Why aren't you using Android?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| April 17, 2013

I’ve switched platforms so many times that I could never hope to count how many times I’ve used iOS, Android, webOS, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and/or Windows Phone, to Nokia’s efforts back in the day, to PalmOS for good measure. I’ve found good things in all of the mobile operating systems I’ve used, but it’s just as easy to find bad things in the same software, sometimes. Those bad things can make us switch unexpectedly, whether that’s back to the platform we just left, or to something else entirely.

Trying new things is fun, and can be exciting if you love to get your hands on new technology. Some people might say that being an early adopter isn’t worth it, but I disagree. Even if the software isn’t up to par, and has some bugs, it’s at least fun to use. I can see where you might draw the line at signing a new, two-year commitment to be an early adopter, though. Being stuck with faulty software for that length of time wouldn’t be much fun at all.

I have a friend who is a diehard iPhone fan. He has been ever since the first one released. But this is someone that, while I would call a “fanboy,” I’d also say that he’s level-headed. He works for a major wireless carrier, and he has to try all the phones his carrier equips. He’s tried the variations of Windows Phone, from 7 to 8, and he’s tried a ridiculous amount of Android handsets. He’s given time to webOS and BlackBerry OS – and most recently he just picked up a BlackBerry Z10 to try out.

He’s an iOS fan, though, through and through. Despite how many other platforms he tries these days, or how many difference devices, he’s perfectly happy with his iPhone 5. He’s told me that he loves Apple’s hardware and software simply because it works, and that he doesn’t have to do anything “extra” to get it where he wants it. Sure, he’s got to put some application icons where he wants them, but beyond that there isn’t much work to making iOS work the way he wants it to.

Actually, he says it doesn’t take much work to get iOS to work “the right way.”

When we have these conversations, he’s referencing his time with Android. There was a time a few years ago when he was a huge Android fan. He absolutely loved the ability to root his phone, change the software as he saw fit, and make the device “his” versus anyone else who might be running around with the same hardware.

But then he stopped liking to do that. He stopped wanting to put the effort into rooting, into modifying his phone that much, and so he went to iOS. Well, back to iOS, I guess. I’m not sure if I can say he’s happier with iOS, because he used to have a lot of fun with rooting his Android phones, but he says he is so I guess I should take him for his word. He really does love all those accessories for his iPhone, too.

That actually isn’t the first time I’ve heard that argument, though, for leaving –or staying away from—Android. I’ve seen people leave Google’s mobile operating system in favor of other platforms like Windows Phone, simply because they want something that works the way they think it should out of the box. I see this mostly when someone likes a piece of Android hardware, but not the proprietary software.

So, in essence, they want a phone that’s running stock Android (or another company’s software, maybe), but since they can’t do that without some effort, it’s just easier to go with something else. We all know why companies like HTC and Samsung use proprietary software on their Android devices, and while the First from HTC is technically running stock Android if you disable Facebook Home, we know that HTC isn’t taking their sights of Sense UI anytime soon. And Samsung? The company’s TouchWiz UI looks to be sticking around for some time. It differentiates them from the competition, so we shouldn’t expect them to drop their tweaked software.

Of course, I’ve heard other reasons why people don’t switch to Android over the years. Ranging from, “There’s too much fragmentation,” to, “The hardware just isn’t all that great.” The reasons are diverse, but I think that many of them don’t register all that well anymore. I believe that devices like Samsung’s Galaxy Note II, or HTC’s One, have put Android on a whole new playing field within the mobile industry.

I didn’t have any issues with TouchWiz on the Galaxy Note II, simply because the features tied to the S Pen made the proprietary software easier to stand on a daily basis. Which is saying something, since I ultimately disliked the Galaxy S III for the TouchWiz experience. And the HTC One? That device has brought Android hardware to a whole new level as well, and hopefully we can expect other manufacturers to start putting the same effort into their own hardware designs moving forward.

I think Google’s mobile operating system has removed a lot of the shackles that may or may not have been holding it down in the past. Even stock Android has grown up quite a bit over the years. It no longer feels like an experiment, which I know a lot of people out there were using as an argument to stay away from Android in the past as well.

However, while I believe Android has grown up in all the right areas, and believe that it really is an operating system that can make a lot of people happy who have previously counted it out, I know that there are still folks out there who don’t want to switch to the platform. And that’s who I want to hear from today. I want to know why you have decided to skip Android, and go with something else. Which platform did you choose instead, and why? Let me know!