Xopher Reed

My Planned Exodus from Android

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I don’t know what, and I sure as hell don’t know why, but after spending an inordinate amount of time at my local Apple store picking up items for my wife and kids and walking amongst all of the lovely consumer electronics that Apple makes, I believe that I’m headed back to the land of iOS.

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I was a gen one iPod shuffle user which went all the way to the final iPod Classic and a gen one iPhone early adapter (which has forced me to stay with AT&T all of these years if only for the unlimited data plan that I’m grandfathered into) and finally jumped the ship at the onset of the iPhone 5, the 4 was my last model of iPhone.

There were a few things that caused me to jump ship, mainly being poor adaptation of the Google environment, the lack of third party keyboards, and the largest sin of the generation-of-not-too-long-ago — the smaller screen. My first foray into the world of Android came in the form of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, and it was pretty fucking awesome for a good while, until I got really fed up with the UI and decided to replace it with Cyanogenmod…you shouldn’t HAVE TO replace the UI on a phone. I’m glad that Android makes it possible, but that’s one major strike against Samsung right there.

I finally upgraded to the Galaxy S5 this year and for the most part, I’ve felt really ambivalent about the experience. There’s just no “wow” there anymore. I’ve managed to lose a huge swath of pictures that were of my adorable kids at a photo shoot due to issues with the camera talking to the memory card, and for all intents and purposes…I feel just as blasé about the S5’s UI as I did about Note 2.

Will I do something as irresponsible and lump all Android devices in with the two that I’ve used? Certainly not, however I do place blame solely at the feet of Samsung for making such a bloated fork of Android that takes away the experience of what should be an amazingly fast and smooth phone. You know you’re in trouble when you take a look at your RAM and 85% of it is being used before even launching an application (sorry, might be a bit hyperbolic, but others can attest to the high RAM usage).

On the subject of usage, I find myself having to charge my Galaxy S5 at least two times a day. Am I the normal user of this type of device? First I’d have to ask you to define normal, but no, I don’t see myself as anywhere in the middle of that bell curve. I use mine to track calories, gps during my runs, listen to a multitude of podcasts and YouTubes, and use it for even more audio/video than I care to admit. I’m constantly using the cloud and making sure that I enjoy every bit of my unlimited data plan. So no, I doubt I’m normal by any stretch of the imagination.

I can’t really blame the Android OS for this issue even though people have griped about battery life and Android prior to Ice-Cream Sandwich or Kit-Kat, I know fully that my usage is to blame…there’s my usage combined with the habit I have of maxing my brightness. I know better, honestly I do.

Alright so this brings me to my next bullet point on my exodus back to iOS and that’s the fragmentation. Seriously, I understand how this is fine and dandy when it’s PC, but it doesn’t work so well on phones. There are apps that I was hoping to make a transition over to Android that never did, or when they did, they were a paltry pale example of the shiny version that was being shared across all Apple devices.

Let me take you on a bit of an aside here…I was a console gamer for years and years and years, up until this current generation of gaming hardware. I made the jump over to PC gaming only because I find I have less time to do so these days and having a powerful PC means I can do more than gaming, however I won’t discount the fun that consoles provide. They serve as a platform to distribute ubiquity, a way that makes everyone equal, nobody has a faster GPU/CPU or faster RAM, everyone has the same architecture meaning that developers have to worry less about making the game work for every random string of hardware that someone threw together (PC) and instead can focus on making the game better.

I feel that Apple does just this when it comes to most of the consumer electronics. The OS on one apple mobile device (not talking about Macs here) is the same across the board. It functions the way something in a disposable market should. Until we have modular phones that can be upgraded, I believe that I’ll be going back to iOS.

So there we have it. My statement to the world about why I’m going back to Apple for my next phone. At this point, about 900 words into this article, you might be questioning yourself as to why anyone should care about this choice. You know what? You get a cookie for being the smartest kid in the classroom, because much like religion or lack thereof or political views, the choice between Android and iOS should be a personal one.

Do I hate Android? Of course not, it’s an amazing operating system based off of one of the best OSes there is. I’ve rather enjoyed my time in the open space that is the Google open garden of development, but I’m headed back to my walled garden where I know it’s safe.

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