Moving from Android to iPhone: The good and bad

As some of you may know, I made the plunge and switched from Android to the iPhone a few weeks ago and I’ve been using the iPhone 4 as my primary device over the course of that time. While I definitely played with iOS on my iPod touch and iPad extensively, I was always an Android-in-the-pocket kind of guy. The experience has been pretty good but I sure do miss a lot of things about Android.

To be fair, I’m using the iOS 5 beta 3, so I’m not going to complain about some crashes or bugs that I’ve experienced as an accurate representation of the overall user experience. I’ve found it to be mainly stable but know that the battery life will improve and (hopefully) some of the crashes won’t occur as often.

The good

Switching from Android to iphone: The good and badThere’s a reason why there are over 200 million iOS devices out there and why grown-ass people will camp out overnight for these products: there is an elegance and grace to the iPhone that isn’t currently matched by Android products. I don’t even agree with some of the design and UI choices but I completely get why it is the toast of the tech town and such a mainstream success.

The iPhone 4’s hardware is gorgeous and super premium. I’ve known that since last year but taking it in and out of your pocket everyday really brings that point home. The 3.5-inch screen looks puny compared to Android phones like the Infuse 4G but the OS has been properly designed for this screen and it works perfectly to maximize space.

The camera is quite good on the iPhone 4 and having a great camera makes you want to take more pictures. Sure, the latest generation of Android devices like the myTouch 4G Slide can outdo the Apple phone but it’s still above most other devices we see on the market.

I’m conflicted about things like the transition animations and how the iPhone handles crashes in apps. On one hand, I understand how having those neat, little animations between screens and apps creates an emotional connection with the user and the device but I also see that as wasted RAM. I’d rather it switch faster and go directly to the next action than have some cutesy animation that slows the process.

Additionally, when an app crashes on the iPhone (and this does happen, fanboys), you’re just kicked into the home screen and can quickly re-launch it. Android hits you with a cumbersome crash report screen that could wind up making it a better product overall but it definitely kills the flow of what you’re doing. If you crash on iPhone, it’s a pain but you quickly dive back into it. If you crash on Android, it’s a freaking ordeal.

The main reason I switched to the iPhone is the better app ecosystem and I haven’t been disappointed, really. The breadth and selection in the App Store continues to outpace Android Market and I’m not sure if we’ll see that change soon. I have become an Instagram whore and as we saw from CNN this morning, the iOS platform will continue to be the primary platform for app innovation for the future.

The “fringe” features also rock, as I don’t carry my standalone iPod touch now. I never felt comfortable using my Android phones as my primary music player because of concerns about battery life and FaceTime works, is simple and is something that my grandparents even understand.

The bad

Switching from Android to Iphone: the good and badI know I’m starting to sound like those annoying iPhone ads, so I’ll start laying into what I don’t like about this shift. I use Google services to get through my day and the iPhone doesn’t play that well with these things. I use Gmail for work and play and the Mail client on the iPhone is frustrating, slow and childish. Is this really what the other side has been forced to deal with?

Google Voice works okay but nowhere near the deep integration with Android, Maps on iPhone is generations behind Google Maps on Android (although I found the exact GPS positioning is amazingly accurate) and I struggle with getting my Google Calendar on the go. It makes a lot of sense for Google’s operating system to be better with its services on the go but I truly wasn’t prepared for such a downgrade on the iPhone.

My statements about the apps stand but it’s not a clear cut advantage. The ability for Android apps to get deep into system functionality is amazing and I hate having to open the Instagram or Facebook app just to share a photo on that service. It can be done a better way.

Apple also gives app makers better tools for creating great-looking apps but if you play with enough, you start to notice templates and patterns that can be a little boring. I know there’s something to be said for consistency of design and user experiences but the freedom Android gives good app developers can lead to cool things. For example, I like the look and feel of the Spotify app on Android much more than on the iPhone.

Switching over to the iPhone has proven to me what I believed beforehand: Android and iOS are both really good smartphone platforms that appeal to different users. It’s not a zero sum game, despite how it may be portrayed. Let me know what you think in the comments, friends.

  • Hi Marin,

    I have actually done the exact opposite as you, having had and original iphone, then a 3 then finally a 3GS I couldn’t justify the upgrade cost to iPhone 4 so switched to a HTC Desire S and whilst I do miss the iPod aspect I can honestly say I feel like ive been upgraded. Yes the iPhone,s are fab bits of kit and yes they do what they say, but with android you feel liberated and the apps are as good and you can send them to your phone from the app site. I miss the “show off” aspect of the iPhone but love the smooth integration of the HTC and its a great solid phone. Battery life not great but I never go far from a charger so cant complain. I wouldn’t say I would never go back to an iPhone but for now in H(TC)APPY!

    • Anonymous

      Good to hear

  • Sergei

    Assuming notifications are “fixed” on iOS5, I might also consider the switch.

    • Anonymous

      It’s almost fixed. Almost. Still not in love with the speed of the notifications and want line-item vetos but it’s still in beta

  • elisha bjorne

    It bugs me when we compare an iPhone with Android because each Android phone can look and feel different depending on the OEM. With that in mind, if you are a heavy Google user, it makes since Android works better. As I have all Apple desktops, notebooks & iPads, the iOS works better for me. I am excited that Android exist for one simple purpose… it forces Apple to re-think “differently” and competition is the key to a great mobile consumer ecosystem.

    • Anonymous

      True, but that’s why I tried to keep the Android comparisons to things like system-wide app integration, as I’ve used various types of Android phones and know how different it can be. I also use an Ipad, macbook and iPod touch, so I know how Apple’s systems work. 

  • Keltic

    I find it a little strange to call out the fanboys when you mention that app crash – thats not primarely because of the OS, but because of bad programming…

    • Anonymous

      I know but I’ve found that the Mail and Safari apps crash too and I’m tired of the “it just works” marketing line being taken as gospel truth. 

  • Ill deal with my metal and plastic and glass phones that can take a beating called Android, over glass that shatters on iPhone and replacing it at Apple costs the same price as a new phone on contract. Especially when I can replace my Android phones for less.

  • Kinda off subject but anyways…I was reading this article Apple vs. Mango: UI, App Stores, Music, & Web Browsing and thought to myself that the appleOS interface hasn’t really changed since day one. appleOS is not visually appealing. appleOS is like plain white tees. That is why i like Android. You can change the visual look and feel of the phone on the fly. And that is just talking about the stock interface. Don’t get me started on Miui. (Note, since the interface can’t be personalized i can’t give them the “i”)

  • Boris Manzheley

    Why dont you just set up google sync on your iPhone fora better email experience. I myself use 4 phones, 2 android, 1 wp7, and my primary device is my iPhone. I much prefer the email interface and calender provided on my iPhone. Actually, i feel WP7 actualy offers better email and calender interface but overall i prefer my iPhone. Food for thought 😉

    • Anonymous

      Will give it a shot

  • I was just wondering what Android phone you had? About a two months ago I switched cold turkey from an iPhone 4 to a Nexus S and it has been a challenge. 

    • Anonymous

      Multiple phones man, it’s  a perk of the gig. Used the EVO 3D, Nexus S 4G, Revolution, etc. 

  • Michael

    I’ve had Android for about a year now, and an iPad 2 for the last 2 months.  I was actually surprised how primitive the Apple device feels to me after Android.  Its also very annoying when something that I can do quickly on my Evo requires a frustrating workaround, or an app or two on the iPad. iOS 5 should help a lot, especially with the annoying iTunes dependency, but Android is still superior in my book.  I like my iPad, but Android will be my next phone.  And, it will most likely be my next tablet.

  • Michael

    I’ve had Android for about a year now, and an iPad 2 for the last 2 months.  I was actually surprised how primitive the Apple device feels to me after Android.  Its also very annoying when something that I can do quickly on my Evo requires a frustrating workaround, or an app or two on the iPad. iOS 5 should help a lot, especially with the annoying iTunes dependency, but Android is still superior in my book.  I like my iPad, but Android will be my next phone.  And, it will most likely be my next tablet.

  • Dosdv

    i pod touch is enough for app!
    isn’t it?

  • Keith

    You summed up my experience transitioning from andriod to iPhone as well. There are work stooges for google account users but I find them cumbersome. Seems like you could make a fortune selling an app that integrates the google account tools, can be accessed offline, and supports multiple google accounts. I find it amazing that no one can figure out how to do this in one app.

  • Davesedge01

    Marin I am a new convert also.  My reason was different.  I was a Sprint customer and WAS enjoying my unlimited this and that plan until it got close to the iPhone lauch.  My Evo 4G had a bad charging port and I was to upgrade Nov 1.  They took that away from me 29 days out.  I bought out and went to AT&T and found a happy spot there. When I signed up with ATT I bought the LG Thrill. Very fast and very solid phone.  The 3D was the issue that forced the switch.  It was a useless gimmick. So while at Target I saw the Iphone 4 16gb for $99. I made the even switch to see if there was a good reason for what Sprint put me through. I know neither carrier is reliable and so on but that is not my point.  I have now put a lot of time on the iphone and I can say that the iphone is nice just like the android handsets I have used. It is really a wash the good vs bad and neither is perfect.  Will there ever be perfection in a cell phone?  I want an upgraed Palm OS with a 4inch screen, iPhone style display and hardware, open platform apps like Android, a great 8MP camera, blackberry email, great battery life (1900+), and???.   There is something missing from all the platforms out there now.  I can’t put my finger on it I just feel there its missing.  A lot of the cell users I know say the same thing.  Perfection is personal and because of that I doubt I’ll ever have it in my hands in cell form.  When they finally make the one I’d want I’ll be too old and not able to appreciate it. 

  • Periander

    The new mantra is: Android for business, iPhone for pleasure.

  • Guest

    I hated my iPhone, it broke three times all times requiring a new phone. Then I got a Samsung Galaxy S II. It’s faster, thinner, and lighter, and it has not broken once. The camera is amazing too.

  • I’m in the process of doing the opposite.  Going from the iphone 3gs to Samsung Exhibit 2.
    And I am so excited about going to android…there screens are now on par with iphones.
    But I like Android is so much “neater” though it has a lot of similarities to iphone 4.  
    Iphones are great too…but Android is taking over with the nicer screens.  

    Android is “neat”and exciting, can’t wait to see more.  Finding great apps.
    Iphone is now okay….but still great.

  • Maheshnlj

    I did one of the oddest things possible. Moved from the big screen infuse to the tiny tot iphone. Needless to say i hate the tiny screen. I have the same feelings on the lack of flowing integration with google services and for someone who has been used to it for years, its a pain. I couldnt beleive for a few days that there is no gtalk app for the iphone.  The 4s’ niggest plus is the ergonomics of the hardware, the retina display screen and just the huge collection of apps. I have always read that the iphone lacks the notification bar like that of the android , but I though when so many are living with it then I can too.. but I was wrong, I miss that drag down notification bar where I can see mail, missed calls, switch off different services and any other update of whats happening in my phone. Thats simply wonderful. It did crash sometimes and battery life was on the shorter side, but given a chance I will happily return this phone and take up my infuse. 

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