With the start of the new year, I was fortunately given the opportunity to venture to the Android platform (Risk-free too! :D). I have used the iOS platform for a while now, my first iPhone being the first generation back in 2007. Except for a short detour to the Blackberry platform in 2008, I have basically used the iPhone as my smartphone of choice.
However, after my first iPhone kicked the bucket, I considered venturing off the platform to webOS, which I was very interested in (Mainly for its multitasking). Alas, to my dismay, Palm decided to focus their release in North America and Europe. Fast forward a couple of years later, Google introduction of the latest iteration of the Android OS – Ice Cream Sandwich – got me excited. My first viewing of an ICS walk-through reminded me of the excitement I had for the webOS platform, and I was really keen to try it out. Earlier versions of Android never did seem to tickle my fancy.
I got my Galaxy Nexus – the only ICS phone in the market for now – on the remaining days of 2011 and have essentially used it for close to 1 1/2 weeks now. So far, I must say that I am liking the platform. Having been on both iOS and Android now, I must say that I am more productive on the Android. This could probably be biased to the fact that my work heavily uses Google Apps. The Gmail app is hard to beat on the Android and the widgets ensure that I don’t need to turn on my phone, unlock, and enter the calendar app just to see my appointments for the day.
The multitasking in ICS is hard to beat. Hands down, it is the best multitasking out there after that of webOS. In fact, it is quite similar to the cards interface of webOS, with the exception that to shut off an app, you would swipe horizontally instead of vertically. Guess the webOS guy came in handy to Google… Why Apple still sticks to their Home button double tap and icon wiggle is beyond me. Palm already showed the way for how multitasking should be done. Whatever happened to great artists stealing?
One thing that I didn’t manage to find an answer to when I started using the Nexus was the notification light. I noticed a couple of colors appearing, but I could not find an explanation to what they represented. It didn’t help that nothing is mentioned about this in any official documentation, even the user guide. I finally found out that there were in total, 18 different colors that app developers could choose from. However, not all developers make use of it, and even if they did, they didn’t tell you which colors they chose. Fortunately, I got myself an app that allowed me to set the colors for different apps (Or turn it off) as how I saw fit.
However, Android is not without its faults. One thing that stands out is that the user interface is still rough around the edges in certain areas. For example, the contextual menu can shift between top and bottom of the screen. This is even evident in the Google produced apps. Same goes for the copy – cut – select all operation. Sometimes they appear at the top of the screen and other times, at the bottom. Where is the paste in all this? Well, it sits above the cursor like in iOS. I do hope these rough edges get smoothen out. I like the fact that both Android and iOS are constantly advancing smartphones.
Above all the good and bad of both platforms, there is one thing that makes my Galaxy Nexus more unique than my iPhone 4. It is a limited edition that cannot be bought from any retail store. Hope I can maintain the monogram in pristine condition, since I have no intention on getting a case…