7 Strong Reasons Why I Switched To Android
Sep 13, 2010 8:34 AM –
“Why I Switched To Android“, I get this question often. Here’s 7 strong reasons why I switched to Android: Customization, Tethering, Internet Speed, Social Experience, Innovation, Choice, and Reliability.
My family and friends see me as a technical expert so when I have a new “toy” (their way of explaining my abundant pieces of technology) they want to know why I chose it. For a year I boasted about my Blackberry Curve 8330 and how wonderful and reliable it was for me. Before that I owned a Samsung Instinct that was the highlight of my mobile device career at the time. The Instinct was my replacement for the HTC Touch which I felt was too small and underpowered for my tastes. That sounds slightly surprising considering I chose that over the T-Mobile Shadow I traded it in for.
As you can tell, my history with mobile devices dates back a few years at least in the smartphone market. I’ve had my fair share of trials and error with different OS’s (operating systems). Windows Mobile often felt glitchy and unreliable. Blackberry products ran great for 6 months then often caused me to use applications such as Quickpull to reboot my device every night in order for it to act properly. Before smartphones, I used “feature phones” primarily from Motorola and Nokia.
As an avid tech user, I’ve troubleshooted many other RIM, Nokia, Motorola, LG, Samsung, and Apple devices just to name a few. After the introduction of Android in 2008, I wasn’t sure it would be any better. At first, the platform seemed very unstable and couldn’t match up to my needs as a smartphone user. The HTC Dream by T-Mobile (a.k.a. G1) didn’t seem well advertised as to why an Android device would be any better than any other smartphone to the average consumer. Sure, if you kept careful watch with the Open Handset Alliance you knew why Android was developed. Unfortunately, I was perfectly happy with my current device so why switch? I wasn’t convinced quite yet.
As 2009 rolled through, more devices became available on the market. Slowly the market share of Android devices was gaining but I emphasize the word slowly. iPhones, at the time, had the spotlight and remained to be explained by most as the “superior” smartphone. I developed a dislike for AT&T products a long time ago and wasn’t ready to give that up to get an iPhone just yet. Don’t get my wrong, I love my Mac (as I type this article on my Macbook right now) and my iPod Touch (1st gen) but iPhone devices being tied to the carrier I favored least was enough to keep me at bay. I hate to even mention that argument but it was honestly the main reason at the time why I wouldn’t choose their product. I wasn’t really aware of how closed their product was until the rise of the Android devices began.
The New Year rolled around and I had made it through to 2010 with my Blackberry Curve 8330. By this time, it was a necessity to restart it every night. I was content with what I had but started looking for a replacement product when my contract allowed an upgrade. Several months go by before in March I heard about a new device called the HTC Evo. My eyes lit up with excitement at what this device could do. Wifi tethering, two cameras, video chat capable, multitasking, Google integration, tens of thousands of apps…I was hooked. As I watched through several sources about Android devices I wondered to myself, why switch? I could easily upgrade to a better Blackberry but the unreliable OS left a bad taste in my mouth. iPhones were still tied to AT&T. I had to find a solution. The Evo seemed like the best option at the time but would I be happy with the switch? I had to ask myself what I was looking for in a mobile device. Here’s what I came up with:
- Customization: I didn’t feel that just moving apps around on my screen was enough. I wanted to have control over how my phone looked. Maybe I wanted more to look at than just apps. Why not have specific information presented to me on screen at my will? Seven screens to design as I see fit was perfect to me. Widgets instead of just apps meant my device could be unique instead of every other Android device owner. Awesome….personalization at its best. With HTC Sense and it’s UI (user interface) I was able to command 7 screens with multiple profiles called “scenes”. This alone was enough to make me leave Blackberry but it wasn’t enough to choose it over devices available.
- Tethering: Wireless and wired tethering without having to be a techno-geek. No need for a data card anymore. I can just use my phone and it’s connection for use with my laptop or desktop. Of course, after hearing of the fee for wireless tethering I quickly resorted to using the wired method. At least that way I can do a trickle charge while I use it’s connection.
- Internet Speed: The Internet on my Blackberry was faster than some but still fairly slow compared to watching an iPhone user. I admit I’m a heavy Internet user on my mobile device. The iPhone didn’t have flash so that was out of the question. Several websites in today’s world are designed to utilize Flash and may not always have mobile versions available. Android 2.2 would make that a reality for me. Unlike many users, having the 4G connection wasn’t the greatest selling point for me. I would have still bought the device with a 3G-only connection.
- Social Experience: Even though my Blackberry had Facebook, it’s integration into the device was shaky at best. I felt as it never worked properly as RIM had intended it to. My social networking didn’t stop at Facebook. I also used other services such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Myspace was only checked every so often so it wasn’t a big factor. I learned that Android integrates Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn into your people directory plus other items such as Flickr. You can actually check an individual persons photos across Facebook and Flickr. Wait….you can integrate it with Gmail contacts? Not to mention using video chat via Qik or Fring. Broadcasting a video feed live over the Internet sounds awesome. Not sure what I’d use it for at first but I found uses later. At this point I’m so excited I’m ready to buy an Android device right now!
- Innovation: This was a tough one. I admit without the original iPhone (keyword: original), Android devices wouldn’t be what they are today. Apple paved the way with the standard for smartphone devices throughout the future. Let my iPhone praise stop there. Mobile video chat on 3G/4G connections (as well as wifi), wireless router capabilities, custom software distributions to change the look and feel of the device as a whole, Google Apps integration into a device to the core…this is just some of the innovations that Android has brought to the wireless industry in the US. In other countries, some of these ideas have been introduced and been available for quite some time but unfortunately not in the mainstream US market. My Evo still continues to amaze me with the addition of features including those added in Android 2.2 (Froyo). Who would ever think you could take a picture of the front of a Chipotle store to be re-directed to their Google Search results using an application? By the way, Google Goggles is an amazing feature that I like to see have increased functionality in the future.
- Choice: I can choose which carrier or manufacturer I like best. I’m not stuck with T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, or AT&T. Many other carriers now provide Android devices in their selection. This can be seen by others as a disadvantage due to fragmentation (I.E.: different carriers have customized applications to their liking or manufacturers customizing the UI). I saw it as a way to provide options to consumers. Developers of Android apps often gripe about the fragmentation in the Android world so hopefully Google will lay some groundwork to streamline that.
- Reliability: If I pay for a device, I want it to work. Is that too much to ask? I understand every device has glitches and flaws but I should still be able to use it. Plainly speaking, I don’t want a device that freezes up, doesn’t receive a signal to make calls, or requires a call to technical support once a week. The Evo runs on hardware that I could have said 1-2 years ago wasn’t possible. Other Android devices are forecasting to use 2GH+ processors in the future. WOW…312MHZ for my 8330? Excuse my math but isn’t the Evo’s processor roughly a 300% increase in speed over the 8330? And they say speed isn’t everything….
Finally, a device that fits me. The only way I found what I was looking for was through the existence of Android. After I received my Evo, it made sense why so many Android users have made the switch. I’m happier with my Android device than anything I’ve ever owned before. In fact, I stopped using my iPod Touch altogether and can often leave my laptop at home. It’s amazing the amount of things you can do with Android no matter whether you were previously a Palm, Blackberry, iPhone, Symbian, or “feature phone” user. I use my Android on a daily basis for everything! It helps me keep track of my gas mileage on my car, shopping comparisons, identifying restaurant reviews, following the latest news, moderating the AndroidTapp site (I had to throw that in there), posting photos on Facebook, listening to Chicago police on my drive to work, streaming Slacker while in the shower…the list continues but I’ll stop there. Turns out I use it all the time throughout my everyday life!
I’ve discovered a wealth of information about what you can do through sites such as AndroidTapp. Moving to a new platform can sometimes be painful so it’s great to have somewhere to turn in order to find out the latest news, best apps, and troubleshooting tips. I discovered AndroidTapp shortly after receiving my Evo and have joined the team recently amongst the other extraordinary writers such as Antonio Wells, Nerd Girl, and Marland Easter. I’m excited about the future of Android and hope to share my enjoyment with mobile technology with all of our readers!