That didn’t take long. I posted yesterday that I was thinking of making the switch from iPhone to Android. I did my research and that’s exactly the direction I went a few hours later.
After reading reviews and getting opinions from friends on social media, as well as time spent just playing with different phones in the AT&T store, I decided on the Samsung Infuse 4G.
The screen is beautiful and large. It’s incredible how light and thin this phone is. You have to pick it up to believe it. The pictures don’t do it justice.
After 3 years on the iPhone and its locked down app store, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the options and new choices. But in a fun way that only someone who finds these things fun can appreciate.
As expected, everything Google is easy to configure and beautifully handled. 3 Gmail accounts, no problem. Switching between them is a pleasure compared to on the iPhone. Calendars & contacts were synced in what felt like seconds. No hoops to jump through in order to switch seamlessly to Google Voice and back. No clunky calendar sync application. While the Google+ app is still not what I hope it will be, it’s far better on Android than iPhone.
The built-in Maps application is fantastic. So is the camera (compared to the camera on the 3GS).
Did I mention the gorgeous screen? 4.5″ – 480×800 pixels. I’m coming from iPhone 3GS so this is a huge improvement. Doesn’t feel too big at all, even when I hold it up to my ear. I tend to talk through the headset anyway.
I like that I can shop the Android Marketplace from my computer and a few seconds later the app is already on my phone. Many free choices. So far, I’ve spent less than $10 on apps. Thankfully, I’m not a gamer. If that’s not enough, I can also shop the Amazon app store since my phone is supported and grab their daily free app.
Moving from iPhone to Android was so much easier than going from Blackberry to iPhone. Hold down an app icon to move it around, press & hold for copy/paste, moving around the Phone app…all similar enough to the iPhone that I’ve learned by trusting muscle memory. I watched iOS 5 demos so I already knew what to do with the notifications. For all the inconsistency in app design, I like that settings can typically be found in a consistent location (by hitting the menu button on the phone). I admit that I do find myself trying to wake up the phone by reaching for a button at that bottom that isn’t there. I don’t want to count how many times I looked for a back-like button in an app only to remember that it’s one of the buttons on the phone. Same with Settings. I like not losing screen space until I need it.
I love the keyboard. I like the the little vibrating feedback and the predictive typing. I feel like I can type much faster than on the iPhone, although it might be the increased screen real estate which helps. The phone gives a choice of 3 inputs: Samsung, which I didn’t like much, default Android which I’m using, and Swype that I haven’t tried yet.
I like that not every installed app must appear on a home screen.
I like that I can set different sounds for each type of notification.
I’m getting re-used to the concept of a file browser on a phone again. That, plus an external battery and SD card.
When I was in the AT&T store yesterday, I heard at least two salespeople steer customers away from Android and towards iPhone the moment they asked a question that demonstrated a lack of technical/gadget knowledge. Now I know why. That’s what makes Android attractive to me, but this is not my mother’s next phone.
So many hacks and tweaks, so little time. Wasn’t sure whether to put this in the positive or negative column. I’m at that point where I’m still very clueless but know just enough to do some serious damage.
Will Take Getting Used To:
As I was saying…I know I can do serious damage. You can jailbreak an iPhone to allow more applications/tweaks. Most don’t. You can root an Android phone to allow more applications/tweaks. From reading through Android user forums, I feel like the last person who hasn’t rooted. So many sites either assume you’ve already rooted the phone or tell you to come back when you have. I’m wary to do this until I know what I’m doing.
That image above is an actual screen shot from my phone. Took time to search, download and play with different downloads to find a screenshot app that was free, didn’t require a rooted phone and actually worked on my device. This is compared to holding down two buttons on the iPhone.
The phone is running Android 2.2. The AT&T rep told me that Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) won’t be released to the phone until late November/early December. Bummer. Don’t tell me, let me guess…if I root the phone I can get it earlier? ::sigh::
I heard voice commands are great on Android, but if I have to click on on the Google widget to activate it and then scan possible matches what’s the point? I miss the ability to hold down on the microphone to activate voice dialing. I’ll have to play with it some more. Update: Thanks to my friend Peter who was nice enough to comment below, I now know that I can long press on the search button and it goes to the voice control interface. Much, much better.
I like the headset that came with the phone. Very comfortable earbuds. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to figure out how to get the mic button to do anything. I even have to answer a call by touching the phone. If I’m listening to a podcast (see apps below) pushing the button doesn’t pause playback. That seems wrong somehow. I have a feeling it’s an app or setting I haven’t found yet.
If I screw up the phone with my tinkering, how do I backup/restore the data? I’m sure there’s an app for that. Haven’t found one yet that doesn’t require an engineering degree to use. Is linking to my Google data enough? Can’t tell.
State of Apps:
I’m relieved that most of the free iPhone apps I relied on are on Android and virtually unchanged. Download, enter site credentials and pick up right where I left off. Twitter, Evernote, Mint, Dropbox, Audible, Kindle (with link to Kindle Store, thankyouverymuch), Pandora, WordPress, TripIt, Box.net, etc. 1Password is read-only, but that’s fine with me for now. I know they’re working on a full version.
Some apps have been a pleasant surprise. I’ve been getting my magazines digitally since 2004. The Zinio iPhone app only worked with a handful of my subscriptions. I was pleased to discover that every magazine I subscribe to is available through the Android app. Since the desktop Zinio app is build on Adobe Air and Adobe technologies are better supported on Android, it’s not that surprising. The larger screen helps too. The Bank of America app is much easier to use and navigate on Android, and even the Facebook app is a nicer experience.
One of my favorite apps so far is DoggCatcher. It was only $2.99 over the weekend and would have been worth the $6.99 original price. I like listening to podcasts while I walk the dog, while knitting in the evening or on long drives. Mostly tech, but a few knitting and newsy ones thrown in for good measure. Love DoggCatcher’s interface and it’s quite fast. Only downside is lack of an iTunes store means download only – no streaming. Oh well. I’ll live.
Unfortunately, there’s no Netflix app that works on my phone. I’m also missing an Android app for my current favorite to-do manager on the desktop, The Hit List.
So there’s my first full day as an Android user. For the veterans, what am I still missing?