An Android user with an iPhone

[notice]Let me start by saying that I’ve missed being able to post semi-regularly over the past couple of months. October and November were crazy for us at Fizziology, and I have been extra busy  keeping up with the demands of our rapid growth. Things have slowed down a bit for me personally recently, so I look forward to being able to contribute more frequently![/notice]

I have been a happy Android user since Verizon and Motorola released the first generation Droid at the end of 2009. I love having widgets on my home screen, they’re better than apps! I love that Android lets users customize their phones to the point of unrecognizability. Ooh and Google Maps! Android has the best navigation hands down. Better even than my standalone Garmin. I don’t really like having to wait for long periods of time for OS updates that may never even reach my device, but I’ve enjoyed every iteration of Android enough to be content until my phone eventually received an update or I got bored, rooted, and flashed a new ROM myself. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m an Android fanboy — not that I don’t love the OS, but I just don’t see much point in advocating blindly for a consumer product– but I have been rather partial to my Droids and Evos. Two years ago, I would have laughed at you if you told me I would be carrying an iPhone as my only mobile. In my opinion, iOS has come a long way in those two years (if I were a fanboy, I’d argue that Android has come much farther), but Apple’s advancements and new features were only part of the reason I was willing to make the switch. What is so radically different now from two years ago that I’d be willing to jump ship and not just jump ship, but give up my command as captain of my Android to assume a lesser position as first mate of the iPhone? My environment.


As an Android user (can I still call myself that?), there were two newer additions to iOS that made the switch more bearable: the notification center, and adequate multi-tasking. I’ve actually had Mac OS X Mountain Lion for a few months on my Macbook Air, so I’ve grown accustomed to the Apple style of handling notifications. It’s classy. I like it. Just like on my HTC Evo phones, swiping down from the top brings up my messages, emails, calendar notifications and other stuff I can set as I please. On the iPhone, the notification center also features a nice display of the Weather as well as a ticker of some stocks. Sure, I’d prefer to have my weather and stock information via a widget on my home screen, but this isn’t so bad.

The addition of multi-tasking also helped soften my landing in to iOS. Double-clicking the home button on my iPhone brings up my recently-used apps for quick switching. A long-press on any app in the multi-tasking window will allow you to close any running app. Coming from Android, where I always wondered what apps were running behind the scenes, this is a welcome feature. I love that I can easily switch back to the same spot in a game after replying to a text message or checking my mail. It’s easy and intuitive. Though as I mentioned, I certainly didn’t switch to an iPhone for its features.

 I switched to an iPhone because my environment changed

Upon taking my job at Fizziology, my primary laptop became the Macbook Air sitting on my desk for my first day. When I started college, I received a scholarship for a beefed-up Macbook Pro, and it was a great work horse for 5 years. I still have it to this day, but it rarely gets opened. Every computer that I’ve ever purchased though, has been a Windows machine. Most recently, after graduating from college, I purchased a chocolate brown Lenovo Ideapad u230 that was my main PC for a little over a year. I have always liked Mac products, and know how to use them well, but have never given Apple money for anything but an iPod until recently. After Apple fixed an issue with the audio connection between new Macbook Airs and the Thunderbolt Display, I purchased a gorgeous 27″ display for my desk in my room at home. Sometimes I work from home, and I got so accustomed to seeing spreadsheets and graphs on a big display that my 13″ air screen couldn’t cut it. Also I really like being able to watch movies in bed. I spend the majority of every day using Apple keyboards, touchpads, and mice, so i looked to my Android as salvation from my world of Aluminum and Helvetica. That was until Sprint stopped holding up their end of our contract by no longer providing me with reliable cellular service.

In September, I went through a few days where Sprint didn’t work at all in my neighborhood. I live and work in the same block, so when I don’t have service at home, I also don’t signal in my office. This is a problem. I don’t have a work phone, and all of my business contacts have my card with my mobile number on it. I need to be able to send and receive calls and texts as part of my job, so this didn’t sit well with me. I contacted Sprint over twitter, over the phone, and in the store (during this period, my phone also got stuck in an endless reboot cycle resulting eventually in the loss of all my data on the device), and helped them discover problems with a major tower in my neighborhood. Great, glad I could help, now could I please get some service? By November, I’d had a few more problems with shoddy service and an unreliable network, so Sprint agreed to let me out of my contract penalty free (no disconnect charges!) so long as I let them keep my Evo. It sounded like a fair trade to me. I was off to sign up for the network I knew was the most reliable and had the best 4G LTE coverage in my area: Verizon.

My employers and coworkers obviously knew of the trouble I was having with my phone, and had a chance to weigh in when I was about to begin  one of my favorite semi-annual activities: phone shopping! Everyone who works for Fizziology uses an iPhone. I can say that now, because until I had one, everyone except me used the iPhone. My coworkers would iMessage each other and try to loop me in via group SMS, but for some reason, my Android didn’t play nicely when they sent group messages and I was left with a separate conversation from each person included in the group. I would also have to reply to each person individually instead of talking to everyone at once over SMS. Everyone at work would compare iPhones and share tips and use the same apps, and I was always slightly, though happily, out of the loop. But when everyone knew I was looking for a new mobile device, they each had their own version of the leading question “So you’re going to get an iPhone?”. I felt slightly pressured by my work peers to fully embrace the Apple eco-system in which everyone else was floating around iMessaging and iChatting and iMailing and just generally doing a lot of things with lower-case “i’s”. I am pretty good at handling peer pressure, and I certainly know what gadgets I want to fit my tastes and needs, so it’s not likely that I could be convinced by others to jump ship. During my surprisingly-stressful couple days of decided whether or not to get one of the latest Samsung Android phone, the iPhone 5, or Nokia’s new Lumi 920, my girlfriend offered what would be the bit of advice that finally convinced me to go iOS: When in Rome…. (buy an iPhone).

It’s likely that iOS, Android, and iterations of Windows Phone will be around for a long time to come. They’ll each go through several iterations and change rapidly. The Great Patent Wars will likely be an ongoing dispute so long as device and software manufacturers compete for market share. Apple, Google, and Windows will all make their phone radically different and dramatically better than they are now, and who’s to say which I’ll like better in the future. Sure I may consider myself an Android user, and I’ll almost certainly get another Android phone at some point, but at the time being, the iPhone made more sense. Over 80% of my phone communications occur between me and others using iPhones. My job also covers a significant portion of my bill, so in a sense, they own a share of my phone and had some stake in my decision.

So for now, and at least for a year or two, I’ll be using an iPhone. I’ll have to come to terms with the fact that I’m an Android user with an iPhone. (Don’t tell Google, but I actually really like my new iDevice!) I remember a time in high school when I thought it was silly to try to fit in, but at this point in my life I’m really enjoying using the same standard-issue equipment as the rest of the team.

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