Why I Decided To Leave Android
New Phone, Who Dis?
In the beginning...
Back in the 2011 I owned a Samsung Captive, before that Blackberry Curve 8900 and after that, when my Captive fell to an early death. I bought a Samsung Focus Windows Phone that summer when the stigma of Blackberry devices were starting to wear thin. After a year of app envy, I left the Windows ecosystem for greener pastures and purchased an HTC One X.
One of the reasons I went back to Android was because by 2012 screens were getting bigger. iPhones were still a minuscule 3.5 screen size. (I bought the One X in May, before the 4 inch iPhone 5 was released in September.) Owning an iPod Touch during this time I knew that screen size was not going to work on a phone. Also the cameras were catching up to iPhones. It was one of the major sticking point for Apple fanboys held over fans of other platforms. While I wouldn't consider myself an amateur photographer, I do want my pictures to look good. Plus the app scene on Android was catching up as well and the level of customization was second to none.
One step forward
My One X crapped out on me after a little over a year, prompting me to hop on craigslist and get at the time an outdated Samsung Galaxy S2. That phone held me down for a month, when it was replaced by the Nexus 5.
The Nexus line is really the only line that can really be compared to the iPhone. Introduced in 2010 by Google in order to have a more hands on approach in the development of phone and later tablet devices. The absence of carrier bloat and timely updates made sure that I was having a pure Android experience. The screen wasn't the best and the camera was the phone's downfall. But some post editing apps such as Snapseed and VSCO helped my photos look great.
But by this time I had moved to T-Mobile and while I love their network service in the Chicagoland area, the Nexus 5 lack of WiFi Calling became detrimental.
A Galaxy far far away
In October I pre-ordered a Samsung Note 4. It had WiFi calling, a big screen, a great camera, and a stylus. Before I settled on the Note 4, I was really close to purchasing an iPhone 6 Plus.
Apple had finally raised the screen size comparable to Android phones. The reason I didn't pull the trigger was the base model was still 16GB. I was hoping Apple would have made the base model 32GB as 16 was too small and 64GB was too expensive.
Coming from the stock experience of the Nexus 5, the Note 4's Touchwiz was a drastic change. I quickly download Nova launcher and gave my phone a more stock like experience. But there were things I couldn't cover as easily. Carrier bloat and Samsung's own preinstalled apps required me to disable them. Battery life barely got me through a work day. This was partly due to apps running in the background and also my listening of podcasts 5 hours a day. But even in standby I would lose a nice amount of battery life.
Updates were atrocious. To an average user this probably goes unnoticed. But I'm someone who would visit Android Central, Android Police, Droid Life and etc on a daily basis. Not to mention Android and Note 4 subreddits I would lurk from time to time. I stood by and watched every carrier update their version of the Note 4 to Lollipop 5.0 before T-Mobile got around to it. And then again (although not as long) when 5.1 updates began happening. Updates are important because they fix bugs, improve battery life, add security updates, and don't forget emojis.
Note: Even though Marshmallow Android 6.0 has been out since late October/early November no carrier version of Samsung's Note 4 or Note 5 has been updated to Android's latest version at the time of this writing.
Even though Samsung wasn't Johnny on the spot when it came to software updates, they were when it came to releasing a new version of their phone. In August Samsung announced, and 10 days later released, the Note 5. In under a year my phone was outdated not by a rival OEM (Original equipment manufacturer), but by the same maker of my phone!
In addition to visiting several Android specific sites and subreddits, I also frequented XDA. XDA is community of developers, modders, and tweakers. Ever since the One X I have ran custom ROMs. A custom ROM is a different OS filled with mods to speed up your phone or add functionality like unlimited tethering.
This became second nature for me. I was rooting and roming devices constantly. Making backups and running to the Internet whenever my phone got stuck in a boot loop. ROMs were a way for me to shortcut the carriers and OEMs when it came to updates. I had the latest software, some cool mods and of course the latest emojis.
But it became frustrating, I was doing work that OEMs should be doing. Plus as great as the Rom community are they weren't perfect. Sometimes MMS wouldn't work, WiFi settings wouldn't stick after a reboot, or you're device would slow to a crawl after a fresh install. It's one thing when Samsung, LG, or Apple releases an update that hinders performance, they have billions of dollars to rectify that problem. Whereas some random person who has a 9 to 5 and a family might not be in a rush to fix a photo gallery issue.
A is for Apple
Last Friday I walked into a T-Mobile store, turned my Note 4 in and walked out with an iPhone 6s Plus 64GB. I stood silently while the clerk couldn't believe I was switching teams. She loved her Galaxy S6 Edge and stated the iPhone was too simple for her. She asked if I liked simple as she held my rooted and ROMed Note 4. I said yeah.
I downloaded the apps I had read about or watched YouTube videos on, Tweetbot for Twitter, Paper for Facebook, Alien Blue for Reddit and so on and so on. I downloaded all my favorite Google apps because even though I changed OSs, I'm still tied into Google's ecosystem of apps.
After a week of use, I'm getting used to different not better. Both Apple and Android have their pros and cons. Making an Android device look exactly the way you want it to is amazing. Plus being able to share damn near anything to any app was extremely useful. With iOS I've found third party apps are on par if not better than their original counterparts. And iOS exclusive apps like Squarespace's Metrics and Reader 3 have helped me become more productive.
I was with Android for five years and in a way this feels like a break up. I didn't tell my friends, I even sat my girlfriend down and explained what happen like a man who fell for the green room decoy on Maury. I didn't post some mundane tweet or status stating, "...just got an iPhone, what are some great apps." So the only way anyone would know is if they checked to see what app I was tweeting from.
This isn't goodbye to Android. None of these companies pay me a dime, so brand loyalty is nonexistent. If and when I grow tired of Apple I'll switch back to Android or whatever platform at the time fits my needs.
My girlfriend said that by getting an iPhone it's like I'm cheating on her. I'm sure she was joking, but sometimes I can't tell.