I bought a Google Nexus 4 to replace my iPhone 4 which I have had for over a year beyond contract. Getting used to a new mobile OS is not an easy thing after 5 years locked into Apple (bar the jailbreaking years).
First of all I get twitchy as my muscle memory complains from absence of certain buttons in certain places; no home button to wake the screen and the power button is not top right but top side right. These small differences irritate beyond measure. Other irritations are the familiar things that have gone, e.g. notifications do not wake the screen. A widget has fixed that but rather annoying to have to find one. Also, there’s no hardware button to switch notifications sound off and you have to hold the decrease volume button.
These irritants were plenty soothed by the swipe down notification menu once the Android device is running. A quick and easy way of keeping up to speed with all your phone comms which I can Imagine android fans would consider a reason not to switch to iOS. It’s awesome.
Quickly I was plunged into my yesteryears unpleasant experience of using windows based XDAs. The tweaking to get it just so seems infinite; setting appearance and widgets and behaviour to suit your needs. This became a pet hate of mine in XDA days (and with Windows as well TBH) and the move to iOS some five years ago was welcome, like the de-cluttering feeling that minimalism brings. But all that is within the users control because you can set up your android just like iOS should you wish to. I liked less clutter on iOS too. Most time is spent in a handful of apps with others used once or twice a week. And then some less regular ones kept in quick reach. I’ll share my basic ios setup as a comparison.
My iPhone setup. Four images: homescreen, most taskbar folder, next taskbar folder, and next screen full of folders
Another niggle is folders. When you open a folder on Android, you have to cross it off top right of the folder rather than click out of it. Alos, it might seem odd, but on iOS you can see micro icons of the apps contained in a folder without opening it, which you will see is really helpful for my iPhone setup. That is not on android. I’m sure there will be a folder pimping widget of some sort (there are many).
Keyboards. My brother raves about SwiftKey so I’m using a trial. Still I’m typing rather than swyping, but the predictive text puts likely words across the top of the keys which come in handy (interestingly allows for touch-touch-typing of sorts). Still the android kb looks too busy for my comfort; saying that it has nice press and hold features for numbers and punctuation that I foresee becoming well used.
So far so good on the app front because all my major apps are covered and I haven’t stumbled across a problem yet. Music was a concern but Google play music manager syncs iTunes to the cloud and then, from your device, you select music to store offline and mobile. Sorted.
Apps are fast and slick as you would expect from a new handset with the Nexus4 hardware.
The one app that has made a big difference is launcher pro plus. It allows me to drill into OS behaviour in a more granular way. Again I’m not sure I’ll keep using it but it has taught me more about how this system works. It’s continued use will depend on battery life and performance.
So here is my droid set up 48 hours after it arrived. I’m sure I will make many changes over the coming weeks but I will aim to get it sorted ASAP because otherwise I might drop it on something hard. There are so many possible variations that, in time, I imagine I will delete widgets that update automatically because they sap battery. I also have flipboard on another homescreen not included in this image.
Middle is main screen with apps, time and weather; Left is evernote widget, volume sliders and power management; right is twitter.
There is much more I could say about all this. I am pleased to have made the transition because it will give me experience of what using Android – reportedly the most used mobile OS – is like. The Nexus4 seems really good but I am a little concerned about battery life; if it requires charging before bed I will be sad.
I would really like to hear any cool tips experienced droid users have to offer!