Life after iOS: Adjusting to post-Gingerbread AndroidAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Before my HTC One, my daily driver was the Apple iPhone 4S; before the iPhone 4S was a jumbled mess of Android phones that I seemed to switch out every other week or so. Android was pretty much all I knew about smartphones as a person who had only been a customer on T-Mobile and Sprint, both of which seemed like they would never get the iPhone. However, once the exclusive deal between AT&T and Apple ended, other carriers were finally making the move to adopt the popular iPhone. At the time Sprint jumped on board, I was working there and had already pretty much snobbed up to the fact that I would never ever put my hands on an iPhone and like it.
But that didn't mean that Sprint's customers felt the same way. In fact, it was pretty much the opposite. It was clear from day one that Sprint customers were ecstatic about finally having the option to own the great and powerful iPhone. Selling them wasn't the hard part - the hard part was answering questions that none of us had a clear answer to. Our training on the device wasn't exactly extensive. I recall spending more time setting up the display for the iPhone than learning about the new platform. When the questions came rolling in, it was like a game of telephone from one rep to the next. Nobody really knew any the wiser.
And everybody was so adamantly against the iPhone in the first place that nobody wanted to jump the gun and get one. So I did. And I fell in love with it.
Some people say you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone, but I didn't know what was available until I had it. I had been content with Android, sure, but that didn't mean there weren't times where I was absolutely certain I would be making an insurance claim because I wanted to throw my device against something hard very badly. I never did, but sometimes it came close. Force closes, lag issues, and buggy apps were just a few of the issues I would encounter somewhat regularly on my Android devices. But, as I said, it was all I knew so it was tolerable. But that all changed when I discovered how smooth the iPhone 4S ran.
My 4S has been the phone that I carried the longest at this point. I carried it for nearly two years. It was a great device. I wrote several articles on why I loved the device so much, but towards the end of my time with it I was noticeably starting to get bored with iOS and the iPhone. It was a nice interface, but sometimes you just want something new and different. I considered Windows Phone and BlackBerry briefly, but ultimately was afraid that I wouldn't be able to deal with certain applications missing from both app stores. Although I really wasn't too keen on returning to Android, I did realize a lot had changed in two years and figured I might as well give it another go.
First I went with the Galaxy S4, and after a couple of issues I decided to go with the One instead. That was back in July. I'm still carrying the One, which is a good thing. Although it hasn't been almost two years like with the 4S, 4.5 months is still decent for me. In these four and a half months, I've come to learn that Android really has moved up in the smartphone world and come a long way since Gingerbread, which is what my last Android ran on. But even then, there are still certain things about iOS that I miss.
First and foremost, I miss not giving a damn about which icons went where. They were all just right there, it didn't look particularly ugly or appealing. That's just the way it was. My most important apps were on my home page, and everything after that didn't really matter. I only had about two pages worth of apps after that anyway. It was just really easy to access no matter what. Without somewhat customizing my Android, it looks pretty darn ugly. And I know that customization is a perk of Android, but if it isn't just a hassle sometimes to keep your phone looking beautiful all the time.
Secondly, I miss the iOS SMS app. By having the pop up notifications when I received a text (which actually annoys many people, but I really liked it) and the integration with iMessage, the messaging system seemed to have everything going for it. Now, I'm not necessarily complaining about what I have with Android. The Hangouts integration of SMS is nice too, but mostly I miss when my phone lit up and I could see who the text was from and the beginning of the text. There are applications on the market that do this, but the point is that iOS just kind of had it all in one.
Aside from that, I don't miss a whole lot about iOS. I find the two platforms very comparable at this point in time. Although the animations on iOS seemed smoother, the response time seems about the same, sometimes even a little faster - even though the One has hardware that is two years newer, I still wasn't expecting Android to be as responsive and as fast as it is. Going from Gingerbread to Jelly Bean feels like a huge improvement. That being said, I'm happy to call Android my daily driver today. Although I do miss some aspects of iOS, ultimately the switch back was what I needed. I think if I had stuck with iOS through iOS 7, I would be a lot more unhappy at this point. Or, in the very least, a lot more bored.
Readers, when was the last time you switched platforms? Are you happy with the switch? What are some things you miss, and some things that you think are better? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!