This article was published on April 29, 2011

iOS vs. Android: Round 3 — I can change my mind, right?

iOS vs. Android: Round 3 — I can change my mind, right?
Brad McCarty
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Brad McCarty

A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty. A music and tech junkie who calls Nashville home, Brad is the Director TNW Academy. You can follow him on Twitter @BradMcCarty.

I had an idea for an app the other day. If you’re a developer, you know that feeling. It will eat at you until you can find a way to make it happen. So, the first thing that I had to decide is how I wanted to create it. It obviously needed to be native, I also wanted it to be able to tie in with an existing, complimentary app. The problem? In order to do this, I had to develop it for the iPhone.

Maybe you’ve not read my previous pieces about why I love Android (here and here, for instance). In short, I can put it into some bullet points to give you an idea:

  • Flawless Google Accounts/Google Voice integration
  • Widgets!
  • The “geek” factor
  • OTA sync for Apps, no cables required

For me, even with the frustrations that I’ve had with Android, these 4 things were enough to keep me going. Oh sure, my phone would lock up unexpectedly sometimes. No, the camera wasn’t stellar (no matter which one I’ve used). Yes, I had issues where data would stop working inexplicably. No matter, though, because when it worked it was a joy for me to use.

But then I tested the Verizon iPhone. Not because I thought I would be surprised, but rather because it’s due diligence for me to test things so that I can pass on what I find. It was a 5 day exercise that started in frustration but then turned to a form of admiration. I found out that iOS had many things about it that I actually quite liked, and the phone itself can’t be beaten from a hardware perspective.

What I also found was that there were a couple of behaviors that I exhibited with the iPhone that I never did with Android. I took more photos, first off. I attribute this to the fact that the iOS camera interface and use of the device is simply better than what you see in Android. I also used more apps. Maybe it’s because of the quality of the apps or perhaps simply because there were some that I had been wanting to try, but the fact remains that I was using apps a lot.

Shortly after the iPhone, I used Verizon’s flagship, the HTC Thunderbolt (my thoughts on that here). While I loved the Thunderbolt for what it was (screaming fast, both in data transfer and software performance), I missed using the apps that I quickly grew to love on the iPhone. I also missed using the camera. Even though I used it with PicPlz (my photo-sharing app of choice for many reasons) as I did on Android, it just…worked better.

So here I am, a couple of months later, trying to figure out what to do. I obviously have to buy an iPhone in order to develop for it. But if I’m going to do that, why not just make the switch and stick with iOS full time? I’m already a big fan of my MacBook Pro, as well as a few other Apple products. It would only seem to make sense that I’d be plenty happy with the iPhone.

I do worry that it might become utilitarian. With Android devices, switching to a new one is so easy that I look forward to getting new devices in for review just so I can see how quickly they load all of my apps and data. I also worry about the total cost of ownership on the iPhone versus Android. Many of the apps that I like on Android are free equivalents of paid apps for iOS. That’s before I even bother to pay for a navigation app of some sort, as I use my Google Nav on a near-daily basis on Android.

But then there are the up shots. I really enjoy taking pictures, even when it’s with a mobile device. I also fell in love with the vast selection of quality apps and I find myself missing a lot of those, even as I write this. Plus there is the apps that tie in with my Mac. I’m becoming a pretty big fan of the cross-platform stuff, and there isn’t a lot of that on Android just yet.

At the end of the day, it’s a tough decision. It’s incomprehensible to me that I can’t select different tones for separate email accounts. It also drives me insane that I’d have to jailbreak in order to get anything even remotely resembling a widget on iOS. This is one place, as well as those horrible notifications, that Apple really needs to step up its game. Ah yes, there’s also the fact that the iPhone 5 likely won’t be LTE. That’s maddening.

But with so many other things that I love about the iPhone, it might be time to give it a shot for a few months. I’ll miss a lot of things about Android, but maybe I’ll take some comfort in the things that I’ve found to love in iOS. Either way, I’ll let you know once I scrape up the cash to buy an off-contract iPhone and get a chance to bury into it for a while. I still firmly believe that there is room for both in the overall market, but there’s only room for one in my pocket.

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