I’m currently a somewhat satisfied iPhone 4 user, and while the iOS platform has and continues to be a solid choice for almost everything I need to do, there are a number of drawbacks that I’ve struggled with which appear to be resolved on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not joining the boycott bandwagon or declaring one multinational corporation more ethical than another. I’m making a simple purchase decision based on a number of factors revolving around the hardware and software, not the corporations themselves. Their policies regarding upgrades and software decisions are indeed a factor, just not their legal situation.
I’ve also been an Android phone user in the past. After using an iPhone 3G, I converted to Android through the Samsung Captivate made available by AT&T. The Captivate was a great phone overall, but delayed upgrades and a lack of general support turned me off to Android. It wasn’t long before I jumped from the Samsung Captivate to the iPhone 4, which was an extraordinary piece of hardware at the time.
Today, I’m switching away from the iPhone once again. Simply put, iOS 6 was the last straw for me. As much as Apple intended to improve the platform, it was a rude awakening to discover that even though I have an iPhone 4 and the biggest and best iPad 2, neither of these devices will be receiving Siri. Frankly, I feel as though Apple is doing everything in its power to push its latest hardware and impose a premature obsolescence on devices that are hardly a year old.
What the Galaxy Nexus Delivers
First, I decided to spend $350 + tax to purchase the Galaxy Nexus directly from Google. This gives me a phone that can operate on both AT&T and T-Mobile without a required contract. For $150 over the subsidized price, I’m receiving a smartphone that is free from carrier commitment. This, to me, is a huge cost saver as it gives me the choice to kick my carrier to the curb should it cease to be the best deal.
That aside, I know the Galaxy Nexus (even though made by Samsung) will not suffer the same delayed upgrades of the Samsung Captivate. Because this phone is supported directly by Google, it should be the first to receive a number of major updates and bug fixes. Oh, and many Nexus users are already on Jelly Bean. It could take 6-9 months before other phones receive that same update if the carriers have their way.
While the Galaxy Nexus being made available for GSM providers doesn’t support 4G LTE, it does have much of the same enhanced connectivity that could technically warrant a 4G label. This is about the same as the iPhone 4S, so it’s an upgrade from my current iPhone 4.
The screen is a whopping 4.65″ 1280×720 screen that has a slight curve to it so it doesn’t feel like a giant flat surface against your face. Even the PPI (~315) is almost on-par with what Apple boasts as a Retina display.
Perhaps the biggest reason for making the switch is the long-term costs involved. A contract would lock me in to a capped data and minute plan for two years. During those two years, I’d be subjected to terms and conditions changes which may or may not meet my needs as a customer. I could move, and the new location may also have a difficult time connecting to a specific carrier, leaving me without a proper signal in my own home. Being locked into any type of financial obligation for years on end is never really a good situation for anyone.
Why Not Stick with the iPhone?
The iPhone is a brilliant smartphone, but recent improvements made to the Android platform have forced me to rethink my position. For one, Google Now is a dramatic step forward in speech assistance. It’s not only faster than Siri, but it has proven to be a touch more helpful to folks that have done side-by-side comparisons with Siri from iOS 6.
Furthermore, only the latest and greatest Apple hardware is being touched by Siri in iOS 6. Yes, only the new iPad is receiving Siri. Everything else won’t be receiving it. To me, that means either coughing up $600 for an unlocked phone or signing another 2-year contract to take advantage of that feature. I’m sorry, but that just isn’t in the cards for me at this point.
My iPhone has also been giving me some serious doubts in the battery department. Lately, the battery seems to drain faster than I can charge it, and I’ve resorted to using a Mophie JuicePack to keep it charged throughout the day. Meanwhile, I can buy an extra battery for the Galaxy Nexus and have a full day’s worth of charge without sacrificing slim cases on my phone.
I’m also a fan of widgets. In my mind, the things I like about Windows Phone and iPhone are both present in some way on Android. Switching between applications, multitasking, and a more advanced notifications center are just a few of the features that make Jelly Bean a bit more interesting to me than iOS 6.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend an iPhone to my friends and family. I would, however, strongly advise that each of them take a moment to see what the latest Windows and Android devices have to offer. The Galaxy Nexus is an inexpensive means to an end, and even with more impressive hardware out on the market, I feel more confident that this phone will continue to be supported after everything else has fallen by the wayside.
Apple makes incredible hardware, and I don’t see myself getting rid of my iPad just yet. I’m still a MacBook Pro user, and a fan of Final Cut Pro. This decision is based on a need to build a more liquid financial plan through carrier freedom and a device that promises to retain support for longer than a single year.
What about you? Have you switched from one platform to another? Is there a particular smartphone you’d recommend?