Despite my frustrations over a lack of a TweetBot style app for Android, my current experiment with Android via a Galaxy S3 has been going pretty well.
I’ve had an iPhone since 2007 and constantly turned my nose up at Android all the while hoping that the platform could mature into an iOS rival that would fulfill my wishes for a more “open” and dare-I-say geeky user experience with a portable computer (or phone). That same wish makes me keep a copy of Debian installed along side my 15″ Retina Macbook Pro in hopes that one day Linux will find the right balance for me.
Apps like SwiftKey (and their insanely amazing new Flow app) make me realize why I started loving computers in the first place. The ability to tinker and get my hands dirty in (sometimes useless but nevertheless enjoyable) settings toggles.
Android isn’t for everyone. iOS is a cleaner and more user friendly operating environment. Things are prettier in Apple’s garden of eden, for sure. However, I like to tinker. I like to break things and have to figure out where I went wrong. To put it in middle school teacher language, I like to have the ability to tinker without voiding a warranty.
AirDroid is yet another example of why I’m liking Android these days:
AirDroid: The free app every Android owner should install in 2013 — Mobile Technology News: “Once connected, the computer browser shows a desktop-like interface to the Android smartphone or tablet. There are numerous icons for different activities and data: Files opens up a file manager for the phone, for example. Music, Videos, Messages and Call Logs all show their respective Android data as well. Or, if your device is rooted, you can click the Screenshot icon to snap an image of the Android device remotely.”
Imagine doing something like that with an iPhone. True, most people wouldn’t want to, and there’s no real reason to given iTunes, iCloud etc. However, rather than my data traveling over wires to Maiden, NC where iCloud lives, I feel like I have the permission to DIY if I want to try.
I’m really impressed with Android in 2012. I’m hoping 2013 brings even more enjoyment.
As Cory Doctorow wrote in his 2011 piece “Android and iOS both fail, but Android fails better”:
I prefer Android because it’s relative openness means more people can and do inspect its workings to ensure it is doing what Google claims it is doing. I prefer Android because when Google decides to leave out a feature that users might want – such as tethering – the people making alternative OSes for the platform stick that feature in, and shame Google into adding it in subsequent versions.
My mobile phone can track where I go. It can record my voice and image, and the voices and images of those around me. It can leak email, voicemail, texts, and passwords. In the time since I’ve gotten a mobile phone, each passing year has meant that I rely on my phone for more things, and I don’t expect that will change.
Android and iOS will both fail their users in the years to come. Not a lot, but often enough, and dramatically enough, that it’s worth ensuring that those failures are as minimal as possible.
That’s exactly how I’m feeling lately. I still love and use my iPhone 5. It is a much better experience than my Galaxy S3 when I want a stock, smooth, out-of-the-box experience.
Trouble is (as I’ve figured out after 34 go-rounds the sun), I normally don’t want that type of an experience in the long run.