Leaving Apple Behind
I finally did it. After seven and a half years of iPhones, I took the leap today and bought myself a new Samsung Galaxy S7 Android phone. For the last 3+ years, I’ve been using an iPhone 5, and I liked it, but I absolutely hated iTunes, and I just didn’t want to have another device tied to that horrible piece of software. When the battery on my iPhone started flaking out (lasting less than 2 hours, and would go from 50% charge to dead battery in 30 seconds), I knew I had to have something new.
I narrowed down my choices to the Galaxy S7 running Android, and the Lumia 950 running Windows 10. I really, really wanted to like the Lumia 950. The specs on the phone itself are pretty amazing—especially the image stabilization for the camera. For someone with shaky hands, that seemed like a killer feature. Unfortunately, from everything I’ve heard, the software on the phone just isn’t there yet. I’m not just talking about the apps in the app store. From what I’ve heard from people I’ve talked to, the OS itself is glitchy, will suddenly kill apps or restart, and has BlueTooth issues. I don’t mind being a beta tester on an app or a platform I’m building, but I can’t justify spending $600 on a phone only to be frustrated by it. (Note, yes I do work for Microsoft, but I have no connection to anyone on the Windows Phone or Windows 10 team. I speak for myself here, and not for Microsoft).
The Galaxy S7 is brand new, but it’s a beefed up version of the S6, and solves a few of the problems its predecessor. It’s water resistant, has expandable memory, and very good resolution on the screen. I actually said ‘Wow!’ when I started viewing pictures people have posted in Facebook with my phone. Compared to the iPhone 5, its like night and day. Screens have come a long way in 4 years.
I also like the virtual keyboard a lot better on the Galaxy than the iPhone. Numbers and letters on the same screen! Incredible! Results in much faster typing for me, especially when entering those dreaded complicated passwords.
The only downside I’ve seen for the S7 itself is that the battery can’t be replaced. Hopefully it lasts 3-4 years before I have to buy a new phone. I use my phone all the time, so if you amortize the cost over time used, it’s probably a better deal than my car.
The S7 did present another problem for me. The case is incredibly slippery, and I could see dropping it a dozen times a day. I bought an Otter Box case to go over it for $45 to solve that issue.
Moving to Android from iOS does have a couple of pitfalls for me and my family. We use iMessage a lot. My daughter has a iTouch she can use to text us when she’s at a friend’s house or after school care (via wifi). My wife and I text each other often as well—who’s picking up the kids, what’s for dinner, etc. With iMessage, that has never cut into our text message quota for our cell phone service. Now, my daughter can’t send me iMessages, and any my wife sends to me will count against our quota. I’m thinking of trying an app like TextPlus or kik to see if that keeps the monthly costs down and all of us in touch. We’ll see how it goes.
I’ve only had the phone for a few hours now, but I’ve already got all the essential apps installed and working, my email accounts set up, and my music ported to Google Play (though I’m not sure I can reach all that music when I’m offline). I was worried that it would take me days to get up and running, but it didn’t. In a couple of days, I’m sure I’ll have everything I ever need. I do have a message on my screen from DirecTv that I can’t get rid of, but hopefully I fix that soon.
I did have the fear that Android would be too difficult to learn to get going. I’m one of the least technical software developers I know. I normally don’t care about hardware. I care about productivity and ease of use. For years, Apple was the gold standard. But getting apps installed on Android was incredibly easy. Maybe even easier than on iPhone.
For those of you into pictures of hardware, here’s a shot of my phones history (minus the old brick phones from the late 90’s). Screens have gotten a lot bigger (and need to be cleaned often as well), and at $600, my phone is now nearly as expensive as my last laptop. Hopefully this new one lasts as long as the previous ones did.