Android Stuff I Like


So aside from all that cloud stuff I wrote about recently, here are some notes on things I’ve noticed about Android vs. iOS.

Yes.  Bigger is better.
Yes. Bigger is better.
  • The keyboard input.  You’ve probably seen the swiping input of Android.  Try doing that on your Android phone then switch to your iPad without cursing.
  • Native Google Now.  So you’ll tell me what time I need to leave the house to get somewhere and nav with one tap from Notifications?  It’s that kind of pervasive and useful.  Give it a try on iOS for a good flavor.
  • Snooze on appointment notifications.  Yes, it’s a no-brainer.  But Apple doesn’t do it.
  • Facebook Messenger Chatheads wherever.  No, Android doesn’t have iMessage.  It does have pervasive Chatheads anywhere in the UI, not just inside Facebook.  With SMS integration, that’s actually pretty useful.
  • Navigation.  Ever get somewhere your navigation app directed you to and wonder which building it is and what it actually looks like?  Showing Google Street View upon arrival makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?  It’s a little thing that matters when you need it.
  • Widgets in the UI.  Yes, it’s useful.  If you can think it, it’s probably doable.  Calendar on a page, built-in music controls, one tap flashlight, weather, whatever.
  • Easier sharing options. Apps can talk to each other more easily.  That means I can do things like browse a restaurant from Yelp and share it directly to a Facebook Messenger conversation with no cut/paste.  As smooth as iOS is, I still have to do hacks like a Javascript shortcut to save pages to the Pocket app to read later.  Little things like this feel like they make a difference.
  • Better multitasking.  Things keep moving in Android when you leave an app.  If I want to do something on my iPad like download a new edition of Wired or a TED Talk, I need to keep the app open and the device awake.
  • It’s not a native Android thing, but size does matter.  My son showed me something on his iPhone 4S and it was comical compared to the 5″ screen on my Galaxy.  It’s better for browsing the Web, reading books, looking at images, taking pictures.  Everything.
  • Photostream is just unreliable.  Getting pictures accessible from my phone to my computer is easier using Dropbox (multitasking, remember) and Google+/Picassa (native).  You want to use photo upload in Dropbox on iOS?  You’ve got to keep the app active or it will stop and give you a notification.  And yes, my laptop is a Mac.
  • The notifications pull down has much more information than what iOS delivers.  It’s a one-stop-shop.
Yes.  Bigger is better.
Yes. Bigger is better.
There’s probably more I’m not mentioning that’s not just core Android or something I rarely use.  Hovering my finger over an email list to get a preview is cool and useful every day.  Split screen is cool but not something I do all that much.

This is all inner neerdiness.  Could I get it done with an iPhone?  Sure.  Absolutely.

Could I come up with this list for an iPhone 5?  Probably not.

All that said, if my parents ever get smartphones then they’re getting iPhones.  The lack of tweaking and geeky stuff is probably a good thing for them.

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