I just can't quit Android

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: March 4, 2013

I find my ways to different phones all the time. It’s usually spurred on by pieces of news that I hear about a particular handset, or just seeing it in a store. I’ll get this notion in the back of my head that I should try it out, see if it’s any good at all. I’ll have already read the reviews, of course, and I’ll probably already have a pretty good idea of what to expect. But my curiosity always gets the better of me. The moment my mind gets focused on one particular handset, is the moment I start figuring out a way to get it.

It usually entails getting rid of the phone I currently have, and then getting my hands on the new thing.

I really like the new phone smell, I guess.

I used to think the Android Army was too generous with its enlistment options. Pretty much any device could make the grade, just as long as it ran Google’s mobile operating system. It can weigh down the market, and the options, while many, are all still sort of representing the same thing: Android. If you look at devices running Android, the only differentiator is the proprietary software that the manufacturer tacks onto it.

I used to think that it wasn’t good enough to have custom software be the only thing making all of those handsets, and there really are a lot of them, all that different. And then when you’ve got companies like HTC releasing a ridiculous number of devices all on its own, their Sense UI is just as saturated and common place as anything else.

Obviously having that proprietary software is necessary, though, because Android is already the instigator for the hardware race we find ourselves in, even when it’s coupled with companies putting a large focus on the next best version of their own software. If manufacturers were just using stock Android for everything, that particular race would have been boring a long time ago.

A lot of the different devices that I switch to are Android, and more often than not I’m switching from an iOS-based handset. I get a lot of grief from my colleagues because I keep going back to an iPhone, no matter which device I left it for. I switched from an Android handset to another Android handset this time, though, and I’m now realizing why I like Android.

Why, even if I may switch away from it, I realize that I refuse to stop giving Android a try.

I went from the Galaxy Note II to Sony’s Xperia TL. I know, I know – that switch doesn’t make any sense. There’s a reason why the Galaxy Note II is still sitting at the top of the expert’s side of our Official Smartphone Rankings, and why the device remains so high in the people’s choice. The Galaxy Note II is an amazing device, and I was having all sorts of fun with it again. So why did I switch to the Xperia TL? I liked the phone’s smaller size (for some reason) mostly, but it really came down to the device’s update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

News broke that the update was being pushed to the device through the PC software, so I pulled the trigger on picking one up. And while I know that I shouldn’t be enjoying my time with the phone at all, especially not coming from a handset like the Galaxy Note II, the Xperia TL is reminding me all over again why Android is such a great platform.

I love the changes from one device to another. I love that when I pick up the Xperia TL, there isn’t anything similar on it compared to the Galaxy Note II. The software is a whole new experience. The way that you input text is even different! The animations for moving application icons on the home pages is different, or even removing those same icons from the screen. The proprietary weather widget is different. The lock screen is different. I was pleased as anyone can get the moment I saw my lock screen do a quick sliding animation to another panel for lock screen music controls while listening to Spotify. That literally made my day when that happened. (Manufacturers: Lock screen music controls for music playing on your phone is an absolute necessity.)

iOS has looked essentially the same from the get-go. Windows Phone? Same deal. If BlackBerry 10 takes off, then it’s safe to assume that their mobile OS will look the same moving forward for quite some time. Android allows for a ridiculous amount of variation and difference to permeate the mobile industry, and that really is fantastic.

But now I want to hear from you, and I want to know why you refuse to stop using Android. Is it the features? The differentiation from different handsets on the market? The hardware? Let me know why you keep Google’s mobile operating system versus the competition.

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