The iPhone

I finally picked up an iPhone 5s this week along with a new phone provider. It’s amazing how simple to use this device is, heck even my mom is having fun learning the ins and outs of it, which shows something about the Android. The biggest differences I can tell is that the Android, while having extremely good flexibility and power for a low cost, can be a little overwhelming to people who want simple first-party integration and functionality, and quite often 3rd party software developers, the cell phone providers, the operating system developers, and the hardware manufacturers butt heads (similar to a PC) creating so much unnecessary bloatware that it’s mind-boggling for a new user to understand the basics of the device.

A good example is the Samsung Galaxy S-series of phones. Let’s say you want to check your text-messages. You can use the default Samsung app, Google Voice, Google Hangouts, or Chat-On. If you want to purchase software, you can use the Amazon App-Store, the Samsung Marketplace, or Google Play. Internet browsing you have the option of the default Samsung browser, Chrome, or Firefox. If you want to check your e-mail you have Samsung’s application or Google’s alternative. Even looking at images there’s at least 4 different gallery apps, and taking photos is a pain on it’s own when you have Dropbox, Google +, Facebook, and Google Drive all asking to upload your images.

To make matters worse, Samsung and Sprint not only wants to bundle their own software, but they make it unremovable unless you decide to root your phone. Why do I need a Sprint Zone app if I never use it? Why do I need two e-mail apps, two different browsers, three text messaging apps, etc? On top of that, OS upgrades are decided by both Samsung and Sprint. You’ll have a piece of hardware that’s capable of running the latest platform, but you’re waiting for Samsung to give the go-ahead 4-5 months down the line so you don’t have the scenarios such as the S3 competing against the S4 with the same up-to-date operating system…and then when they finally give the go-ahead you wait another month for Sprint to roll out their updates (unless you reset your phone profile to make it look like a “Brand new phone”).

So when I am trying to teach my mom how to use her Android device and she asks me questions like “How do I send pictures to my computer?” And I have to show her how to install Samsung Kies, plug the phone in directly and browse the File Directory to the images folder on her External SD Card, or how to transfer images via Blutooth or WiFi Direct, then you’ve failed at making a device understandable and accessable.

I believe Google’s line of Nexus products are a huge step in the right direction. Having the OS designers work with a well-known hardware developer (Asus), and giving you the option of ordering directly from them to avoid the bundled proprietary software from cell-phone providers is huge…but brand recognition is still a ways to go. People know what Android is, people know what Samsung Galaxy S is, people know what the Nexus 7 is…but what about the Nexus 5? I think Google should really try to improve it’s marketing and advertising campaigns, but it’s hard when you have so many devices already running on your own platform, then you have people asking “Why do I want to spend $300 on a new phone with KitKat 4.4 when I already have a Galaxy S3 with KitKat 4.4 installed in it? Just to run Angry Birds faster? So I can get rid of some of these excess Samsung apps?”

Then there is the iPhone. I’ve had previous experience with Apple products, most notably the iPod Touch line of products a few years ago. Eventually my 2nd gen device fell into the “No Longer Supported” graveyard and I just stopped using it completely in favor of Android products. Going back to the iPhone is like a breath of fresh air. As a gamer going to the App store and finding all these iOS gems I’ve been waiting to be ported for Android for months/years is reason enough to justify the switch. But the fact that Apple’s proprietary software is good on its own without the unnecessary bloatware (or almost-mandatory installs of better software to replace the Samsung junk) of an Android device creates a great easy-to-use device.

Already I’ve noticed my battery life is almost triple what I had on my Android, my mother was actually able to figure out most of the features of her phone without constantly asking me for help, and my sister is sitting back playing LEGO Harry Potter for hours on end. The call quality is extremely superior as well, and I can’t tell whether it’s the 4G LTE (Which T-Mobile now provides, that Sprint spent years making excuses on) or the hardware itself, but the first time I picked up the phone and heard what sounded like my sister being right next to me was extremely surprising and unexpected.

Heck, even my car sees the iPhone and displays the information as such instead of me fiddling around with my Android file-folder structure whenever I start my car…that alone is good enough for me :).

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