from the original.

i dont' have an upgrade til the end of the year and i expect to buy an ipad at some time so it's unlikely that i'll switch. Also, almost none of the reasons mentioned above matter to me. I hate skinny jeans but i don't want a big screened phone. I don't customize anything other than wallpaper. I'm not a platform zealot or anything. i've been on windows for the past 15 years and was on macs for years many years before that. But plan to go back to mac with a macbook this year. Also though the software has major issues i manage music in itunes. Given my movement towards apple products i'm likely to remain with ios. That said i've used android phones and they are ok. they just take adjusting to. And in the even the next iphone is, as rumoured just the same 4, 4s, 5, design i may change my mind. I'm not one that thinks ios is stale and needs change for change sake but honestly they could tick off tons of low hanging fruit that the seem unwilling to do. So if it's same old same old i could switch. But i have tons of time to decide as there's no lte in my area and i'm not due for an upgrade until November and even then, i'm quite happy with my 4s so there's no guarantee that i'll upgrade even then as i'm not really the sort that must have the latest iphone. I'd just like to have LTE. That's really my only issue with the 4s.

I was on a GS2 & swore every day 'I hate this f***ing phone'

I was so glad to go back to an iPhone!

The Galaxy UI was awful, talk about going round the block to get something done! The camera took too long to take a pic! No FaceTime!

The ONLY thing I liked was that the Android Photobucket app uploaded my pics automatically without opening the app or prompting me!

But that's nt them, tats Photobucket!

My first comment from within the imore app. Oh how long I have waited for this feature to come to the app... Thank you Rene and the imore team for making my life a bit smoother

Excellent article Rene! Exactly the reasons I prefer iOS and a small phone!

I manage enterprise iPhones, iPads, and androids. When I watch people sit there and fiddle with their android devices it always makes me chuckle. It takes them 5x as long to do the same tasks, even entering simple text is a painful chore.

You mean like changing an app's settings while in the app? Or adjusting settings like tethering, brightness, WiFi or anything else from the notification bar? Or sharing a photo, text, or document from one app to another without leaving the app you're sharing from? Or previewing an email within a notification?

I use both Android and iOS in an enterprise environment - extensively. I am easily twice as productive on my Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 than I am on my iPad (4th Gen) or I was on my iPhone 5. I don't know what tasks you think take longer but those people you chuckle at are likely more productive than you think.

I am not gonna ditch my iPhone for any Android device. However, I might contemplate having an Android device in addition for my iPhone.

I used to be an Android user (after my love affair with WebOS) and now I have been using a 4s for a while. I prefer iOS. I am a PhD candidate and I have no time to fiddle nor enjoy fiddling. There are days when I miss Android but a close friend has a Note 2 that she allows me to mess around with. And it is fun, but I get a moment of desperation every now and again trying to do something that reminds my why I have no current intention of switching. Android is great though, excellent platform, fun to use, and offers many phones. But I like iOS´s simplicity, the same "lack of innovation" others complain about isn´t as bad as they make it out to be. iOs has substantially changed from when I used WebOS and even Android (I said in those days I could never use iOS). I would like for Apple to make some UI changes, and add a few cool features, but I hope they do not fundamentally change iOS. I like how I can get my things done quickly and with no hassle. My agenda and weather along with my incoming messages and emails in the notification menu, icons with badges and my apps simply there to access.

It is the OS that can be simple enough to not bother a busy person, fun enough for those who like to mess around (jailbreak), and simple again for someone who is not tech inclined (like my father who just gone one, he doesn´t like most modern tech).

i hate my ipad, because it does so little. its like a giant iphone that doesnt make calls
ipad "y u do so small?"

OK, but CLEARLY there is an element of tabloid journalism here. While Andy covers many of the reasons he ultimately switched, at the heart there is, no doubt, a portion of this that is outright link-baiting. While Andy's intentions may have been pure, the execution is lacking sincerity.

Well stated. Andy's post is nothing more or less than a someone who bought a new toy, and is in honeymoon phase just like everyone else on the planet does, except he decided to pen an article during his dopamine high. I find new girlfriends pretty flawless for a few months too, Andy. Come back to us after your dopamine high wears off and you start to notice the numerous downsides to fragmandroid.

I think you failed to see his point. He's showing us that the most effect mobile Os is the one that caters mainly to you and only you. You find that IOS is better than Android? Fine, but that's for you, not me. I personally own and use a Nexus 4 and prefer Android but does that make it the best? No, I still use an iPhone 5 from time to time and like plenty of things about the iPhone 5

Great article, Rene, but dang did you speed type it? SOOO many typos. I won't bust your chops about it though. I completely agree with you. No Android handset or OS iteration has the fit or polish of iPhone/iOS. My iPhone 5 was lost/stolen a month after I got it, and I preordered mine so at the time they were hard to find. I ended up using a Razr Maxx HD for a month. It reminded me of all the reasons I love iOS and dislike Android. Silly things like having separate phone and voicemail apps, or not being able to easily access contacts from the phone app. There's very little setup required to use iPhone. It would be nice if Apple would open it up for some customization, but it's hardly a deal breaker. Plus I'm jailbroken so I get my fix that way. One thing I LOVED about the Razr though: BIG screen and GREAT battery. I'm lucky if my iPhone lasts 6 hours. That Razr lasted a day and a half. I didn't know that was possible. HEY APPLE! Another good thing about larger screens: more room for battery. Think about it.

I can definitely relate to the "time sink" issue. I enjoyed my EVO and Nexus S, but I poured way too much time into customizing. At the time I considered it something of a hobby, but eventually I jut wanted a phone that works effortlessly.

I ended up getting an iPad for work, fell in love with it, and switched. Now I'm iPhone / iPad Mini / Apple TV - completely sold my soul to Steve Jobs, and am happy with the choice.

Very good article Rene... I agree with you almost wholeheartedly!

While I would love to see secondary app integration, the iPhone just does what I need it to do (most importantly, be a phone) the best of any device I have tried. I am not interested in completely customizing my experience (however, themes WOULD be nice).

I will have to say that I am intrigued by the Blackberry 10 duel profiles (work/personal). This would eliminate my need to carry two phones. Here is to hoping that something similar is integrated into iOS7! :)

I recently switched over to iOS from Android (owned a droid eris, incredible, thunderbolt, and galaxy nexus). 2 reasons I switched:

1. Battery Life
I may have been biased by the Thunderbolt and galaxy nexus (both of which have TERRIBLE battery life), but I wanted a phone that would last me all day. The iPhone 5 lasts me 2 days.

2. UI and App performance consistency
I think the Nexus 4 is the first phone that I really can't tell a difference between the ui and app smoothness. Previous to that, I would say iOS was hands down better. I still will give the iPhone 5 the edge, simply because Apple is always willing to spend more on larger GPU die space.

That being said, I really miss the customizability of Android. Jailbreaking my 5 has helped, but still isn't enough.

Curious to those who call Android a time sync, because my two family members with Android phones (GS3, Galaxy Nexus) spend no more time fiddling with settings than I do on my iPhone.

Did you find it a time sync because you *can't* run the phone without tweaking a lot of settings, or because Android makes tweaking easy to do, so, even if it was strictly speaking unnecessary, the temptation to dig in was just too great?

I'll answer your question with a bit of backstory. I have a GS3, as does my wife, while every other member of our extended family has an iPhone. I fiddle with mine, my wife says "I want it to do this", and I set it up for her, and that's it. I could have been happy with either choice. I'm what I like to call OS agnostic - Win7 computer, Mac laptop, iPad, Kindle, and the GS3/Android phone. I choose what works best for MY STYLE for what I am doing.

Now to answer: Speaking only for myself, it is not a time sink for me because functionality. My GS3 runs just FINE without tweaking a lot of setting. It's a time sink because Adndroid makes it so freaking easy. The temptation to dig in is just fun. I find myself using a certain function more often - due to usage changes, travel, whatever, and then I find myself asking, "Well, how can I make THAT easier?" So I dig in. Then I usually find I can make it switch between the two ways of operating with the push of a button. Or press the main app button and get an overview.

You have hit on what was the deciding choice for me. I like to experiment. That's part of what is FUN for me. " What happens if I do THIS?" The basic question was: Do you like to tinker? Yes? Android it is, then.

I hope that helps. :)

I just simply like the fact that it works out of the box. Not a whole lot of training needed. I don't get paid to make my phone work. I do get paid for my phone to work for me.

I would add that as an IT professional, life is easier issuing a single phone with a single OS (iPhone) than if each employee got a different Android phone.

Great article, I feel much the same way.

The thing that struck me right away about Andy's "switcher" article was that although he said he has so many reasons to switch, it really came down to two main things. One is the customisation that you refer to here, but even more important for him (it took up the bulk of the entire article in one way or another), was the *size* of the device.

He seemed to have endless problems with the "small" iPhone screen and keyboard and admitted to being unable to type with any speed or hit a button with any accuracy. Several of his points about the OS were actually points about the size of the device and screen. He likes the keyboard options on Android for instance, but only because he admits to not being able to successfully use the iOS keyboard very well. Most people have no problem with this however.

Of course screen size is a valid reason to switch devices, but it's something that is irrelevant in any objective assessment of the OS itself. You cannot logically say "Android is better than iOS, because the Galaxy S-III is larger than an iPhone 4s." (I'm not saying that Andy argued this).

My point is that the tech press is touting this article as evidence of an intelligent pro-Apple guy making a choice to use Android because (for him), "Android is better," but his choice is really to a large degree about device size, and his fumbling fingers, which he admits to himself several times in his own article.

My reasons for never switching to Android:

OS version updates take forever to get to users. Maybe Nexus devices don't have this issue, but pretty much every other device does.

Malware. Sure, I could probably keep my device clean, but I suspect that normal users such as my parents are not going to be able to do so.

iOS Lock-in. I currently have over 5,600 apps downloaded to iTunes. The though of "starting over" with Android apps is just not an option.

Finally, User configuration. Again, I could probably navigate through all the config settings for Android, but I couldn't see a normal user being able to do so. To be fair, iOS's Settings are a bit much.

And I thought I was a heavy app user. I have to ask -- 5600 apps? How many of them are on your device? How many of them do you use in a given day/week?

I currently have 273 apps on my iPhone 5 and 112 on my iPad (1st gen). I would have more on my iPad, but with only 128MB's of executable memory on my iPad, the more apps you have installed, the more memory Springboard takes up.

I have a couple of games that I play daily, the others I will re-install, play through as much as I can, them remove for the next. There are games and apps that I thought I would like only to find I didn't. That was the early days of the App Store. I now watch reviews from TouchArcade (TA Plays) and check out videos on YouTube before I purchase games or apps.

The average purchase price of all my apps comes out to just under $1.00 per app. The most expensive app was OmniGraffle at $39.99. I wait for sales using AppShopper.com and download free apps a lot.

"Malware. Sure, I could probably keep my device clean, but I suspect that normal users such as my parents are not going to be able to do so."

Not true. Normal users have a very slim chance of getting malware, if apps are loaded through Google Play Store.

So help me understand this. The F-Secure report stating that Android represented 79% of all malware reports for 2012 are people installing apps not from Google's Play Store? If so, is this an easy process for normal users? I have never used Android, so I am not familiar with installing apps from sites other than Google's Play Store.

If these malware apps are being installed by people like you and I, that isn't saying much for those users. I would have thought they would be wiser to apps that contain malware.

Either way. 79% of all malware is a hugh amount.

When I buy/download apps in iOS's App Store. It's pretty easy for myself to detect when an app is a "scam" app (meaning they are trying to trick users into buying an app that looks like Angry Birds or such). That said, I would say that normal users might actually purchase a scam app not knowing until it's too late. Apple has been updating it's policies for the App Store to try to crack down on scam apps. They get into the store by looking like a "guide" app, then after they are in, they change their screen shots and descriptions and presto, they claim they are the next version of Angry Birds. Not any more. You are not allowed to change screen shots unless an update is submitted which requires a review process.

All I know is that I have used Android since the first Droid, and to this day have not had any sort of malware. Also, I know many people with Androids, and they have had zero malware. I think that the malware thing is way overblown. But, I must also state that I have tried IOS, and I am trying to sell my phone so that I can get another iPhone.

In my 30+ years of using computers, I have only been infected twice by a virus. Once on an Amiga 500, and the other was a Windows virus I got during the dial-up days. However, my father gets infected by virus' about twice a year, no matter how much I try to protect his Windows system.

Since I got my parents a Mac Mini, that Mac Mini has never been infected. It's been almost 7 years now.

This is why I posted my original comment. I would never suggest to my parents to get an Android phone. Although, I suspect my parents would never be able to install an app with malware if there really are not any in Google's Play Store because they would never be able to figure out how to side-load an app.

have an android currently, all you ever had to do was check "allow installation from unknown sources" or something along those lines and boom you can download an app apk off of a website and you are good to go

So, using my parents as an example, they wouldn't be able to side-load apps since they wouldn't know to change the setting to allow the ability. Although, I wouldn't put it past my father to find the setting.

Is there a way to lock down certain settings like the ability to install apps from 3rd party stores? Like having an administrator user and a standard user.

"We're lucky to live in a time where every major manufacturer is fielding great devices" - Well said! As someone who deploys both IOS and Android phones all day long I agree that users should pick the OS that fits their own needs. For some it's IOS and others it's Android. It would be others if our MDM supported them, but that is the choice right now. It reminds me of an awesome cartoon floating around the Internet where in the first panel it's 2003 and two people are looking at a phone display and they are saying "It's so hard to choose, there are just so many different ones" and then in the second panel it's 2013 and they are saying "It's so hard to choose, they are all the same". No truer words.

I can sense that this isn’t getting through to a few of these folks, so I’ll be blunt: If you give half a damn about which multi-billion-dollar corporation “wins” a totally made-up contest, then you need to drop acid and spend some time in an ashram.

THIS ^^^^^
Well said Andy.

Right there with u & Andy on that one, but this comment thread has actually been 1 of the most civil & informative in a while regarding iOS/android....which was pleasantly surprising given the topic & troll-baiting article title

I couldn't agree more with this article. Use whatever suits you better. I come here (imore) to learn more about the stuff i use.

The hack requires physical access to your phone for long enough to freeze it to -10 celsius, connect a storage medium with another OS, remove the battery, and reboot it with specific timings. Then they can get your contact list and photos. Something tells me that is not a mass vulnerability.

If a bad guy has time to do that, they have time to do worse things. The article also did not mention if it worked with a locked bootloader, something with which many Android handsets work. An interesting proof of concept, but not something to take down the market.

Though I haven'r read Andy's post about his change, I saw Leo's netcast on which Andy delineated his reasons which I'm sure closely parallels his written piece. Now Rene has delivered this excellent counterpoint leaving me sure (with me not being very high on the geek scale) that the iPhone would be my best bet. But, being 20 months out from a fairly disabling stroke, it's not likely that I'll get even that.

I've read rumblings that because of an earlier snub from Apple, Andy might be harboring (harbouring for Rene) a slight grudge against Apple. I don't believe that, however, as I have the utmost regard for Andy's work and I believe his raison d'être to be exactly as stated.

Lastly, my daughter and her husband just picked up a pair of iPhone 5s. Coming from the BB world, their rationale was similar to Rene's.

This is probably the best article I've ever ready from you. I'm usually not your biggest fan so that's saying a lot lol. This was drop dead solid. Loved reading it. Really well crafters writing. Thank you for it.

I have recently switched from the Samsung Galaxy Nexus to the Apple iPhone 4S. The main reason was battery life. I had the Samsung extended battery in the Nexus and it was horrible. That was lowest brightness setting and everything turned off, 8 hours max. I bought a used iPhone 4S and have been pulling day and a half phone usages without charging. It was a no brainier and the best phone decision I could have made. It set me loose from the confines of the charger.

The only 2 things keeping me from using an iPhone is 1) The price off contract. After using the Nexus 4 on prepaid I won't ever be returning to a contract. It does everything I need at a cheaper price. And 2) Google's services. I love Google Play, Gmail, chrome, Now, YouTube, Maps, Drive, and many other services that I haven't mentioned. Sure, Apple and the iPhone has most of them, but I can't make them my default which is annoying. Even if I could, I'm not sure if I'd wanna pay double the price for an iPhone over android. Not sure if it's worth it.

It's not. I mean, I still love Apple's OS X, and the iPad still kind of beats Android tablets at this stage, but in phones, Apple loses IMO. I like my LG optimus G because it's just so much more capable.

Andy's switch and the articles covering it came at a really convenient time for me. I'm more than likely getting a smart phone within the next few months, and odds are it will be an iPhone. However, I may give the S3 a more closer than look than I had planned.

To be honest, the choice of an iPhone is almost one of inertia. I work/live in an Apple/iOS environment, and really don't want the hassle of switching. Hell, I finally got iCloud beaten into submission (for the most part.)

I'm enough of a geek that I could get iTunes, iPhoto, et. al., to sync with an Android device, but I just don't want to be bothered. However, I really respect Ihnatko's opinions, so maybe he's on to something.

If nothing else, Andy's article will be worth it for the entertainment value. Specifically, watching Jon Gruber trying to figure out if Andy is a horrible traitor, or a *really* horrible traitor. :)

Customization is interesting for about 5 minutes, then it's like pulling teeth, at least for me. I don't mind tinkering with a laptop or desktop, but I just need a phone to work. The 4S has done that for me for a year and a half. I'm one of those folks who'd love a bigger screen. A slide out keyboard would be great too, but that's not going to happen with Apple and I don't see anything like that coming from any Android vendors. Later this year, I'll deal with my phone upgrade choices. Right now, Android just isn't an option that does it for me.

Why such long discussions ? Its only a matter of personal taste , if you like something then why you are stressing that others should use it . I have used both android and ios , both have pros. and cons. . One thing surely goes into android's favour , it is open and full of choices while with apple you have to wear same clothes throughout life, but once jailbreaked it is far better than android . But one thing should must consider that android is changing at a very fast pace while apple is stand still and rigid .I want to say that future belongs to android and it will change the game this year ( HTC ONE, S IV , XPERIA Z and more to come ) . So its time for apple to wake up and try to read what is clearly written on the wall . At present I am using iphone 4 jailbreaked.

Last year, Apple departed from the norm by offering two things they would not have done under Steve Jobs- An iPhone with a 4" screen and an iPad mini. Unfortunately, neither was particularly innovative, considering that Android had larger screens and 7" tablets two years before Apple. While it's possible that Apple could do something innovative on iOS, how likely is it that the UI will change in any way? How likely is it that the iPad mini will get a retina display? I don't believe Apple would give the iPad mini a retina display because that would cannibalize the full size iPad. And what interesting hardware innovation will they do with the iPad? If Apple isn't going to innovate much on the hardware side, they definitely need to do something innovative on the software side because Windows Phone, Android, and now Blackberry, are going to continue to innovate.

One of the reasons less talked about is "color gamut". It is simply much more satisfying and pleasing to behold Apple iDevices than Android devices. Not to mention iPad 3, iPad 4, iPhone 5, which have almost 100% color gamut (sRGB) coverage, even iPhone 4 has visually stunning color gamut. I won't watch any movie or youtube video on Android phones, which are equipped with cheaper displays distorting our vision. Apple is just being faithful to what all smartphone companies should do. Great display and smooth tactile experience.

Just google "color gamut" with "iPhone 5".

You are 100% right, that's why I am still have iphone 4 but you should check the latest android phones like HTC Butterfly or ONE .(468 ppi ). but the present problem of android is , it has full HD phones but lacks full HD themes and apps.But I think it should be changed within six months as more and more high end androids are coming with full HD screens.

I have been bored in the past and tried numerous android handsets BUT i always come running back to the iphone in the end.
The user experience and the smoothness of the os is miles ahead of android even now and i would rather have that then be able to use live wallpapers or widgets.

The HTC One, Sony Xperia Z, both 2013 high end android flagships still have a bit of lag on them. The SG4 will as well. Andy's deluded. Wait until his honeymoon is over and he finds out that Android makers End of Life their phones after about just a year. I hope you're good at unlocking bootloaders and flashing custom ROM's with sketchy stability pal. Better get practicing.

I think CEO of samsung is very close to you , so he sent a SG4 to you before launch so you can check it and tell the world that it has lag . I know ios is GREAT but honestly a stock iphone is just a crap meant only for old age and boring people . Its true beauty comes after jaibreak then it is way ahead then adnroid , I am not a fan boy , I am the only supporter of " OPENNESS " . Just emagine there is no jailbreak iphone in this world then check the position of apple , it is surviving only due to jailbreak community.

Rene, while Andy's article articulates a lot of the strengths of Android rather than the weaknesses of iOS as his reason for switching, the general feel of this article basically says "I don't need to do any of the things my iPhone doesn't do, ergo my iPhone is better." I get that you love iOS and that it's the right OS for you and that's fine, but this article seems a bit desperate to me and smacks of a wounded fanboy trying to justify why one of his own switched to "the other side".

The point of Andy's article wasn't to say iOS was bad, but to say that for his use case it no longer was the best choice and he did so by explaining Android's strengths, not iOS' weaknesses. Reading his article, I had more respect for him and it was a great example of objectivity in that he explained how it was best for him by highlighting what he felt were its strengths.

Your response is an effort to defend iOS when it didn't need defending, and to do so not by touting iOS strengths but by spinning Android's strengths into weaknesses and rationalizing iOS weaknesses as being strengths, simply because you don't use the features it lacks and therefore by extension they aren't weaknesses.

I always get the impression in your articles that you feel like if you ever see anything inferring that Android is better than or on par with iOS in anyway that you must immediately counter it with a missive on why that can't possibly be true and then list 20 reasons why Google sucks and how Apple is better. iOS did not need defending from Andy's article, and by writing this one I get the impression you missed the point of his.

I use or have used iPhones 3GS-5, the last 3 models of iPad, the Nexus 4 and 7, an Acer tablet, the Galaxy S-S3 and Note 2, a couple of Xperias, the OG Droid, a Lumia 900 and several HTCs. Comparing the Android of then to the Android of now, I don't see how anyone can argue that it isn't on par with iOS or that there are things in iOS that wouldn't be improved by taking cues from Android. Just because iOS doesn't have it doesn't mean the platform is better for it.

Just once, it would be nice to see the objective, neutral Rene from the podcasts come out in these articles instead of the unapologetic fanboy Rene. You set the tone for what follows in the comments and driving the constant back and forth of justifying an OS choice brings down the quality of discussion in the community.

" ... I can see both why Android better fits his needs, but also why iOS is still far and away the better option for ME."

I never understand that iphone is a product of world's top most democratic country then why apple is always behave like a DICTATOR. I think the restrictions imposed by apple is the only reason for its performance and fluidity and if in future apple stops jailbreak permanently then millions of supporters of freedom (jailbreak community) turn towards other open OS .

Oh wow, just the fact that we are having this conversation says more than the article.

'But I'm not looking for a better keyboard." this pretty much sums up the article.

Nope, still can't do it. I tried the Chase Banking app and the Good for Enterprise app, and they don't have real push notifications for it. Good actually requires some stub to sit in memory and push down emails. What is that?! It's still a discombobulated mess. Add the fact that I probably spent over $2000 on paid iOS apps, I don't think I'd want to start all over again on another platform...