One year with an Android

I don’t usually blog about my thoughts on products. However, I recently concluded a one-year “experiment” with a DroidPro from Motorola, and switched back to an iPhone.

I think some of this debate is psychological in that the iPhone feels more like holding a cup of Starbucks while my Droid was more like holding a Dunkin Donuts. They’re both coffee and each have their pros/cons (I actually prefer Dunkin) but in the end you feel differently with each. Lastly, having just finished Jobs’ book I couldn’t help but appreciate the little piece of art/technology that he had worked so hard to put in my hand.

Several asked me to provide some specific feedback on my decision so here goes…

Why I switched initially:

  • I really missed the Blackberry keyboard with my old iPhone 3GS and the Droid Pro had a similar feel with the Android OS
  • I was curious about the Android OS since it was gaining popularity and was a more “open” system
  • At the time, I was using Gmail exclusively as my email client and liked the native Gmail app (e.g. being able to star emails)

What I liked about my Android phone:

  • More customizable – I was able to set up a bunch of widgets to quickly scroll through Twitter updates, news and emails
  • Better integration with social media – for example, whenever I initiated a call to someone, I could see their last tweet, facebook or linkedin update and this sometimes came in handy
  • The native gmail app was better – I could easily change “from” email addresses, and it was very quick to send/receive emails

What I disliked about my Android phone:

  • When we moved our start-up to a hosted exchange server, the Android would regularly lose connection to the server. This became very frustrating.
  • The phone crashed often. It did feel a bit more like a Windows OS than an Apple OS. Apps would freeze and I would have to kill the app. (in fact there are many apps that help you do this which says something about the phone)

Why I’m happy to be back on the iPhone (so far):

  • I had really forgotten how integrated the universe of devices and software was with an iPhone. From little things like stereos in hotel rooms to the ease of backing stuff up with iTunes or iCloud.
  • Apps are just better on the iPhone. The user experience, likely due to the control of the OS, just seem to look and work better than their counterparts on the Android.